The Four Primary Ways To Grow Your Business
Maximizing The Return On Your Efforts In The Four Key And Critical Areas
The number one thing… and one of the most important things for any business owner, manager, entrepreneur or professional to realize, is that there are four ways… four principal ways to grow a business – any business.
There are many things you can do to grow your business, but for purposes of our discussion here, we’ll be focusing on four primary things.
The truth is that other than some administrative functions, some of which are not under your direct influence or control, nearly everything you do to build or grow your business can be classified under one of four different and distinct areas, or categories, and if you learn this one simple concept and how to apply it, believe me, your competition won’t stand a chance.
And the reason?
Because your competition not only doesn’t understand this concept, most of them have never even heard of it.
Now, here’s the first one of the four ways to grow your business. Simply…
#1 – Get More Customers
That’s it. Build your customer base. Get more prospects to buy from you and become your customers.
You know how it works. When more people buy from you, you take in more gross dollars, and as a result (depending on your margins and overhead), you make more bottom line profits.
As a spin-off benefit, the more people you add to your customer base the larger it becomes, and the larger it becomes the more people you have to go back to for additional sales and the referrals they’re capable of giving you.
It’s in this one single area where most business owners (including your competition, and probably, you, too, if you’re
honest), spend most of their time, effort and money.
If you’ve been in business for any length of time, you probably realize that getting new customers is not always the easiest, the most time-efficient, or most profitable thing you can do.
Most businesses only have one or two main methods of attracting new prospects to their businesses.
For example, you probably know that a large number of businesses are heavy in the use of telephone soliciting.
In fact, you, yourself, have probably gotten more than your fair share of calls, when you were just sitting down for dinner.
Chiropractors, car dealers, truck driving schools, and lawyers take a different approach. Many of them advertise heavily on television, especially during the afternoon hours to attract new customers. They’ve found that a large part of their intended audience… the people who are most inclined to use their services, watch television during those hours, and it’s a cost-effective way to reach them.
Each business, industry, or profession has their own methods and timing to contact those who are most likely to be interested in their products and services. What works for some businesses, may or may not work for other businesses in the same or different industries or professions.
Think about your business and your company for a minute.
Chances are, that you, like nearly every other business owner in your industry or profession also utilizes one, or perhaps two main methods of attracting new prospects.
Most likely, the method you use is the same method that nearly every other business uses. It’s called the, “That’s how things are done in our industry or profession,” method.
Typically, when a person first chooses to go into business they look around and see what everyone else is doing.
Then they layout their office, shop or place of business just like every other similar type of business they’ve seen.
They look at what everyone else is doing to market or promote their businesses, products and services, and adopt those same marketing plans and methods to market or promote their business.
This activity isn’t isolated to just a few businesses – nearly every business in nearly every industry or profession is guilty.
But, wait a minute. Who set up that system in the first place? And who says it’s right, or that it’s the best system for you to use? The fact is, that there are an unlimited number of methods of attracting new customers to your business, and your imagination is the only limiting factor.
Some of the best, most productive and cost-effective methods you can use, can be adapted from what others are doing in totally unrelated businesses.
Now, this brings up a couple of questions. First, how observant are you? What are others who are in the same business that you’re in doing? And, how effective are they?
Next, look around at what other businesses… unrelated businesses in other, unrelated fields, industries or professions are doing. Have you seen what’s working for them? Is there one business that just stands out, by doing something different or unusual? Or, do they all pretty much use the same marketing methods?
Next question: How creative are you? Can you look at what some of the other businesses are doing, and adapt (with a few minor changes), their methods to your business?
In other words, if you were brand new, just starting in business, and had no idea of what anyone before you had done to attract new customers, what would you do? How would you go about getting new customers? Would you use the same methods you use now, or would you do something completely different?
A dentist I consult with specializes in working with children and their teeth. He loves children. And he recognizes that as they get older, they may need braces, they’ll probably get married, and have a spouse and children that will all need dental care.
So, he set up his reception room with a special, “kid-height” counter, so when the children come in, they can talk directly to the receptionist, transact their business just as an adult would, and schedule their next appointment. He’s even decorated his reception area with artwork and pictures that some of his young patients have created.
How do you think those young people feel? Well, you probably guessed it. They absolutely love it there. And they tell their friends about it, too. And their parents? They’re thrilled.
Imagine, having your kids want to go to the dentist! And then be treated, not like a second-class citizen, but as an equal, transacting business (with the parent’s help, of course), and having a hand in scheduling their future appointments.
What a learning and growing experience for them. And who do you think the parents use for their own dentist? That’s right.
The spin-off business of catering to, and working with children, is their parents.
As the kids grow up and have families of their own, which dentist do you think they’ll use… that they’ll insist their spouse switches to, and that they’ll bring their own children to?
The relationship this dentist is building with those young people… of friendship, of trust and of caring, will provide him all the financial security he’ll ever need, and allow him to do whatever he wants, and go wherever he pleases for the rest of his life.
So, what about you and your business? What are you doing?
Specifically, what marketing methods are you using, right now to attract new customers, and to build lasting relationships with them so they’ll do business with you for a lifetime?
And second, how many different marketing methods do you presently, and concurrently, have working for you? There’s a real danger in having just one or two main methods of attracting new customers.
One of my consulting clients depended almost entirely on a telemarketing team to acquire leads for their salespeople to follow up with. When a well-funded competitor opened for business not far away, they hired nearly all that business’ telemarketing staff, and nearly shut the business down. The business was nearly a total disaster.
When they called me in as a consultant, I could see that we had to do something quick, just to save the business. So, we got to work and hired and trained a whole new telemarketing crew, and got the business up and running again.
But then we looked at other marketing options and put together an effective direct-mail program, started a proactive referral- generating system, and worked out some joint ventures and host- beneficiary relationships with other, complementary, but non- competing businesses.
Now, if something happens to any one of their marketing methods, they have other strategies or other “pillars” in place that can keep the business from collapsing, and keep it running smoothly.
What about your business? How can you apply this?
Well, why not start by going back and revisiting the questions I asked earlier. Then see if there are some areas that you need to improve in.
Make sure you’re not dependent on only one or two main methods of attracting new customers.
New customers are important to your business, there’s no question. But, they’re not just important, they’re absolutely vital… not only to the growth of your business, but to the very survival of the business.
It’s critical that you have multiple systems in place to ensure that your business continues running, and growing, uninterrupted, if anything unexpected happens.
Because of the limited amount of space in these pages, we can’t talk about all the methods of getting new customers, but in the training materials and workshops we conduct, we go into great detail on effective ways to attract prospects by the bushel, and convert them into loyal, long-term customers.
As important as getting more new customers is, there are still three more methods you can use to grow your business. And each of these methods are more profitable, more effective, and give you greater potential for leverage than the first method.
Let’s talk about number two…
#2 – Get Your Customers To Make Larger Average Purchases
In other words, increase the average transactional value of their purchases. Or more simply, get them to spend more money when they buy something from you.
This just happens to be the quickest and easiest way there is to increase your profits. One of the things that continually amazes me is the number of businesses that have extensive and expensive plans in place to acquire more customers.
Yet, very few have paid much attention to this highly profitable, and highly leveragable step of increasing the size of the order… getting more money from each of your customers every time they buy from you.
If you think for a minute about how easy this is and how profitable it can be, you’ll see why it’s such a powerful concept. And, you’ll also see why nearly every fast-food restaurant has embraced, has mastered, and requires that every person who takes orders, understands, and is proficient in the use of the “up-sell” and “cross-selling” principles.
Think back about your own fast-food restaurant experience. You drive up to the speaker and place your order… a sandwich and a drink. And then what happens? A voice comes back over the speaker and asks if you’d like an apple pie, or fries with your order.
That’s an example of cross-selling. Selling an additional product in addition to, or beyond the initial purchase.
Or, they might suggest that you “super-size” or “giant-size” your order. That’s an example of an up-sell… increasing the size of the initial order.
In any case, if you take them up on their suggestion, what they’ve done is just increase their profits substantially, since they made an additional sale, but had no acquisition or marketing costs.
You see, they realize that a certain percentage of their customers will say, “yes.” And the only reason they say, “yes,” is because a suggestion was made to them. So they play the numbers game.
And the result? Well, by being aware of what their customers might want, but not ask for on their own, and then by asking questions or making suggestions, they bring in a substantial number of dollars. And other than the actual cost of the product, those dollars are pure profit.
Here’s another technique fast food restaurants frequently use.
It’s called “bundling,” or “packaging.”
It’s where they combine a sandwich, a drink and fries, then throw in a couple of “bonus” items, like maybe a cookie and a toy. They put it all together in one package, and give it a name like “Happy Meal.”
They’ll charge you less for that package than what each of those items purchased separately would have cost, but the total dollar amount you spend will be higher.
And, since there were no marketing costs involved, other than the cost of the items, themselves, it’s pure profit, and it goes straight to their bottom line.
Now, what does that have to do with you, and your business?
Well, you may not be in the fast food business, but the same principles can still apply. Just ask yourself this question: “What additional products or services do you have that would be natural complements to what your customers initially buy from you?”
Well, you know the answer to that and I won’t go into all the details here. But for instance, if you have the type of business that offers more than one product to your customers you have a tremendous advantage to capitalize on the up-selling, cross- selling and bundling techniques.
Some types of businesses, such as insurance companies that may offer only one product or service can also benefit from these strategies by packaging certain policies that cover multiple family members, adding riders, or including other complementary services that go beyond the actual policies themselves.
Do these things seem like common sense to you? Well, they probably do. But as I mentioned before, it’s surprising how few businesses make effective use these three simple principles.
Think about it. In reality, you have an obligation to your customers… the people who trust you to provide them good quality products and services, give them sound advice and who hand over their hard-earned money to you… to make sure they get the very best value, the best use and the most enjoyment from their original purchase.
And if you have additional items, either products or services, that can enhance their value, their use or their enjoyment, then your obligation is to do everything that’s reasonable and ethical to see that they at least have the option of taking advantage of those items.
Again, it’s playing the numbers game. Some will take advantage of your offer, and some won’t. But at least you will have given them the opportunity, and you will have fulfilled your obligation to them.
You haven’t made the decision for them. You’ve given them a choice, and you’ve let them decide.
If you come across as sincere, they’ll not see you as being pushy, but they’ll realize that you are really trying to do them a favor… to help them get more value, more use, and more benefit from their decision and their purchase.
And they’ll come back to do business with you again, and again, and will refer others to you, as well.
Up-selling, cross-selling and bundling… these are only three of more than a dozen immediate, profit-producing methods you can use to skyrocket your business to the next level.
If you do nothing more than find a way to incorporate these three techniques in your business (which you should be able to do within the next twenty-four hours), you’ll blast your profits completely through the roof.
Think about it… increasing your sales… increasing your profits… without increasing your expenses. It’s an exciting concept, and it can add an immediate twenty, thirty, even forty percent or more, in pure profits to your bottom line!
Now, let’s move on to the third way to grow your business…
#3 – Get Your Customers To Buy From You More Often
In other words, increase the frequency of their purchases. Get them to come back, Give them reasons to want to come back and to continue doing business with you. The longer your customers go between purchases from you, the more chance they have of buying from your competition.
It’s like, “Out of sight, out of mind.” You need to constantly stay in front of your customers with educational information, and notices of changes in the law or updates regarding the products or services they’ve purchased from you that can affect them. And you need to tell them about new products, new lines, special incentives and other offers that might benefit them.
The idea, is two-fold: One, to “lock” your customers in, so they can’t afford to do business with anyone else, and secondly, to make it so attractive to do business with you, that they wouldn’t even consider going anywhere else.
What you really want to do, is lead your customers to the inescapable and undeniable conclusion, that they would have to be completely out of their minds to even consider doing business with anyone else but you, regardless of the selection of products or services you provide, the prices you charge, your location, or the relationship they may have with the business they’re currently doing business with.
Let me give you some real life examples of how this works: One of the clients I consult with owns a restaurant. And for his business customers who like to take their clients to lunch, he offers a certain number of lunches for a pre-paid, discounted price.
By doing this, he “locks in” his customer, gets his money up- front, and makes it convenient for everyone. The customer simply signs the check, which includes the tip. No money changes hands during or after the lunch, and new customers are constantly being introduced to his restaurant. As a result, many of those new customers take advantage of the same arrangement for their clients.
Here’s another example. The car wash where I take my cars offers a special pre-paid, discounted card, that’s good for a certain number of car washes. It’s a great deal for me because I save money, and I can take my car to be washed, even if my teenagers have gotten into my wallet and taken the last couple of dollars I had.
And when my card is filled, I’ve got a free wax job coming. It’s a good deal for the car wash too, because they’ve gotten their money up front, and have locked me out of the competition.
Here’s one more. The store my wife buys shoes from offers “points” program. Every so often, she receives a notice in the mail informing her of how many points she’s accumulated. Now, she may not have been to that store for quite a while, but when she gets that notice and sees the credit she has coming, she nearly always makes it back to that store within just a couple of days. And she hardly ever leaves empty handed.
Airlines offer upgrades and mileage bonuses for those who fly with them on a regular basis. And countless other businesses offer similar programs as well.
Now, let’s apply this concept to you and your business. What can you think of that you could do, that will endear your customers to you? To lock them in, and get them coming back more often, and even refer others to do business with you?
Do you have an educational newsletter or special informative reports that you periodically send them that keeps them updated?
Do you send postcards, or do you have a website that keeps them informed of new items and promotions?
Do you hold special “Customer Appreciation Sales” or events? How about a frequent buyer club for your more loyal customers?
What about a Referral Reward system that recognizes or compensates your customers for referring their friends?
You’ve got to let your customers know that you value them, that you appreciate them, that you want them to come back, and you want to make doing business with you fun, risk-free, rewarding, and easy.
Well, I’m sure you can see that the ideas are unlimited. And while the restaurant, car wash and shoe store examples may not apply directly to your business, I’ve included them to serve as a stimulus so you can begin thinking of what you might consider applying in your business that can help you develop trust and loyalty with your customers.
In our coaching programs we go into great detail, and discuss more than two-dozen very specific strategies that create an almost magnetic effect, that keeps your customers returning time and time again.
We lead you by the hand and help you develop personalized and effective strategies that keep them saying, “I’ll be back”… strategies that keep them “insulated” from, and locked out of your competition.
Now let’s talk about the fourth method you can use to grow your business. And that is, to…
#4 – Extend Your Customers’ “Average Buying Lifetime”
We call that, “Customer Retention.”
Here’s what I mean: How long, on average, do the people who buy from you, your customers, remain your customers?
In other words, how long do they continue doing business with you before they move on? Are they one-time buyers? Do they stay with you for a year, five years or ten years? Have you ever stopped to figure it out? This is an important step, and one that we’ll be discussing in more detail in later pages.
Next, what are you doing in your business right now, to make sure your customers continue doing business with you? If you don’t have a strategic plan, a working system in place, you are going to lose a certain percent of your current customers to the competition.
There’s no question about it. Your competition… right now… right this very minute, is making plans and taking steps to take your customers away from you.
The question for you, is not, “What are you going to do about it?”
The real question is, “What are you currently doing about it?” “What are you doing about it right now?”
What plans… what systems do you have in place to keep your customers from defecting to the competition?
Let’s talk about your customers for a minute. Are they thrilled enough with the products you offer and the services they receive from you to continue doing business with you year after year?
What if you answered “yes” to that question? My next questions would be, “Are you sure?” “How do you know?”
“Where did you get your information?” “How reliable is it?”
“Can you explain in detail, the system you have in place for finding out?”
Notice that I said, “Are they thrilled enough?” Not “are they satisfied enough?” You see, there’s a big difference between being thrilled and being satisfied.
Last year, more than 200 million Americans stopped doing business with companies that they were “satisfied” with. And sixty percent of so-called “satisfied” customers switch companies or brands on a regular basis.
As a business owner, you can’t afford not to thrill your customers, nor to build trust in you and your business. The cost is too high, and unfortunately, most business owners simply don’t understand it. Let’s take a look at what the potential cost could be to you if you fail to do these things:
Let’s say that you make $200 in sales per year from your average customer.
And let’s say that for any number of reasons, 100 customers stop doing business with you each year. They may die or move away. They may no longer have need for your products or services, they may switch companies, have a relative in the business, or possibly have a bad experience with someone in your company.
Or, they may just simply disagree with some policy or procedure you might have. It could be a falling out with a staff member or employee, a personality conflict, miscommunication, a problem they had with one of your products, or perhaps a feeling of neglect from you or someone in your business. It really doesn’t matter what the reason, they just stop doing businessvwith you.
Well, those 100 customers no longer paying you $200 this year just cost you $20,000. But, that’s not all. What if those 100 customers tell 5 others about their experience with you?
That’s an additional 500 potential customers who won’t be doing business with you this year (or maybe ever, for that matter).
And if each of them spent an average of $200, that’s $100,000 you won’t be receiving from them, PLUS the $20,000 you lost on your existing customers who left.
That brings the total in lost income to $120,000 in just one year!
It’s not unusual for some businesses to bring in a hundred (or more) new customers each month. That’s twelve hundred-plus, customers a year. And they end up only netting a 150 or 200 increase at year-end (sometimes not even that).
Well, what happened to the other more than 1,000 customers? Where did they go? Surely, they all didn’t die, or move away.
But, you know, most business owners don’t concern themselves with what, or whom they’ve lost. They just focus on their net gain. They figure that if they finish the year with more customers or more sales than they started with, they’re ahead.
Now, let’s suppose that you gave those 100 lost customers reasons,… good, compelling, life or business enhancing reasons, to continue doing business with you this year.
And let’s suppose each of them told those same five people about their now-positive experience with you.
Well, there’s $20,000 you wouldn’t have lost in the first place, and another $100,000 you may possibly pick up from their referrals or by their word of mouth.
The point is, customers are important – all customers. In fact, they’re critical. There’s no question about it. You and I both know that. A business couldn’t remain in business unless it has someone to buy its products and services.
Those “someone’s” are people. Real people. People like you and like me. If you sell your products to the business community, remember, businesses don’t buy from businesses.
People in business buy from other people in business. It’s people that you market to. Not businesses.
Here’s an interesting point: Most business owners know exactly how much they have tied up in furniture, fixtures and equipment. They can tell you, nearly to the penny, how much each item costs, how old it is, how much it’s depreciated and what the remaining life expectancy is.
That’s important information for any business to have. There’s no question about it. But what’s amazing is that very few business owners have any idea of what the value of their most important asset is… their customers.
Think about how this whole concept relates to your business, for a minute. What is it that you can do, specifically, to extend your customer’s buying lifetime with you? Why not take a few minutes and answer these questions?
First of all, who are your customers … those who are buying from you now?
Who are their family members?
Do you know the names and ages of their spouse or children? Do you know where they work?
What about their spouse or children? What are their hobbies or interests?
Do you know why they purchased a certain type of product or service?
Do you know who their friends, neighbors or relatives are?
What about your staff or employees? Do you know how they treat or feel about your customers?
Do they, or do you, for that matter, have favorite customers?
What makes them a “favorite?” Is it how much they spend? How often they come in? Their personality? And how do you treat those customers? Any different than the others?
Do you have regular staff meetings and talk about how to think like a customer?
What you would want if you were a prospect considering doing business with you for the first time? Or maybe an existing customers considering giving repeat business to your establishment or organization?
Or, perhaps considering referring a friend, a family member or an acquaintance?
Do you have a training system in place to teach your staff how to handle or deal with difficult customers? Short-tempered customers? Analytical customers?
Do you have a plan for moving people up the “Loyalty Ladder?” From Suspect to Prospect to Shopper. Then on to Customer, Client, and Advocate. And, finally to convert them into Raving Fans?
When a customer stops doing business with you, do you know why? Do you have a system in place to find out?
What would you have to do differently to get your customers to buy from you for, say, 5 ½ years, instead of just 5 years?
Believe me, if you will actually take the time to go through these questions and formulate answers for them, and then incorporate that information into your business practices, you can work wonders towards extending the buying lifetime of your customers. And as a result, you’ll add significant profits to your bottom line.
We’ve covered a lot of ground and a lot of ideas, so far. So, let’s pause for a minute, and recap what we’ve discussed up to this point.
There are four primary ways to grow a business.
First, get more customers. And as I mentioned, this is a vital step. But it’s also the most difficult and the most costly.
Second, get your customers to spend more money with you… increase the average transaction value of each sale. And remember that this is the fastest and the easiest way to add immediate profits to your bottom line.
Third, get your customers coming back to buy from you more often.
And, fourth, extend your customers’ buying lifetime. Find ways to retain them, keep them as customers and keep them coming back as long as you possibly can. It’s really pretty simple. Nearly everything you do to build and grow your business can be slotted under one of these four categories. As I mentioned earlier, there are more than two-dozen ways to apply these concepts and build your business, but for now, if you’ll work on these four primary methods, you’ll absolutely run circles around your competitors.
As you take a good, close-up look at these four areas, you’ll see that what it really boils down to, is effectively marketing your business to your customers and potential customers.
In other words, the success of your business enterprise depends, largely, on how effective your marketing system is.
And that means that if you want your business to excel… to really excel… if you want to virtually eliminate your competition, and become the dominating force in your marketplace, then you’ve got to begin thinking of yourself as being in the marketing business, not in the product or service selling business.
In effect, you need to consider yourself as the head of a marketing organization that sells the products and services that your business offers.
Once you begin operating effectively at that point, you’ll find that your job becomes much easier and much more enjoyable, and your prospects and customers will begin seeking you out and referring others to you, rather than you chasing after them. The net result will be that your marketing costs will plummet, and your profits will skyrocket!
So that’s the end of the 4 steps on the Primary Ways To Grow Your Business.
As you read these 4 steps and envision yourself doing them let me ask you a question…
What do you think your business would look like if you did all this stuff?
Please comment below and let me know!
Tags: Biofeedback Practice Grow Your Business
“Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile.”