[Marketing Memo] Making More Money From Your Hourglass
By Cary Weston
What would a 10% increase in sales mean to you?
Would it allow you to take those few days off that you've been postponing? Perhaps it would allow you to upgrade some equipment or redecorate the shop. Or maybe it would simply allow you a little more breathing room come payroll day.
Regardless of what it would do - if I could show you a way to increase your sales by 10% without spending any more in external advertising, would you listen?
Ok - then let's do a quick visual exercise this morning.
Think of an empty hourglass. The size of your hourglass should represent all of the revenue you're looking to realize this year in your business.
Your hourglass should have a wide funnel shape at the top, a narrow passage through the middle with reverse funnel shape below, widening as it approaches the bottom.
Got visual on that?
Great. Now, let's pour some sand into the top. In fact, let's fill the top right up.
The sand represents your customers and, in turn, the revenue brought to your business by them.
It took time, money, and effort to bring all that sand to your hourglass and you should be proud. But take a look at what's happening in the middle of your hourglass.
There's sand escaping and dropping to the bottom.
It's because most small businesses, mine included, work off a fee-for-service or fee-for-product model. This sand falling through represents the customers who have fulfilled their need or completed their transaction with your company and therefore have essentially stopped providing you with revenue.
But as a business owner and manager, it's your job to keep the top of that hourglass full.
So besides spending more money on external advertising, what can you do?
There are basically three answers:
1. Narrow the passageway so that less sand falls through;
2. Find a way to move the fallen sand back to the top;
3. Find new sand to pour into the top.
Narrowing The Passage
When a customer chooses your business for a product or service, they are seeking what they want or need. How prepared are you to cross promote, cross sell, and introduce other elements of your business that will compliment that initial request? If you catalog your past experiences with new customers and use your three ring binder, you'll be able to see patterns that can lead to additional revenue sources from each new interaction based solely on your experience with past customer interactions. That means additional revenue. So what's your "cross-selling strategy"?
Move The Sand
The customer has taken the opportunity to solicit your business, learned that you have what they were seeking, and chose to engage and provide you with revenue. They now have knowledge and experience that a new customer simply won't. That decreases the time and effort of the new customer learning curve and is a huge opportunity for repeat business. Collecting contact info and using it will allow you to stay engaged and keep your business top of mind. Which means additional additional revenue. So what's your "stay in touch strategy"?
Finding New Sand
Regardless of whether the sand is sitting nicely at the top, channeling its way through the passage way, or resting peacefully at the bottom, each grain represents opportunity. With trends showing that more folks are making purchasing decisions based on trusted referrals and social connections, it's simply inexcusable not to be using social tools, such as Twitter, Facebook, Yelp, Email marketing, etc to connect with those doing business with you already. Doing so allows you to interact with your customers and humanize your brand - an act that can be seen and participated in by friends, associates, and the other social connections your current customers have. That increases awareness and awareness leads to additional revenue. So what's your "social connection strategy"?
Most businesses know the benefit of these strategies but are too busy working in their business to get any of them started. I'm a firm believer in all three of the strategies listed above as I've seen them work for our clients and our own business.
I know it can work for you too.
Think of this - if simply one in ten of your customers referred new business, increased their business with an add-on, or came back because you stayed in touch, you're looking at 10% or more in additional revenue opportunity for just communicating to those who have already trusted you and your business in the past.
Is your idea treadmill spinning? Good, mine too.
Let's connect and see how to turn that into more money for your business.
- Cary Weston is a partner of Sutherland Weston Marketing Communications in Bangor, Maine
Company's Web: www.sutherlandweston.com
Company's Twitter: www.twitter.com/SWMC_inc
Cary's Linked In: www.linkedin.com/in/caryweston
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