How to lure more business opportunities with your small business marketing plans
Understanding what products and services bring more customers in and making the most of those opportunities
By Cary Weston
Understanding your gateway product or service will help you get more business from your small business marketing efforts.
As a professional service firm, you have a full range of clients. Big and small. Those that engaged for a single project. Those that are price sensitive and those that know that you provide value beyond the cost.
But we all have our best clients. The treasured few that you drop all you're doing for. The ones who have come to trust you more and more over the years because you've earned it. They continue to challenge you in a professional way that you're proud of.
So what brought them in?
And how do you get more of them.
EVALUATE THE ORIGIN OF YOUR EXISTING CLIENTS
In our business, we have six different ways that we regularly bring in revenue to the firm. I call them our profit channels. And while it's my goal to get all clients to use all our profit channels, I realize that not all our clients will have the need or the budget to do so.
But as I look at our clients, I do recognize that some of our best ones - the ones that do use many of our services and have been with us for years - all started the same way: with a single project. They asked for something clearly definable. With a precise beginning and a end. One that offered a way to end the relationship should it not go as they planned.
A way to test the waters while still providing value. For them and us. You see, it gave us a way to provide a solution to their clearly stated need and learn all we can about their business - which comes in handy for cross promoting additional services.
It is our gateway product and its a relationship and profit making machine.
WHAT IS A GATEWAY PRODUCT?
A gateway product is something you do or sell that is sought by clients and provides you opportunity for new business. But more than just a sale, a gateway product is one that allows you to safely form a relationship with your client and learn how the other services you provide could help their business as well.
HOW DO I FIND MY GATEWAY?
While it may seem like seem a bit like a hanging carrot, the key to finding and making the most of your gateway product is to connect something you do to a popular and fairly easy service that your target markets are seeking. Then, be prepared to use that interaction to form relationships with decision makers, find out additional goals of your client, and deliver recommendations based on your expertise as to how the other products and services you provide could benefit their business.
Many small professional service firms struggle to not only answer the question "what do you do" but in trying to sell all the services they offer in a way that connects with potential clients.
Evaluate your best relationships and how they came to be clients. Model your offer around the needs that that brought them to the table.
Making best of your marketing budget and efforts is not about saying all you do to everyone but in finding one thing - your gateway product - that will bring your ideal prospects to the table and use that interaction to foster a greater relationship.
- Cary Weston is a partner of Sutherland Weston Marketing Communications in Bangor, MaineConnect online:
Company's Web: www.sutherlandweston.com
Company's Twitter: www.twitter.com/SWMC_inc
Cary's Linked In: www.linkedin.com/in/carywestonYou can find him on Google+
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