marketing plan

Get your marketing plan into shape with these 5 easy strategies!

Have you ever felt like your marketing activities just aren’t generating enough profits for your business, so you just give up on them? Or do you pause your marketing plan in order to save more money? Well consider this…

…If you put an end to your marketing plan, will you really save money? Yes, you will… in the way that stopping your wristwatch saves time. In other words, don’t kid yourself.

A marketing plan needs to be clear, simple, and most of all, consistent. Then you have to actually stick to it and, rather than halting its use, update it and make it better. If you let it go after 3 months of not seeing any results, you are guaranteeing that you’ll never see results.

Most business owners think that you must be a marketing guru to generate and implement a strong and profitable marketing plan. Well this should be music to your ears… there are only 5 key areas of marketing and sales that you need to focus on to build your business!

Over the next few months, I will cover each key area in detail. Here is a summary to start your journey to becoming your own marketing guru:

Number of leads – This area is all about how many potential clients you attract. Unfortunately, being unable to generate leads is one of the main reasons that so many small businesses fail in the first few years. The lead generating strategies we will teach you are both simple and mind-blowingly effective.

Conversion rate – Now that you are generating enough leads, how many of them do you convert into clients? Many business owners ‘wing’ the sales process and hope for the best. If that’s you, how is that going for your business? Having a detailed sales strategy will not only improve your conversion rate, but make it much more reliable.

Number of transactions – How many times a year do your clients buy from you? Increase this frequency by devising the ways you can encourage past clients to buy from your more often. Think about this… your existing customers already like what you do, which makes it about six times easier and cheaper to get a past customer to buy again than to acquire a new one! Get brainstorming!

Average dollar sale – How much do clients spend with you each time they buy? Imagine what would happen if you increased the value of each sale by 10%. That’s not a big jump, but it makes a big difference. By executing only one well-implemented price increase strategy, you could make a big difference to the bottom line.

Margins – What is the gross or net margin your business achieves? Improving your margin is one of the quickest way to improve your cash flow. Our clients are often left shocked when they learn that this, the easiest part of a marketing and sales plan, is the fastest and least costly to implement and will have the most immediate impact.

If you are thinking ‘this is too much to work on right now’, remember that all you need is a slight 15% improvement in each area, and that will be sufficient to double your profit! These 5 areas provide you with more than 350 different strategies to explore. All that’s left for you to do is to select the ones that are right for you, implement them effectively, and watch your business soar.

If you feel like you are investing in expensive marketing; that being, marketing which you do not receive a profit from, and just aren’t seeing the return, join one of our coaches for a coffee to discuss the ways in which we can help you.

Can you afford any more expensive marketing? Register here or call us today on (02) 9146 4439.

In my next blog, I will dive deeper into Lead generation and share with you my favourite strategies which will help you increase the number of quality leads attracted by your business. Till then, here’s a thought to take with you…

“…Unless commitment is made, there are only promises and hopes; but no plans”

customer service

Without great customer service, you have no customers… so treat them like royalty

To master the delivery of your business, you must have control over the supply, quality and ease of purchase of your product or service. But most of all, Delivery Mastery refers to customer service. Strangely, many business owners don’t realise their level of dependency on their customers. I am here to tell you that no matter what you sell, no matter what your business does…

…you are in the customer service industry.

This means that you must pay extra attention to the little things that may not mean so much to you, but mean a lot to your customers. When your customer service is outstanding, you can be sure your customers will tell some of their friends. When your customer service is bad, you can be sure they’ll tell even more of their friends!

As Dr Paddi Lund calls them, the ‘Critical Non-Essentials’ in your business must be systemised and executed well in order to deliver an incredible experience about which customers will rave! Although the ‘little things’ in your business, such as a new coffee machine or a nice fragrance at the entrance for your customers, don’t mean much to you, they are of critical importance to your overall success. Once you discover this, you will understand that being good at your job does not automatically mean customers will beat a path to your door. Your customers judge the quality of your work differently than you do, and base their opinions on many things.  Your specific service or product is just one of those.

A good example of this is a dentistry clinic. Many business owners, including Dr Lund at a point in time, choose technical perfection over the comfort or happiness of their patients. They believe that this is how they will gain raving fans. But let me ask you this question; if you are sitting in a dentist chair, and notice cobwebs on the ceiling, cigarette buds in the waiting room ash trays, and un-dusted furniture, how confident would you be that the utensils, that are currently being used in your mouth, are clean? Not very confident at all I would assume.

Dr Lund understood that customers judge your expertise in areas they do not understand by your excellence in areas which they do, so he put more effort into making his waiting room an experience that would wow his customers and gain their trust. It wasn’t long afterwards that Dr Lung overheard two of his patients raving about how much they love coming to his clinic due to the clean waiting room, the new books that replaced the old magazines, and the beautiful china offered when enjoying a cup of tea. Cleaning and polishing confirm technical competence.

Great customer service is the root from which profitability grows. This is because it is through word of mouth (far more than advertising) that new customers find you. It doesn’t just happen by accident. In the long run it’s the product of team building and training. Early on in business, it’s about making products and services easy to purchase and delivering what you say you will. It’s about simply being polite, friendly and helpful. Give your customers a reason to say “WOW!”.

Do you want to give your customers exactly what they want to keep coming back? Click here to book a FREE 1-on-1 business coaching session and turn your customers into raging fans today!

Keep your eye out for my next blog on Time Mastery. Here, I will give you a few good tips on how to claw back some more time from your schedule. Till then, here is a thought to keep in mind…

…“Your customers don’t care about how much you know, until they know how much you care.”

lead generation

It’s never too late to increase your lead generation!

Okay, so we’re three months into the year and how are things looking for your business? Are you doing as well as you’d hoped or could it be better? As we all know, action speaks louder than words and it’s never too late to plan for a successful 2017, especially when you look at implementing lead generation strategies that work for your business.

The first thing you need to do is think about your lead-generating strategies in 2016.  Did they measure up to your business plan and expectations? If you were less than delighted with the results, what’s your game plan to improve on that? It’s an important question that’s linked to the success of your business.

Bottom line: what are the methods you use to generate leads and are they working for you? For example, if you’re not looking at your existing customers as the first port of call to generate leads, this is something you seriously need to re-evaluate. Use your current customers as “crusaders” for your business, and you’ll very much be on the right track. If they like your business, it’s human nature that they will want to pass on their recommendations and experiences by word-of-mouth to their family, friends, acquaintances and so on. Be sure to prompt them with appropriate questions or promotions so that is activity is maximised.

So what’s the best way to implement lead generation strategies that work for your business? Customer service counts for a lot. Do your staff know what to say to your customers and how to say it? Do they know how to talk about your business? This can be an extremely valuable method of lead generation.

Its also vitally important for businesses to understand that you don’t just get customers, you buy them. When you have that mindset, you can begin to understand just what you need to spend on your marketing. What can you afford to spend (in marketing activities) to buy a customer? Now go and spend that amount as often as possible in ways that generate them!

Similarly, it’s critical to have an online presence for lead generation. Having this, and especially a presence on social media networks like Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn, is a great way to market to potential customers without the concerns of outrageous costs while creating the buzz every business needs to thrive.

One of the greatest resources for generating leads for your business is other businesses. Working in harmony with other organisations that sell to the same group you target as customers, but sell a different product, can be incredibly beneficial to all parties, including the customer.

As you can see, actions really do speak louder than words and there are countless ways to implement lead generation strategies that work for your business; in fact, there are more than 80!

To set up the right lead generation and sales and marketing strategies for your business, speak with one of our coaches here or call us on 02 9146 4439.

Business value

Are you sitting on a goldmine? What is your business value?

So you’ve decided to sell your business. You may have all sorts of ideas about how easy it’s going to be, after all it’s your “baby”, right? Well, one of the first things you need to work out is are you sitting on a goldmine? What is your business value?

The reality is that selling your business is a complex process. If you’re looking to sell your business right away, you probably won’t get the highest value you deserve.

It typically takes a good year of preparation to sell before you should actually put your company on the market; selling requires planning, patience and panache. And as for sitting on a goldmine, you will achieve the highest value if all the right prep work has been put in place.

Working out your business value depends firstly on determining what kind of sale you ought to proceed with. It is a financial, emotional or synergy sale?

A financial sale is common, yet it generally offers the least amount of value to the seller. This type of sale is often undertaken with little or no planning. No plan means no high return.

An emotional sale involves a nostalgic connection such as someone who loves the brand, the product you sell and so wants to buy it.  It can be good for you, but you won’t be able to plan too much for that type of buyer, so it is very unpredictable.

A synergy sale typically produces higher valuations than a purely financial sale. The reason this type of sale gets a higher value is that it involves selling to another business who can make more out of your business than you can and, as a result, values your business at a higher value.  Best of all, it can be planned for by the vendor.

Now that we’ve established the different types of sales, you need to put several steps in place. They include:

  1. Mastery – moving from chaos to control with an in-depth examination of your goals for the business and understanding where your money’s going. Strong delivery systems and time management are crucial here too.
  2. Niche – ensuring a growing and predictable cash flow by asking some big questions such as Is your data in good shape? Do you have a solid marketing plan? Do you have a system that converts leads into customers? And so forth.
  3. Leverage – creating systems for efficiency, thereby knowing what you have to work with, and what you need to focus on to create the right sales package for prospective buyers. Systemising your business to the point that it doesn’t depend on you is also a necessary pre-requisite to getting a good price when you sell it!

The above are basic steps to start planning the sale of your business.

We have worked with many business owners who are planning to sell their business. If you would like some coaching assistance through this process, speak with one of our business coaches today. You can also check out this eBook called Selling your Business.

Unique-Selling-Point

USP – not just another acronym – how to make your business stand up and be noticed

As you start the New Year have you thought about what your Unique Selling Point (USP) is? Remember USP isn’t just another acronym, it’s how to make your business stand up and be noticed.

You need to find a way to be unique and for others, particularly customers, to recognise that at once. Your product or service won’t be truly unique but your customer offering must have a unique approach that instantly makes your business stand up and be noticed. This will give you an edge over your competition.

Take for example a pizza company. Many years ago in the US, a family-run pizza joint in Michigan was looking to find a way to make it stand out from the crowd in the 1960s as one of the family members took over the business. This new owner, Tom Monaghan, was living rough in the store. So he desperately wanted to boost revenue and if things went well, create a franchise. So he came up with a USP – pizza delivered in 30 minutes or it’s free. Bingo! He had found a unique way to make the business – which most of us would now recognise as Domino’s Pizza – stand up and be noticed.

Other companies who have done similar USPs include FedEx (“When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight”) or Woolworths (“The Fresh Food People”). The message from each is that if you really want your business to be successful, you have to have a clear USP.  The alternative is to compete primarily on price and that really only leads to one outcome…..and it’s not a pretty one!

Here are a number of questions you might consider to develop a strong USP. They are:

  • What are the most important customer problems, challenges and needs that you solve?
  • What would you say are your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses?
  • What is the reason repeat clients and customers like your business?
  • Name the distinguishing feature that puts you ahead of your competition?

If you can answers these with clarity, you are on your way to developing your own USP.

A USP can be a few words or it can be whole paragraph.Defining then encapsulating what makes you different, unique, and desirable is more important than the word count.

Remember, a successful USP answers this question: why should a potential client or customer buy from you? When answering this question, promise something special your competitors cannot deliver. You will need to crystallise and communicate your Unique Selling Proposition and it might be grouped under: price, service, speed, selection, quality or guarantee to name a few.

If you examine all these points, you will be well on your way to understanding that a USP isn’t just an acronym – it’sthe way to make your business stand up and be noticed.  If yours is clear, compelling, specific and speaks to how it makes your customers lives or business better, you’ll also be well on your way to winning!

Including all of the right elements into your business plan this year, can make this your best year yet. Check out these free business planning resources for more help.

Business-planning

Success is inevitable – how to ensure you hit the ground running for 2017. Sub Title: Business planning for the New Year

There is something invigorating and exciting about the start of a new year. You can put behind the previous 12 months and wipe the slate clean with the promise of fresh opportunities and new horizons. This is never truer when thinking about your business. You know that success is possible and waiting for you – so we want to share with you how to ensure you hit the ground running for 2017 with the right business planning for the New Year.

Setting goals and establishing a plan on how to achieve them could be one of the best things you do this year. It may sound like common sense but the mere act of sitting down and setting out a plan is in itself one of the stepping stones to success – and it’s one of the ways to ensure you hit the ground running for 2017.

Here are a number of the specific areas to look at in your business planning for the New Year:

In the area of money mastery, what are your financial goals for 2017? What are your revenue and profit targets? What are your reporting goals and how will your forecast look?  A great exercise to do in relation to your business plan is write down your three main objectives in connection to these.

Next you need to consider delivery mastery. How will you deliver your products or services to meet your financial goals?  How would you be able to improve on your customer service? What will you put in place to make it easier for customers to buy from you?  What’s going to make them say “WOW!”?

Think now about Time mastery. Define important and urgent tasks and learn to delegate appropriately to ensure that you’re spending more than half your time on the truly important tasks – those that will have a meaningful impact on the value of your business.

What about your niche? How clearly and compellingly is it articulated?  Can you get more detailed and specific about who you target?  How can you increase the frequency of purchase? Is there room to adjust your margins?

Another focus ought to be leverage.  Are you confident your team knows and understands your company’s vision and purpose? Is it clear to all who you are and what you do? How do you measure your staff’s performance?Are they empowered to do their jobs, is it clear what those jobs are and are you all accountable for your respective contributions?

It’s not always easy to turn the spotlight on yourself but how would you rate your management and leadership? This is an important key to business success. How would you want to improve on your management and leadership skills?  What else can you do to get the best out of your team?

Last but by no means least are two areas: synergy and results. With synergy, will you be factoring in time to launch a new product in 2017 or expand geographically? As for results, well, that’s the Holy Grail, isn’t it? What are your personal goals for your business? Make sure you factor in time for health and wellbeing as well. There is no point running a business if you are not well enough to do it!

Check out these great resources on business planning on our resources page here, you can download these for free. Happy planning!

lead-generation-strategies

What lead generation strategies will you be implementing for 2017?

We all want our businesses to grow and prosper.  Assuming that’s true for you, how were your lead-generating strategies this year?  Did they measure up to your business plan and expectations? If not, what lead generation strategies will you be implementing in 2017 to improve on that?

It’s a question you need to ask as it’s closely linked to small business success – or failure – and that’s often because the processes that have been put in place aren’t what’s needed. With each and every customer incredibly valuable to your business, you need to be clear on the best methods to generate leads.

 

So who are the best people to generate new leads for you? Sometimes we can’t see the woods for the trees: it’s your existing customers!  If you can turn your top customers into enthusiastic ambassadors of your business you have gone a long way to ensure the long-term viability of your company. Why? When one of your customers just loves your company, what are they likely to do? They will tell friends, who will tell their friends, who will tell their friends and so on.

 

How do you make sure your top customers are referring your business to their friends?

 

First, start with outstanding customer service. Train your team to know exactly what to say to customers and how to say it. In recent polls, customer service has been found to be the most important reason customers choose businesses, but also the most lacking category for businesses themselves. Too many businesses don’t concentrate on customer service, instead focusing on discounts.

 

Then, be sure to give your customers the ammunition they need to talk about you properly.  Do they understand who you’re looking for?  Do they know how to talk about your business?  Do they have “the story to tell”???

 

Another area to consider when planning your lead generation strategies for 2017 is your targeting and your customer acquisition costs?  It is vitally important for businesses to understand that you don’t just get customers, you buy them. When you have that mindset, you can begin to understand just what you need to spend on your marketing. And when you know what those costs are you can start measuring what works and what doesn’t from a return on investment perspective.  If it costs your business $5 to obtain a client and your product is only worth $4 per unit, then that would not be a great way to go about it. If it costs you $5 to obtain a client and your product will make you $100 then that would probably be a better return on investment.

 

Furthermore, for small businesses, in today’s world, it is important to have an online presence for lead generation. Having this, and especially a presence on social media networks like Facebook and LinkedIn, is a great way to market to potential customers without the concerns of outrageous costs while creating the buzz every business needs to thrive.

 

One of the greatest resources for generating leads for your business is other businesses.  Working in strategic alliances with other organisations that sell to the same group you target as customers, but sell a different product, can be incredibly beneficial to all parties, including the customer.

 

If sales and marketing is not your strength, check out this eBook to help you determine a few more lead generation strategies for 2017. Alternatively you can speak with one of our business coaches who have helped many businesses start the New Year off on the right foot with the right business plan.

how-to-improve-sales

Discover the hidden strategies on how to improve sales

Sometimes it can be hard to appreciate or even remember that asking and looking for what you want in the business world is perfectly okay and in fact it will help you discover the hidden strategies on how to improve sales.

Presumably, you know the nuts and bolts of getting sales off the ground but lately you’re aware that they could be better. So what to do?  There are at least 80 ways of generating leads. However, as a starting point, make sure that you are actively implementing four fundamental marketing activities:  proactive referral campaigns, building a strong online presence, understanding your customer acquisition costs and developing strategic alliances. If you do those four well, any business can generate enough leads to keep their enterprise in great shape.

Let’s start with referrals.  What’s one thing many of us do online when we are researching products and services? Read the reviews and testimonials. Referrals are the key to any successful business and if you can turn your top customers into raving fans of your business, then you have gone a long way to ensure the long-term viability of your business.

Buyer behaviour has changed tremendously in recent times.  Research now shows that around 60 per cent of the buying decision is made before someone even picks up the phone to speak with a sales person. There is so much information available online, deciding which business to work with is easier than it’s ever been.  It goes without saying that companies with a strong online presence consistently find new customers at a higher rate than their competitors that don’t.

How do you view your marketing? Is it an expense or an investment?  Gaining customers is an investment and it is vitally important for businesses to understand this. You don’t just get customers, you buy them! When you have that mindset, you begin to understand what you need to spend your marketing budget on. Know what acquisition cost is allowable and then test and measure you activities to know which ones are a good investment.

One of the greatest avenues for generating leads for your business is other businesses.  Working in strategic alliances with other businesses that sell to the same group as your target customer, but sell a different product, can be very beneficial to all concerned.

So it’s important that you begin by looking through your current database to see how you can generate more leads from your existing customers. Remember, these various hidden strategies to improve sales are there for the taking.

We have helped hundreds of businesses implement sales strategies that have provided a massive impact on results. If you would like to implement the right strategies that drive the right results in your business, check out this eBook for sales and marketing here. Or book a session in with one of our Business Coaches here.