September 17, 2014

Sales and Marketing Advice for Florida business

The first rule of growing revenue

Ron Stein | 2/24/2013

You can grow revenue the hard way or the easy way. It’s up to you.

Each requires upfront marketing work to set things into motion, yet one is massively more efficient than that other. In fact, it’s so simple to do that it should be ingrained into your company’s culture and placed on autopilot.

The easiest way to build your book of business is to take care of your existing customers.

You don’t start ignoring old friends as new people come into your circle. That would be a social disaster. So, why would your company do that with existing customers?

Marketing and selling is much more than just the constant pursuit of new customers. It’s a continuous quest for new revenue in smart ways.

Getting the most bang for your tight marketing budget demands that you target only people who want and need your offering. And who fits that ideal prospect profile better than your existing customers!

Successful businesses prosper because they know how to keep the customers they've already acquired happy. Satisfied customers won’t be wooed by the competition, will buy more of your products and services, and promote your brand.

Compared to getting new customers, selling to existing customers is inexpensive and easy. Try these tips for taking care of your customers.

Get to know your customers as individuals. That’s hard to do as your company grows, yet this not an option. Keep detailed information about your customers -- sport teams, causes they support, names of kids and spouse, hot button issues, and other interests they have. Develop a customer relationship management system using either a spreadsheet or preferably, software designed just for this. Personalize any emails you send and pick up the phone and call your customers regularly. Let customers know you value what they have to say.

Be the go-to destination. When you inform and educate your customers, they’ll more than appreciate it -- they’ll think of you as their trusted resource. You can do this online, through emailing tips, webinars, and even live events just for existing customers. Give it an air of exclusivity by letting people know that once they become customers they’ll be part of your company’s VIP club or user’s forum, receiving education, useful tips, introductions to other members, and special offers just for them. Have some fun with whatever you do and don’t be afraid to use humor. Make it their place to “hang out” -- to learn and be entertained.

Surprise your customers by doing the unexpected. When you reward your customers without strings attached, the result is increased loyalty. For instance, send them practical things they can use that don’t cost a lot -- a five-dollar gift card for coffee attached to a handwritten note that simply says, “Thanks for being the best part of our company” will go a long way. Or a modest discount on their next order. Of course there are logo items such as pens, but use your imagination. Be different, keep it fun, and make it very usable.

Keep selling. Once your business has turned customers into fans, they’ll want more of what you have to offer. Many times the problem is that they don’t realize that you can help them solve other problems that have, or new ones that have surfaced after the initial sale. It’s your responsibility to help existing customers figure out exactly what they need to solve a new problem. Go back through the marketing and sales cycle -- ask lots of questions and make sure that customers are aware of all of the valuable solutions you provide.

Don't let customers go too long without thinking about your company. When you touch bases with your customers on important dates or just to see how you can help them succeed, you’ll create loyal fans that will stick with your business for the long haul -- and sing your praises to others time and time again.


Read earlier columns from Florida Trend's business coach, Ron Stein
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Ron Stein is the founder and President of FastPath Marketing (www.marketing-strategies-guide.com). He has more than 20 years experience in sales, marketing, and business development, working positions ranging from salesman to vice president of sales and marketing to CEO of startups with industry leaders such as Motorola, VideoServer, Paradyne, and SercoNet. Ron is a member of the advisory team at the Tampa Bay Innovation Center, a nationally recognized entrepreneurial and startup accelerator for the state of Florida. He can be reached at 727-398-1855 or Ron@FastPathMarketing.com

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