Grow Your Business By Increasing Your Customer Base
It may sound a little simplistic, but there are really only four fundamental ways to successfully grow your business − in other words to make it more valuable. These four ways are:
- Increase the number of customers of the type you want to have.
- Increase the frequency with which customers come back to buy from you.
- Increase the average value of each sale you make.
- Increase the effectiveness of each process in your business.
Over the next 3 issues of our newsletter, we’ll look at each of these ways of growing your business.
It’s interesting to contemplate the fact that all of the business development strategies you might implement will fall into one of these four categories. Any other strategy that doesn’t appear to sit in one of these, for example cutting costs, may help you temporarily, but it won’t grow your business. Cutting costs will not make your business more valuable unless you turn around and re-invest the money you save into one of the four ways.
In the next few months we’ll devote a story to each of these ways. This month we deal with strategies for increasing the number of customers you have.
Develop a unique core differentiator (UCD)
A UCD is the reason why customers buy from YOU, something you have that is of real value to them and decides their buying decision in your favour. You may in fact have several UCDs – different ones targeted towards different segments of your customer base.
Think about how you’d finish this sentence: ‘People buy from me because I’m the only business that...’ If you can put in something there that only you are doing, then that’s a UCD. If you can’t, then its time to start creating some UCDs for your business.
Good UCDs can come out of simply reviewing the way you do business and deciding to emphasise some aspect of what you already do, or of thinking up a different way of doing it. For instance, if you ran an automobile parts business you could offer free same-day delivery of parts ordered from repair shops within your area – only you service customers who need fast delivery.
Tap the power of the phone
Many marketing people consider the phone to be the single most underutilised selling resource in business today. An effective phone technique is really important in keeping prospects interested − there’s no percentage in spending money on generating leads only to turn them off the first time they call you because of the manner in which you talk on the phone; or by handling the call carelessly and leaving people hanging for long periods; or setting up one of those telephone tag situations. We all know how frustrating these things are.
With the right training, your team will have the focus to handle any call, and make it work to your business’ best advantage.
Develop a sales system
Just about everyone in business knows of someone they’d call a ‘natural’ salesperson. If you observe these people you’ll begin to notice a pattern to the way they do things – how they get the prospect interested, how they keep them interested, how they handle objections, how they deal with questions about price and how they finally ask for the sale. All in a way that builds trust and understanding with the prospect as they go along.
They have systemised their routine – they have a ‘sales system’. Now it is actually possible to learn an effective sales system. A systemised approach to selling based on an effective sales method and shared by you and your team is a must-have for increasing your customer base.
Research your market
To improve your return on investment in marketing communication pieces such as letters, advertising, emails, and direct mail, a targeted rather than shotgun approach is very important. Your marketing should focus on a specific group of people who are the right type to purchase your product or services and give them a message they will relate to.
So it’s extraordinarily important to understand what makes your customers tick; if you are selling computers then you need to realise that the expert user with knowledge of software and hardware and all the technicalities is going to want different information than a person who just wants something easy to use for their email contact with family and friends.
To be able to arrive at this knowledge of your actual and potential customers you need to do some homework identifying your main market segments and profiling them according to their interests – some market research. Then you can market accordingly in a much more focused and cost effective way.
SOURCE NOTE: RAN One
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Business Roadmap provides practical business advice for small to medium sized businesses that are trying to overcome problems, or are trying to achieve their vision and full potential. Visit the Business Roadmap website for further information.
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