MAKE MARKETING A MUST!
When business is booming, it’s easy to put marketing on the back burner. Why focus attention on getting new customers when you already have all you can handle? The reason is simple: when things slow down, you want to have new clients in the pipeline. Make marketing part of your habit. The most efficient way to do this is to create structures around your marketing efforts. Here are some tips:
1. Make time for marketing: In your calendar, schedule time each week for your marketing and sales activities. It could be an hour every other day, or a chunk of time on one day of the week. Don’t make this time optional – honor this slice of your week as a time devoted to moving your business forward.
2. Marketing is a mindset: You never know when an opportunity to help someone out with your services/products will arise. Always be prepared to speak enthusiastically about what your company does. Once you get used to this way of thinking, it’s easy to communicate your company’s value without being pushy.
3. Develop a marketing system: Do what make sense to you – you can create a simple spreadsheet, make notes in your planner, or sketch out activities on a large flipchart sheet on the wall. The point is to make an annual profile of your marketing activities including: networking events, trade shows, advertising deadlines, direct mailings, seminars and so on. Schedule marketing and stick to it!
4. Ask for referrals: Word of mouth is the most effective way to get new customers. Ask your current and former clients to pass on your name and contact information on to their circle. When finishing a sales cycle with a customer, ask for referral recommendations. If you don’t ask, people may not think to offer.
5. Contact past customers: Make sure you keep in touch with your past customers. These are the people who know your services and who have enjoyed their benefits. Often, a simple call to check in with them will lead to new sales for your company. You can invite them out for coffee if you live nearby.
6. Don’t delay: Don’t wait until you NEED to make a sale. Your mission is not to say “I’m getting low on work right now.” Or “My sales are down”. Build and reinforce your bond with a wide variety of people – customers, leads, referrals, vendors and so on. Ultimately people will buy from people they trust and like. Often, work comes in simply because you happen to be in the picture at an opportune time. Or, it may be someone has an associate who is looking for a service or product that you have to offer – who better to recommend than you?
Action Item: This week, carve out time dedicate to your marketing activities. Work on your annual calendar and call clients for referral suggestions. Make a commitment to your marketing and you’ll find your business will grow as a result.