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Posts Tagged ‘Retain’

My Final P in business is…..Patience

February 15, 2011 4 comments

 

 

Patience, this sounds easy but in practice it can be very, very hard, especially when your business isn’t growing as fast as you’d hoped.

 

For example, how do you stick with the business plan that you spent days, weeks or months preparing? The plan that when you started was broken down to what seemed a few simple steps, ie implement the marketing plan, get customer in, retain them, profit with them, keep repeating and hey presto a viable business inside a relatively short space of time.

 

In principle you know your plan will work. But on the frontline day to day trying to implementing your plan gets hard. Especially growing a young business, trying to bring in new clients, one of the hardest, most expensive and time consuming processes a business carries out.

 

This is where you must have patience! Patience to stick with what you know is right. If you’ve planed thoroughly, got buy in from stakeholders (ie, you’ve checked your plan out with qualified others for feed back and they’re convinced of its merits), implementing correctly then all you may need, in general, is time and patience to make it work.

 

I found this out in my first “proper” business. I planed out where I was going, did the business plan and got the outline of the marketing plan, which in those youthful heady days just consisted of cold calling and word of mouth referrals, the internet was still in the womb at that time and I had no money for anything else.

 

My plan and business was sound, so onto bringing clients. Simple idea cold call relevant businesses that maybe interested in my services and then leverage of any clients on word of mouth and shazam!, lots of clients and an ever expanding healthy business.

 

However I had to learn patience.

 

I made well over a hundred cold calls a week, in person and on the phone. It was frustrating, demoralizing, sometimes humiliating, basically not always a great experience. But I slowly learned that occasionally I would find a customer and leverage of that one and so on and so on.

 

Finally momentum and break through followed. It all started to fall into place with patient implementation of a solid plan. But that plan would have been nothing without Patience.

 

So, look at your plan, if your convinced its sound and you know that the patience implementation of it leads to where you want to be then, Stick with it. Be Patient and believe in your own abilities.

 

Thanks for reading, Tim

 

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Aren’t there enough P’s in Business?

December 19, 2010 4 comments

The most important 3 P’s you’ll need in business….

Normally we refer to P’s in business in connection with just marketing, the 5 P’s or 7 P’s. But I’d like to suggest that if you’re in business or about to dip your toe into the business ownership world, then you’ll need all of  these 3 P’s of business.

Over the coming weeks I’ll let you in on what I consider these important 3 P’s in business are.

So what’s the first one?

First of the three P’s is……… Preparation – the first and most vital of the extra 3 P’s in business.
It’s been said by many people over the ages that preparation is the key to success.

In fact I would venture to say that many great writings over the years, in relation to winning, business, personal development and so on, all discuss the importance of preparation. From Sun Tzu’s The Art of War to Napoleon hills Think and Grow Rich, they’re all centered around preparation, know your enemy, do your preparation, know you’re self, preparation for become successful. And so on.

Preparation is vital to start any journey, particularly one into business. You need to be prepared in different ways.

● Have a plan, a road map of where you want to go, how big or small do you want your business to be, what do you want it to evolve into? Also allowing a little flexibility in this, as opportunities may arise, on along the way and lead you along a different path.

● Financially. Be prepared, have the right funding in place for your venture and a bit more for those unforeseen events.

● Mentally. Being prepared mentally to execute your business plan and to stick with it, even in the dark days. Mental toughness.

….and this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Preparation isn’t limited to just starting out in business, it’s an ongoing process, and so it should be.

One way to do this is through possessing an open mind, in terms of being open to learning. Listening, reading and being teachable are all essential and part of being prepared in business.

I’ll blog the next P in business soon….

Marketing for life

August 19, 2010 3 comments

Marketing for life, what’s your customer worth to You?

No I don’t mean in terms of Marketing for life is like a puppy, it’s not just for Christmas it’s for life. I mean in terms of Customer Life Time Value.

Life time value of customers is an area that’s often over looked.

This isn’t just relevant in the business world but in the real world of work, particularly in people in sales roles.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of viewing each customer on a transaction to transaction basis. What I mean by this is that each customer is judged on individual transactions, with the bigger picture never being looked at.

Most businesses and people in sales roles generally want to see repeat business. But treat there customers based on single transactions instead of viewing them as a customer for life, one who may buy again and again and have the potential to buy in greater quantities.

Let me give you an example, Real Estate.

A few years ago I started buying property and had found an area that I was happy to invest and develop property in. I called up a few real estates in the area to try and arrange some viewings and some more back ground information on the area.

One real estate guy stood out. He offered me a full day of viewings and to drive me around the area and give me more local information. He also arranged to show me examples of properties that had been redeveloped for some ideas as well as examples of properties that his office had rented out under their management.

For a real estate, sorry real estate people, he stood out a mile as someone who viewed me in terms of the bigger picture and not just a one off sale.

So how has that benefited him doing it this way?

Well I brought three properties from him after that one visit, rented them all out with his company. I also went onto buy after two properties and now only deal with him on all my purchases, sales, developments and rentals of my properties in the area.

All because he could see the bigger picture, The Life Time Value of the customer. Clever? or just putting a little more thought into this process?

I think taking a leaf out this guys book is something we should all consider if we want happy, profitable long term relationships with the customers we have now and our customers of tomorrow.

Can it be that easy? Let me know your thoughts and experiences. Thanks, Tim.

Five tips to keep you competitive in a competitive market, whether it’s in your area of work or in your business……..

Five Easy Tips, with lots of benefits, for YOU……

1. Understand your market:

By understanding your market you can better target your marketing resources. Define your market. If you sell, for example, cosmetics then you could say that all women are your market. But by understanding where your product falls into the market, ie high or low priced, etc, you can then target your efforts.

2.  Don’t use a scatter gun approach to find your next client:

For example spend $750 on a postal flyer or $750 on expenses meeting new customers at Network functions? Find and target your next customer in a timely cost effective manner. Resources are precious both in time and money terms.

3. Think outside the box:

Don’t just rely on traditional forms of attracting customers. Just putting a sticker on your car door isn’t going to cut it. Try teaming up with other companies that compliment your product and services. Pool resources and market together.

4. Your brand must run through your company:

Consistency is the key. Ensuring your band runs through your company will show your customer that you are in control and offer a consistent, quality product or service. Just take a look at McDonalds, for example.

5. Staff are on Board:

Empower your staff, they represent you and most importantly the company. Are they presenting both in a good light? They need you to guide them in presenting the company in the right way. Training, training, training.

It’s not a huge jump for you to translate this to your current job if you’re not currently in business. Have a look…

  1. Understand who your customer is. Find out what makes them tick to give you a better understanding of them. You’ll also be able to communicate with them better.
  2. Use your time wisely. Target, target, target. Think before you act, is this a good use of my time?
  3. Look outside of what you do to speak with your customers. In a sales role try something different, say outside of normal work hours get together in something that you both may enjoy.
  4. Get with the program. Let the company’s brand run through you to. Your customers will thank you for being part of a consistent performing, quality organization.
  5. Are you representing your company well? If you are you’ll feel the benefits both from the company and clients. You’ll be appreciated and if you’re not, tell your employer or find one that will appreciate you.

You are your own business and if you choose to excel in everything you do, even at the moment if it’s for someone else’s company, ultimately you will benefit. In terms of being noticed, financial rewards and personally knowing that you made a difference to someone.

I hope that this doesn’t sound like a campaign to get everyone obediently to obey their employees, its not, you need to be appreciated as an employee who cares. I just want to show that most of the business and marketing education, conversations, literature, etc out there is relevant to you being in work.

Being at the peak of your game at work will ultimately benefit ….You. People will notice You.

Thanks again for reading, your time is appreciated and all your comments are gratefully received. Thanks, Tim

Influencing the influencer………

Influencing the influencer….


Who is an influencer you ask? Well this is usually a person, someone who has “influence” over you or a group of people in the decisions you or they make.

This is relevant not only in terms of marketing, but is also very relevant in the work place.

Let’s look at an example from both the marketing world and the world of work. Then maybe we’ll all be in a better position to understand this person and how important they are to us.

Marketing: The image above sums a lot of this up. In marketing we’re trying to find the person who has the power to influence you into buying our products and services.

There’s a lot of talk about Facebook and other social networking sites being the holy grail of influence marketing. All you need to do is jump on and recommend a product to a friend. Hey presto Sale!

But, and its looking like a pretty big but, this isn’t as straight forward as it first seems or seemed.

Whilst a friend can be an influence on your buying decision and recommend a purchase, particular for purchase online where someone wants that extra push to buy due to trust issues, research and talk is questioning if this influence is enough.

A true person of influence could be a friend or I’m arguing could be a person who is or can be perceived as a friend but with the experience in the usage of the product or service you’re interested in buying.

Let me explain. I like biking, tour de France style. When I’m looking at purchasing something online (or offline for that matter) for my bike, I look to my friends for recommendations. But what gets me over the line (depending on the product and price) to purchase is an influencer. Someone who is on a forum or even an experienced semi well known person who has used the product and gives me a through run down on its suitability, with honesty, even if they work or are endorsing that company and its products.

So I supposed this is or can be considered, a two staged influencing process…mmm…. Stage 1 friend recommends and influences to look at the relevant web site or visit the store. Stage 2, second influencer, the well experienced, trusted user of the product, pushes me over the line for the purchase. Light Bulb moment – 2 influencers, not one, there’s a thought??

Workplace: Very different, but is this so far from what I’ve discussed in the marketing example?

Let’s take a sales role as an example. Are you, as a sales person talking to the right person? Are they the ultimate buyer, yes? Or, yes they are but will they have outside influences on the purchase.

Give you an example. Back in the day, another time and place in the past, where at times I would have a sales role within my own business, for larger clients.

Well my company and in particular myself, naively I must say, spent many, many, days hours, weeks courting a new client. We thought we were having our discussions with the ultimate “decision maker”. He was extremely happy with the price, service, people, everything. He was ready to buy and did. The snag was that he only used our services a tiny bit. The total contract he had the ultimate decision on was for hundreds and thousands of dollars, in fact over a million dollars a year, we got a few thousand dollars a month worth of work. What was wrong??

We, I, tried all sorts of things, regular meetings, offered to place our own staff into his business, dedicated customer service staff, and so on.

After many months of continued and failed negotiation we settled for the slice of the pie we were given.

Looking back the reason we had so little work form him was the influencers within his business.

He had customer service staff and warehouse operations staff who where in the front line. They had to deal with us on a day to day bases. Guess what….. they didn’t like ….you got it change. They were very happy to put up with the mediocre service that they were receiving from their present suppliers and did not want to change. They “influenced” the ultimate buyer into not giving us all of their business.

The moral is that we should have spoken to the “influencer’s” as well as the ultimate decision maker, found a way to get everyone on board from the start.

So in Marketing or in the world work you need to know who the influencer is or are and focus your efforts on them.

Let me know your thoughts and your experiences, similar, same or is it, what is he’s talking about?, please let me know and put me straight or join the conversation.

It’s all in the title….Grow…Retain….Profit

July 16, 2010 1 comment

Three little words, not the ones we all love to hear..I love you… but three little words that could lead to a long term andbetter relationship with your clients either in your business or job.

What are you talking about I hear you ask???? Well having been in business for over 20 year, with all its ups, downs, side ways, round ways, every which ways!, and I wanted to give back some content out that may just help.

I’m talking about the way we view our business and to a large degree our jobs. I look at the world not just in terms of grow, grow, grow…bring in new clients (in business or in a sales role) and just keep repeating, bringing in more and more new clients, or at least thinking that’s what it’s all about.  No, I try and encourage individuals as well as businesses to see the bigger better, longer lasting more profitable picture. The one that encourages us to view each new client as a lifelong client, one that we can better serve them (and ourselves) for the longterm, leading to a more profitable future, not only for us in our roles but for our clients as well.

Nothing new in this? Well you’re probably right, but as we know so many business and employees fail, fail to make the cut, fail to make the grade and ultimately fail in business or employment.  So maybe we are aware of this but maybe we don’t all do anything about it.

As this is my very first blog I just want to introduce the idea of looking at the bigger picture ,or at least reminding the more experienced members of our community about the concept. The concept of not just grow, grow, grow but to practice the next stage of retain, retain, retain so that we can then offer the client a much more profitable experience and partnership with our business or relationship.

My main image de-pics two people working with three cogs, trying to get them to work together. I look at them as Grow (attract new clients, either in business or an emp0lyed role), Retain (keep your client) and Profit (offering added value so both your client and you profit more from the relationship).

I just wanted to start my first blog with this, to pique you’re interest and get you to come back and find out more…hopefully it will benefit all???

Thanks for your time with me. Tim Farmer