Posts Tagged ‘customers’

3 easy ways to get recommended!

I came across a really sweet reason for getting existing clients to recommend new ones to you and it’s one of those doh! :-( moments that, once you’ve heard it you’ll probably wonder why you never thought of it before!

Tune into WIIFM…

You get really honest with your clients and tell them that the more clients you get recommended to you the less time and money you’ll have to divert to sales and marketing activities and the more you can devote to what you love doing, your core business, which of course is serving them…

The efficacy of all this hinges on your clients being really happy with the service that you give them but that almost goes without saying because, if you don’t get that bit right you’re not going to be in business very long… And it can’t be just good service if you’re asking them to recommend others to you – it needs to be outstanding and they need to believe there’s enough in it for them to bother going out of their way and making an effort on your behalf.

So this brings the age old question of: “What’s in it for me?” that every customer and potential customer asks him- or herself really to front and centre, doesn’t it? If there’s not a strong enough distinction between your offer and another’s the customer will see your offering as a commodity and will buy on price – and that’s a slippery slope.

You fabulous you!

You need to be really, really specific on what makes you so different – we used to call it the USP – Unique Selling Point/ Unique Sales Proposition – it doesn’t matter what you call it so long as you have one

  • That’s true
  • That you’re prepared to stand by and
  • That your customers recognise and appreciate the value of…

… and no, “best value” and “best service” are too bland and just won’t cut it…

One of the most powerful persuaders to buy is when you offer a guarantee on something you know you can deliver on – and take the burden of risk off the customer. Research shows that only about 1% will claim a refund on a business that delivers on it promise and it’s widely agreed that the increase in custom you get as a result of providing the guarantee will far outweigh any returns you may have to give.

So as a Trainer/ Coach/ Mentor/ Facilitator/ Catalyst whose role with clients is to get them recognising and earning their unique value and having fun doing it, one of the perennial woes is lack of money so one USP I’d choose might be:

“The first thing we do is recoup your monetary investment in working with me.”

I know I can help you do that because there are so many ways – all legal and ethical :-) – there’ll always be at least one that will appeal to you that you’ll be able to adopt and swiftly put into practice!

One client hadn’t earned any money in six months yet billed (and received payment for) £3,200 of work within four weeks of me working with him. Was it work he out and out loved doing? No, but he didn’t really know what he wanted to do at that stage and he was happier than he’d been for about a year (so was his hard working wife who was delighted!).

The other thing is that, once somebody has decided to get help to up their game, I also know that they know full well that if they could have got where they wanted to under their own steam they would have already done so… And they are prepared to put the “work” in to make their change happen.

Another USP of mine that’s fun and I enjoy is:
“I help you get out of your own way and get on with the life you’d love” :-)

More than one of my clients say they’re sometimes not sure precisely what’s happened they just see the results (a friend of mine, Sarah, explains that as “you’ve been Linda’d” :-)

So, to wrap up for now

  1. Choose your best clients (after all, you want more like them…)
  2. Explain the 3 wins provided by recommendations they could make about your services (more of your time devoted to them and meeting their needs; less sales & marketing activities and expenditure so hold your prices; ethical ‘bribes’ – preferential treatment such as the opportunity to test products and services in development – get creative!)
  3. Make it easy for them by reminding them of (or giving them) your USPs

Who’s brave enough to post at least one of your USPs in the comments? It’s another shop window opportunity for your business…


How Much Do You Really Want A Successful Business?

… and what are you doing to make it happen?

I’ve come across more than usual of these Think Big audios, interviews and seminars recently and, though there has been the usual crop of navel gazing, verging on the woo-woo, of Why are you here? What are the X number of things that define Your Big Life, what Breakthrough do you want Right Now? and so on, there were also some really good observations on ways we might be holding back and un- or subconsciously sabotaging our business growth efforts.

And the good thing about that is, once we’re aware of what they are and dispassionately identify whether they apply to us, we can do something about them… If you’re anything like me, you might want to ask someone you trust to ‘give it to you straight’ if you’re not sure about any of your answers 😉

The Gap

This is the space between you are and where you want the business to be. Since we know that no business can stand still, it has to progress or go backwards until it eventually meets its demise, let’s say there’s at least some room for improvement and bring on any hints, tips and practices that would help! Let’s remember that, even in good times there are many reasons why you may lose custom through no fault of your own. In bad times they’re likely to be magnified:

  • A project you’ve geared up resources to work on progresses so far then gets indefinitely halted
  • A contract that you’ve had for several years suddenly isn’t renewed
  • Customer company/individual moves away
  • Customer company merges or is taken over
  • Customer company/individual moves to a competitor with a superior/cheaper/more suitable product, service or solution
  • Customer company/individual needs change and there is no longer a requirement for your product or service
  • Customer company closes down or customer individual dies

We’re going to look at a range of external reasons and internal reasons that are allegedly responsible for lack of growth and some possible behaviours that are contributing to the status quo. Get ready for some self honesty and accountability.

External Justification

  • The economy’s the pits
  • People aren’t buying…
  • There’s too many offering the same thing, too much competition
  • I/ we can’t hold my/ our prices, people are going for the cheapest…
  • People don’t do what they say they will
  • I/ we can’t compete on the same playing field as the rest – they’re bigger/ more established/ have more money/ backing

Internal Justification

  • I can’t do everything that needs to be done – there just aren’t enough hours in the day
  • I’m not a salesman/ woman
  • I’m/ we’re okay once I’m/ we’re in front of somebody – it’s getting in front of enough potential profitable customers that’s the problem
  • I don’t know how to….
  • It’s not my responsibility
  • How can I think and act Big with all this – whole countries in trouble, let alone companies folding and people being made redundant – going all around?
  • What if I do… and mess up? People will think I’m stupid

Well, that’s just a few of each – I’m sure you could add to the lists, but we’re getting the picture. So now let’s add into the mix some unhelpful behaviours that might be supporting stagnation at best and rapid demise at worst… :-(

Unhelpful Behaviours

Key ones are to:

  • Be caught in hesitation, inertia and a kind of passive sabotage of procrastination OR
  • Hide amongst displacement activities – all of which achieve busyness but not positive outcomes OR
  • Undertake tons of panicky activities underscored by neediness that repels potential business

Then there can be ‘supporting’ tendencies:

  • Sense of continuous overwhelm
  • Need to micro manage everything and everyone
  • Let self and others down
  • Blame others

Anything else we want to get out on the table while we’re at it? In my opinion there really isn’t any mileage in hiding all this from ourselves and pretending everything’s just grand. Because that way all the garbage is still there and ignoring isn’t going to fix anything anytime soon.

Facing it on the other hand enables us to ask and get answers to some very empowering questions.

Empowering Questions

  1. Why do you do what you do to earn/ make a living?
  2. Have you created a job for yourself where you’re the boss or a business to grow and either hand down to your offspring or sell?
  3. How does your business serve and contribute to the life you want to lead?
  4. How is that different from its ideal contribution?
  5. Just how important is it to you that you/ your business reach your full potential?
  6. Who directly benefits from what you/ your business does?
  7. What impact does that make on their lives/ business?
  8. What impact does you/ your business doing what you do have on the wider scene?

The above are, I’d say, essential questions that any business person should be clear on the answers to Question 6 if s/he’s serious about succeeding. But having said that, when times get tough it’s easy to lose sight of why you ever bothered to get into this! :(-

But once you’ve gone back to basics and re-clarified your focus where necessary – hint: involve your best clients/ customers to help you if you’re struggling with the question 😉 – then we can look at

  • Your ideal target audience
  • The best offers you can and should be making to them
  • The way you present those offers

Linda Mattacks - Small Business Training

PS I’ve included above some practical activities from courses I’ve created specifically for small businesses – in this instance they’re from the Gold course for sole traders and owners of micro businesses.
PPS If you like what you see here the 15 minute FREE Skype or phone consultation still holds to see if we’re good to work together. Why not have a chat? :-)

Poverty and plenty – a quick question

When did you last take a good look at your competitors –

Are they “cutting back on spend whatever the cost?

Or are they judiciously continuing to invest in certain areas where they know they’ll get good, sustainable Return On Investment?

Your employees and your customers are your best assets right now. How about investing in the first to make sure you keep and grow more of the second?

Just a thought…

Oh, and if you want to read more about poverty, you’ll find stuff here.

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"I was very impressed by Linda's determination to help and the constructive, but persistent, manner in which she identified issues and then tried to resolve them. After recent progress I was again reaching a stage where I seemed to be spinning my wheels, and she has given me fresh impetus to start moving forward again."