Brands Deliver Value, Commodities Compete on Price
Some argue that our economy is in the worst shape it’s been in since World War II. Though that point is debatable, the fact that America is coming out of a serious recession, is undeniable. Even with huge marketing budgets, invaluable business partnerships, and far-reaching advertising campaigns, major corporations are struggling to keep their heads above water these days. So what are small business owners like you to do, particularly without the marketing and advertising budget of major corporations, to keep your business from sinking?
We read and hear dismal reports everyday of plummeting employment rates, slumping sales, and declining figures representing the tightening of consumer purse strings. That’s why it’s more important now than ever for your business to be both sensitive and relevant to consumer needs.
You see, underneath every sales inquiry is a very basic question each potential customer wants to know and that is, “Why should I pay you?” Hard-working people can’t afford to separate from their money without understanding what immediate benefit your business can offer that’s worth their hard-earned dollar. If you can address the pressing concerns underlying the hesitance to buy, then you can convert plenty of prospects, no matter how turbulent the economic climate.
Here are some fundamental principles for you to apply, that will lead you on a path to increased sales conversions and more satisfied, and ultimately, repeat customers. Hey, we all want that, right?
1. Articulate Exactly What You Can Contribute
For a few moments, I want you to forget about firming up your handshake and rehearsing your opening sales lines. Instead, think more about developing a thoughtful and concise unique selling proposition that truly reflects the value you offer. You see, when you’re facing a reluctant consumer, which defines most prospects in these current economic times, you need to tell them what you bring to the table that will help them get what they want.
Leo J. Pusateri, Financial Training and Consulting expert says,
“Most advisors have not taken enough introspective time to really understand what unique value they bring to client relationships,”
Because of this, they lose sales. You don’t have to be a financial advisor for this rule to apply. If you find that consumers aren’t buying what you’re attempting to sell, you need to dig deeper to unveil your hidden value.
2. Work What You’ve Got
A lot of small business owners panic when business is slow. As a result, they end up frantically looking for ways to go after new prospects, while overlooking consumers that have previously purchased products and services. To that I say, big mistake; why not work what you’ve got? Clients that support your business expect to be catered to with exceptional products, promotions, and special offers. Be sure to maximize your database. Greet clients on special occasions and be sure to thank them for their business often. They’ll happily pay you for new services if you have a great track record of delivering on your promises and providing excellent customer service.
Just as with any relationship, if you expect to maintain it, treat the other party well. When you do, you can tap into that healthy business relationship again and again. That way, you won’t have to spend precious time and money trying to woo new prospects.
3. Stay True to Your Niche
It can be tempting to venture out into new territory as a way of expanding your platform and aggressively growing your business, particularly when you fear the outcome of “Placing all your eggs in one basket.” But before you shift the focus of your business, be sure it doesn’t carry you outside of your niche market. It’s nearly impossible to convince folks to pay you for a service that neither you or they understand.
In 5 words: Stick to what you know. If you’re looking for ways to grow, try adding improved products, services and strategic partnerships with like-minded individuals, businesses, and organizations. Otherwise, you could end up wasting money in a market that doesn’t want what you have to offer. Worse yet, you just may end up isolating your base you worked so hard to get in the first place.
Keep in mind that, it’s not impossible for your small business to thrive during times of economic hardship; but it does take intelligence, strategy, and determination. Above all, you must genuinely understand and care about your consumers if you expect to develop long-standing and fruitful relationships with them.
If you find it difficult to recall all the lessons contained in this article, here it is in a nutshell: