By Bill Dueease
You have the right and obligation to determine which potential customers you will serve. You should screen out undesirable customers early so you can focus more attention on customers you want.
The profits of a business are largely dependent on marketing. But what is marketing anyway? It is doing what it takes to convince enough customers to pay the necessary price for your products and/or services and produce the desired profits for your business. Let's discuss the eight secrets business owners can use to greatly improve their marketing success.
Give marketing top priority. The primary reason any customer chooses to buy your products or services is because of effective marketing, comprised of the four important P's. It begins with product development, ensuring the product or service fills a need for potential customers so they will want to buy it. The next step is pricing, ensuring the business will achieve profits from sales. Effective positioning allows customers easy interaction with the business to evaluate the product or service. The final step is promotion, where the business communicates with potential customers about the existence and benefits of the products or services, enticing them to contact the business and learn more.
Marketing culminates in sales--when the customer's perceived value of your products and services exceeds the price. You generate successful sales only because you complete the four steps of product development, pricing, positioning and promotion. You want to focus on marketing at all times to succeed.
Do not confuse advertising with marketing. Advertising is only a part of the last marketing step, promotion, and it occurs late in the game. Many often think advertising is all there is to marketing, so they overlook the other three very important marketing steps. Consequently, they lose the opportunity to control and develop more than 75 percent of all marketing, which must be done first and well to allow advertising to succeed.
Do not base your marketing solely on your own opinions and desires. Some owners make the mistake of believing their power and freedom of choice as "the boss" means they don't have to accept or deal with the opinions of others. But that is only partly true. You are in virtual control of either succeeding or failing to convince the customer to buy your products or services. You want to avoid imposing your opinion on potential customers. Focus on fulfilling their perceived wants and needs--from their perspective--and you will greatly increase the number of customers who decide to purchase with you.
Learn all you can about your potential customers. You want to conduct in-depth research of your potential customer base. You will want to learn everything possible about who they are, what they think they want to buy, and why, how, and when they think they buy.
Learn how to screen out undesirable customers. You have the right and obligation to determine which potential customers you will serve. You should screen out undesirable customers early so you can focus more attention on customers you want. Sadly, you often may not know how to identify the desirables from the pool of potential customers you encounter. As a result, you often spend too much time, money and energy trying to deal with a handful of hard-to-please customers, who frequently demand lower prices, at the expense of better customers, who go elsewhere because they were ignored. You should know the key criteria to help you decide which potential customers are the right ones.
Know and appreciate the value of your existing customers. You may often become so focused on getting new customers that you ignore your existing ones. But the truth is, your business will probably not survive without repeat business. Repeat customers present a wealth of opportunities to you. They frequently provide you excellent feedback; they provide an excellent reference and referral service (read, free advertising); and they are the least expensive and most likely source of additional revenue. Their unnecessary departure causes your business substantial damage. Upset customers will complain to at least five to nine potential customers, so stay loyal to your existing customers and learn as much as you can from them.
Create a positive identity distinct from your competitors. Most customers compare. They need a good reason to choose your product or service over others. You complete more sales when you understand your competitors extremely well and position your products or services for positive customer comparison.
Consider the overwhelming power emotion has on the process of deciding to buy. The buying process is largely governed by emotional forces. Some say more than 80 percent of the entire process is emotion; yet you probably focus your energies on price and avoid the real emotional reasons customers will buy. You should know and feel the emotional connection your potential customers will make with your business, products and/or services. You should know how they interact with your business. You will want your entire marketing program to address those emotional issues to attract and keep the right customers.
Making a decision to buy almost always starts with an emotional need a customer is seeking to meet. Therefore, the search and evaluation of possible products and services is also frequently emotional. The issue of price comes in toward the end of the sales process and, in reality, the customer mostly wants to know price to justify the emotional decision he has already made. In fact, the request for price from a customer is a very strong buying signal (does the cost allow me to buy what I want and is it fair for what I will get?). Business owners succeed when they know how to deal with this emotional process and permit the customer to complete this process through final payment.
What a wonderful opportunity! Marketing allows you to take charge of learning, succeed in your goals and have fun along the way.
This article was provided as an educational service by Bill Dueease of Aspen Business Group. Mr. Dueease is a coach for U.S. and Canadian business owners, teaching them to increase profits, reduce stress, and gain control over their businesses to reach life goals. His article, "10 Insider Secrets Most Business Owners Never Learn," is available for free by e-mailing [email protected] or calling 800.489.6818.