It feels much better being able to shine when everybody else is struggling with their businesses. Any business has its own ups and downs.
Almost nobody likes these changes. Everyone likes balance and security, that sense of stability when existing customers buy more and new customers come in a nice, balanced wave. But it’s not always this peaceful. And “proper” entrepreneurs LOVE these changes. The smaller the company, the easier it is to adapt to change.
Now you know that if it’s a necessity, you CAN change direction. Let’s talk about how to build a Plan B strategy for those inevitable hard times.
When it’s getting hard to sell, most business owners start to lower their prices, or give huge discounts to bring people in the door.
This is a really bad idea. It won’t work.
One negative impact lowering prices can have is that it creates a snowball effect in the industry. Your competitors start to lower their prices too, and it soon becomes an escalating pricing war in which both you and your competitions lose.
Also, if your products are “cheap”, customers won’t value them, and will treat them accordingly. You will find yourself with a few customers who are not motivated, don’t upsell, and are always negative. Market research shows that people think a product or servicee is less effective or worth less if it’s in the cheap price category.
What should you do instead of discounts?
Show your customers your that you appreciate them for doing business with you. Here are just a few examples of how you can show your customers some appreciation:
- Give them a bonus for their next purchase
- Give them a certificate
- Organize special events for them. Organize an event where your current customers can come. They will appreciate that you think of them, and will feel like they are a part of a special community.
- Send them a thank you card (a real one, not an ecard!) telling them: “Thank you for your loyalty”
If you still want to do something with prices, don’t lower them. Give them more for the same price by attaching a bonus service or product with it. For example:
- Gardening service with free pest control
- Dining with free dessert
- Mattress with a set of bedding
Save for the rainy days
When I put a marketing campaign plan together, I always set up three profit options: worst case, expected case, and best case. In the worst case, I set up a strategy based on what happens if I don’t meet my expectation with the campaign. How much can I lose, and what will I do next? In the expected case, I work with the numbers I would like (and logically expect) to get from the campaign, and in the best case, I create a plan for what to do if I get overwhelmed with orders, and how I can still serve my existing customers.
It all comes down to one simple idea: Work for the best, but prepare for the worst.
The best strategy is to prepare for the worst:
- What would you do if 5 of your best customers left tomorrow?
- What if you created an expensive campaign and didn’t generate a single lead?
- What if your biggest competitor comes up with a more popular or unique offer (he might be reading my newsletter too, and be working to bring the ideas to fruition)?
Put away some money for rainy days, no matter how much you make! Deposit 10% of your profit to a different bank account, or to your savings (business savings, not your personal one), and keep it there. That way, whenever you want to expand your business, or you have some hard times, you don’t have to get a loan, because you have some money put aside.
Market better than your competitors
Rainy days? It’s time to put together a marketing plan. Create an interesting campaign designed to bring in new customers. When business is slow, you have plenty of time to plan and create your marketing strategy, sales funnel, write your autoresponder series, and make it happen.
But if you don’t want slow business anymore, you have to market all year – not just when you need more customers – If you start to do your marketing right now, it’s like a seed you plant. If you take care of that seed—feed it, water it, and make sure it gets plenty of sunshine, it will grow into a plant. And with proper nurturing, that plant will bring you flowers and/or food in return.
Marketing is the same. What you do today may not yield results until next month, or in 6 months, or a year from now. But if you stop marketing your business for a month, it will create a gap in your “harvest” down the line.
You don’t have to spend a lot of money on campaigns. What matters is that your customers always hear from you. A DM campaign here, a printed article there. An event one day, a live video presentation another.
Wake up your sleeping customers
Keep in touch with customers who expressed interest in your business, and also with those who were once your customers but then stopped buying for a while. Call them, or send them an email, or a “thinking of you” card in the mail. Not to sell something, just to make them feel that you care. Ask them how they are doing, and how they are progressing with their goals. Take a minute to tell them about your new products, or an upcoming event for new customers, but don’t be pushy! Don’t ask for a sale now, just inform them about some exciting happening so that they aware.
Don’t blame them or be angry that they didn’t buy, or that they never did. Don’t tell them that “business is slow, I need more customers”. Just demonstrate that you really care about serving your customers, and would like to take time to get to know them better.
Don’t get depressed because business is slower than usual. Don’t panic (and if you have some business savings, you won’t), and don’t try to aggressively generate leads. Don’t start to push sales, and don’t let your customers know that you are going through a slow time.
You are talented and successful! Every business has its ups and downs. It’s not only your industry. Don’t give up, don’t slow down! The downside is temporary. Always remember that the only way from down is to go back up.
Start to plan for your next rainy day today, and with proper preparation, you won’t have rainy days anymore!
Now stop reading and start creating!