‘Word of Mouth’ is still one of the most effective marketing techniques, online or offline. In today’s tough market, businesses are fighting for their share of sales. If you can create a reputation and get people talking, you can win new business for your firm.
The best thing about word of mouth marketing is that it doesn’t cost the business any money. Instead, satisfied customers tell people about their positive experience of a business, a brand, a product or service. The key is to ensure that your current customers are satisfied.
Go the extra mile for you clients. Make them feel special – like they have purchased something that delivers real value to them. They will think positively about your business and your brand and will endeavour to tell friends, colleagues and contacts about the positive experience that they have had with your firm.
People do business with people they know and like. Many of us purchase a product or service because it has been recommended to us by a friend or colleague. If that friend or colleague knows or likes a particular product or service, you will most likely trust the firm that offers that product or service.
You can encourage your existing clients to spread the word about your brand by asking for referrals. In order to avoid coming across as desperate for a sale, take a subtle approach. Something along the lines of “We are glad you are satisfied with our product / service. We are very busy but we always welcome a referral”.
The golden rule is – “ask for the business”. After all, people generally want to be able to recommend someone to a friend.
One of the most important parts of any business is maintaining and enhancing relationships with clients. This makes the time spent on a project more enjoyable, satisfying and effective. Improved relationships also improve the chance that the firm will get referrals and future business.
Be clear and open with client – This is the number one guideline for a successful client engagement. Be clear and open with everything from a sales proposal through to the final contract and this will assist in developing strong working relationships which should contribute to repeat business from loyal clients.
Get to know your client – Relationships are better when the individuals involved take the time to get to know one another. Learn about the client’s interests. You will likely spend many hours with your clients so you should take the time to build a positive working relationship with them. Make it a point to learn something new about each client in every meeting you have. Once you learn something new, keep track of that information in your CRM system or in a client file.
Ask questions – When we ask questions we understand situations better. Take the time to ask your client how they feel about the service so far, what other services your business could provide, etc. Ask the client about their company – showing that you are interested will help them to feel like a valuable and important client of your firm.
Be willing to say “No.” – In many cases, clients ask us to do things beyond our capabilities or interests. When these new requests are outside the contract agreement, be willing to say no. Take time to understand both the client’s reason for asking as well as your ability to deliver. Don’t automatically say yes, because if you agree to something and then fail to deliver, you could risk spoiling the client relationship.
Be willing to say “yes.” – Sometimes yes is the right answer – and only you will know when. Sometimes it is worth going the extra mile for a client. Perhaps they are very profitable or they may be a source of good referral work. If so, then it may be worth putting in the extra effort in order to gain new opportunities.
Solve problems for your client – Clients want value. Deliver that value to your client by solving a problem for them. Whether you sell a product or a service, using that sale to provide a solution for the client will help them to see the value that your firm offers and will create loyalty towards your brand.
SOME GLIMMERS OF HOPE
Despite the doom and gloom, there are several ways that any business can maximise opportunities in 2013:
The first thing to do is sit down and think about your strategy – what you want your turnover, profit, market share to be and set targets.
Then think about increasing market share. Smart businesses with competitive products and astute marketing skills are well placed to grow their respective market share at the expense of weaker or ailing competitors.
The big question is: “What can we do to increase our market share?”
Maybe if flexibility is the key – consider adding to your product or service offerings – this may give you the scope to move into adjacent markets that are currently underserved, maybe there is some space for newcomers.
Also consider selling into new foreign markets. Foreign exchange commentators suggest the level of sterling will continue to favour British exports in 2013. With this tailwind, UK companies that can hone their products to the specific needs of overseas customers have the opportunity to open up new international markets with competitive prices.
Opportunities in 2013 do exist for those businesses that can demonstrate the right approach and product offerings.
The top three strategies being adopted by our clients in 2013 are:
1) Taking business from competitors;
2) Lowering costs; and
3) Using technology to improve efficiency.
Take time to think about these and how you can maximise your opportunities!
The most common answer is NOT KNOWING WHERE YOU STAND with respect to your business.
If you’re not getting reliable information on a regular basis in a format that you can understand, we can help! We’re experts at developing accounting systems and reports.
Alternately, we can prepare the figures for you, accurately and promptly, and offer you an outsider’s view on your performance. We can also help you develop an annual budget and show you how you’re doing every month against your targets.
Please remember that we are here to help and support you at all times.