Growing Your Business – A Work In Progress

I don’t know of a single store owner who doesn’t want to bring in new customers, increase the number of sales to each of them and increase the average sale amount every time they’re there.

So how do you do that? Here are 6 steps that will start you on your way.

Step 1  How:
            Give them a great first experience
            – clean parking lot/clean windows – no old posters or other clutter
            – good display  –  well lighted  –  well laid out  –  adequate quantity of items
            – If you can match a clerk with the items the customer’s looking at – that’s all the better.
            – MOST important is to see everything through the customers’ eyes.

Step 2  Be Proactive: Get permission to develop a relationship
            – Use a newsletter sign-up to get email/phone/address at the first sale.
            – Email a newsletter
            – Set up a loyalty program
            – Email customers to give "first crack" at sales.

Step 3   Follow up immediately:
             – This is another place where your newsletter comes in handy. Email a copy with a simple note 
                such as "thanks for coming in" – "loved talking to you" – "hope to see you soon" and Sign it!

Step 4   Price merchandise fairly:
             – Your price shouldn’t be the lowest. (lowest prices are on-line or at WalMart, etc).
             – Make a fair amount of profit.
             – Compensate on higher price by providing extra benefits (service, coupon for next visit,?)

Step 5   Little Gestures/Big Impression
             – thank you note. I can be as simple as "Thanks!  " written on the receipt
             – candy (or play-dough – use your imagination). It doesn’t have to be expensive.
             – umbrella to help to the car.
             – something extra in the bag.
             – employees who really care and show it.

Step 6   Keep Building The Relationship:
              – It is not your customer’s job to remember you – you must give them a reason to remember.
              – Do email marketing that talks to them. For example give them tips and information – don’t
                 just send a bunch of coupons. There was a real estate agent where I lived who sent out a
                monthly postcard. One side was a recipe. The other side had her name, company and 
                contact information. This was her only contact. When it was time to sell my house I called 
                her! So it isn’t always big and splashy – more often it’s tenacity over a period of time.

These steps are a start for growing your business. If you haven’t tried them, what’s stopping you? Maybe some of these ideas will inspire you to think about what else you can do for the customers!

Talk to you soon.   Norma

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