Last week, I did some work for a new client (a Lagos based Hexavian). He’s into Cleaning, Facility Management and Fumigation. He was looking for ways to grow his business, primarily by increasing his client base. As part of my assignment, I looked into his contact list for old clients, and possibly friends, associates, relatives, and so forth, exploring it for relationships that we could convert into sales figures.
Just then, as if from the blues, a particular friend called. When I asked about this friend, he told me that this friend was operating in a related, but non-competing field/business as he (meaning, he likely had access to similar clients as my client, but not selling the same kind of products/service to them). I promptly suggested that we visited this friend to get some quality business referrals from him. This, by the way, is the first line of offensive I deploy in trying to grow any business.
After my client made his case for referrals, of course introducing first the kind of business he was into, he walked out of the friend’s office with a business order worth about N2.6 million.
This sure isn’t the end of the world; it’s only a minute fraction of the goal we’ve set out for the 2015/2016 business year – but it absolutely isn’t a bad way to begin working, considering that this was the first time we were putting our paper drawn strategies to the test of real market conditions – and all of these happened in about 3 – 5 minutes. Most importantly, it’s a pointer in the right direction.
This made me wonder: How much of good business daily pass us by because we fail to rightly and ethically deploy and leverage upon resources and opportunities around us? The friend in question was a close friend, and they had quite an easy, solid, trusting relationship between them – yet, he never knew anything about my client’s business, or how he could help, until he was prompted in that direction.
It made me wonder: How much of our energies, resources, time, finances, advertising budget, and other expenses are thrown careless in different directions, without us taking the time to make the most use of what we have?
I’ve always been and continue to remain a strong advocate of Optimization before Multiplication. Always act on resources you have available in your business, in your network, in your relationship and networks, in your past clientele base, in your assets and every resources. You have nothing to lose in taking what’s already working and making it work to the Nth (greatest) degree.
If you have relationships, both of old, and existing clients, as well as friends, business associates, colleagues, relatives and so forth, then you should rightly, benevolently and ethically program them to bring referrals into your business. Your old clients will still be one of the safest, easiest, least risky sources of generating new business, whether by repurchase or buy referrals. Statistics point out that it costs 6 – 7 times as much to bring in a new client than to resell to an existing one, also referral systems if deployed right have the potential to increase your business anything from 40% – 100%!
So why can’t you work to discover the top 20% of customers are that are responsible for 80% of your sale, treating them right, rewarding them and programming them for more purchases? These can be very strong sources of referrals (word of mouth evangelism) and repurchase.
What about your Unique Selling Proposition: that promise, that commitment you make to clients to stand out shoulder high in their minds as an ultimate value provider, making them choose you rather than your competitor. Have you worked on it? Sharpened it? Tested it? Made it visible and clear to your target audience? Have you directed it for maximum result? Most likely (as with most businesses), the answer will be “No”, but the USP is one of the greatest drivers of businesses – as you’ll come to learn on this platform.
What about making it easier for people to say “Yes” to your offer rather than “No”, by taking away the risks associated with purchase of your products/services? What about training your sales staff for more productivity and efficiency in results delivery rather than just “letting them be” or firing. By the way, it costs 25 cents on every dollar to hire a new staff than to train and improve an existing one – ask HR professional the cost of hiring a new staff and waiting for them to adapt to the systems, while paying them on monthly basis?
What about putting platforms like Hexavian Business Club into good use, being active in Decoded meetings, volunteering for projects, and advertising on the website of a community where you are known and visible; wouldn’t that cost less and have more impact than doing it the other way?
There are a billion and one examples I can state in making my case for Optimization of business resources. Take what you have and use it to the fullest.
Your friends and neighbours – at least the smart ones are doing it. Your competitors – check the top competitors in your field – are doing it. In this hard, cold economy where efficiency has to be your watchword, you must learn to put to maximum use the resources already at your disposal, if you must maximize your business sales/outcome.
Good morning friends.
Do have a lovely week ahead!!!
(Lead Consultant on marketing strategy and a business growth expert)