Thirteen Step Action Plan For Everyone, That Needs More Business Now.
By Paul Douglas
In my previous life as a carpet cleaner, the winter months of January, February, and March, were faced with fear and trepidation. Not just myself, but everyone in our industry, feared these months.
It was always the slowest time of year for this industry. If you think about it for a second, this seasonal slump occurred simply due to the weather. Few homeowners wanted to have their carpets cleaned in the winter months. Sub-zero temperatures, slushy, messy, Spring thaw conditions and post holiday season credit cards bills all conspired to keep the phone from ringing.
That put the carpet cleaner, flush with the prosperity of the previous months before the holidays, in a really tough situation if they did not prepare for the slow times. Kinda like the ant and the grasshopper fable.
The winter of 2000 proved to be a very good one for me. The marketing push I put on in November and December was carrying me through these lean times. My marketing machine was bringing in a constant supply of new and prior clients for me.
However that was not the same for many of my peers on the industry bulletin boards and forums. Many were complaining about how slow it was for them. I just shook my head. Why were they not prepared? I knew it would take them until May or June just to catch up on the expenses they were behind on unless they could make the phone ring now.
So I put together what has since become known as the "Paul Douglas Action Plan". I took the steps outlined in this plan and modified it to fit any business that needs to blast out of a slow season slump. So with that said, here is the 13 step plan of action for everyone that needs more business now.
Flyers: Put out twice as many of your most productive flyers every week for every sales rep in your business. New prospects are the life blood of every business. Without them sales will wither and die. Sales slumps can usually be broken by simply doubling your marketing effort.
Direct Mail: Direct mail works. It has been used ever since the invention of the postage stamp. Buy or rent a list of names and addresses of prospects that fit your ideal client demographic. Mail one hundred prospecting letters a week out to this list for every person in your company that needs a new lead. A 1% response means one new client/lead per week.
The letter you send out does not have to be perfect. It just needs to be sent. Split testing future mailings will allow you to improve on the letter you mail. So don't worry about the letter you are sending. Just send it. And send it once a week.
Follow up: Here is a seldom used secret of direct mail that will at least double the response of your mailing. Call them. People are very busy. Many times they will receive an offer that is irresistible. They are about to take the desired action and BANG! Something sidetracks them. The sales momentum is gone. Your offer is forgotten.
Contact the recipient. Jar their memory and convert more sales out of your mailing. This step alone will put you head and shoulders above your competition that doesn't follow up
Joint Ventures: One of the fastest ways to build a client list is to use someone else's. Every industry and profession has natural referral partners. These are companies that serve the exact same clients you do with non-competing products and services.
Create an exclusive special offer for their clients. Then have them mail this special offer to their list of clients. Now you may be wondering, "Why on earth would anyone do this for you?" They will do it because it will help them stay in touch with their clients. It will create goodwill for them by giving them such a great offer. You made it simple and easy to do. And you reciprocated and mailed a special promotion to your own client list, promoting their business.
In a nutshell a good JV or joint venture consists of the following.
1. A letter of introduction or endorsement printed on the JV partner's letterhead, and signed by the JV partner (And yes, you should offer to replace the letterhead that is used).
2. A sales letter from yourself, promoting the exclusive special offer, which you and your JV partner created just for them.
3. A coupon summarizing the offer, as a secondary response mechanism.
4. Your business card and brochure.
5. Mail all the above in the JV partners envelopes (and yes, you will need to replace the envelopes as well).
Later in this article I will share with you how to simply and easily find your JV partners.
JV Thank-you Gifts: Remember the coupon that was to be enclosed in the mailing? Give your JV Partner these same coupons to give away to their new clients. The ones that did not receive the mailing. Everyone loves a gift. It cements relationships. Everyone loves giving gifts. Most of all everyone loves giving away valuable FREE gifts.
Prior Clients: Contact 15 prior clients every day. Let them know you are still alive. Advise them when you call that you are making a courtesy follow up call. Make sure they are happy with their last purchase. Ask them if there is any way you can be of service. In some cases, you may generate new business with your clients. More often than naught, you will find your referral rate soaring after making these calls.
Cold Call: Very few people enjoy cold calling. I am one of them. But if I had a choice of cold calling or starving, I'll cold call. Contact 30 cold prospects every day, in the market area you want to work in.
Market To Your Client's Neighbor's: You just finished your service or delivered your product. Tell your client's neighbors. Birds of a feather tend to flock together. Chances are good your client's neighbor would be a qualified prospect for you as well.
Reward Referrals: Offer a cash reward or store/business credit to anyone that gives you a referral now. Appeal to people's greed and pay them for their referrals. If you currently use a referral reward program, increase the value of the reward.
Referral Clubs: A great networking opportunity. The biggest organization that I know of is BNI. In a nutshell a referral club is a group of business owners, like yourself who are constantly on the lookout to help their clients with preferred service providers. The key secret here is to give more referrals than you receive. This is where you should start looking for JV Partners.
Service clubs: Join a service club or your local chamber of commerce. Attend the meetings, do the service and volunteer work. This is another great networking opportunity and JV Partner source
Shameless Bribe: Offer a strong incentive to use your services now. It will be too late when you get past your slow season. A discount, a contest, whatever, be creative.
Your Own Ideas: I am sure you came up with a few of your own ideas to increase business. Implement them
Now here is the biggest key. Don't do one at a time. Don't just do the ones you like and ignore the rest. Do them all right now. Not tomorrow, not next week, NOW! This is the success law of taking massive action. It doesn't matter which success guru you subscribe to, they all tell you to take action. Massive action yields massive results. Taking action, even if it happens to be the wrong action, will produce results simply because you created momentum. So take action. Don't think about it, DO IT NOW!
© 2007 Paul Douglas. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Paul Douglas is a retired carpet cleaner living with his wife and three dogs in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. His focus now is mentoring new business owners in the area of sales and marketing. Feel free to visit Paul's website at http://www.canada-printing.com
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