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Wednesday May 18, 2016 comments

5 Ways to Increase Your Business Profits

1. Use Marketing Wisely to attract new leads

Customers are hungry for information. They will do research themselves before they reach out to you to see if you are the right solution.  If you can provide them with valuable information, earning their trust, you win the customers' attention, and ultimately their orders.  Do it by offering information-packed downloadable special reports, white papers or checklists for free. You don't have to write a book, but make sure it is informative and promoted with an attention-getting headline. Promote it on your website and social media.  Make sure they have to fill out their email in order to gain access to the information first.  Most important, have a call to action to turn the lead into a paying customer.  And remember, fortune is in the follow up!

2. Use the leads you already have to get paying customers 

How many times have you gotten a lead and not followed up?  I think we are all guilty of that.  Or if you did, you only reached out to them once or twice.  Statistics show that it takes at least five touches to get someone to buy.  So here's the problem.  If you don't follow up, you have wasted marketing dollars you spent to get the lead.  Second, you've prevented ongoing communication with the prospect who could become a customer!  Maybe they have just started their search for their solution, or had to put it on hold to address a more pressing issue.  Ignoring them and not continuing to follow up may likely cause that sale to go to a competitor.

Let's solve this problem and increase your profits this year.  Formalize your lead follow-up procedure.  If you have a CRM system (customer relationship management), you can list the steps you'll use to stay in touch.  Having a CRM system is a great way to automate as much as possible so you will easily be able to a start the same process for every new lead that fits a certain criteria.  You should have steps for each lead with who they are, what stage in the sales process are they, give them a percentage to close, and how you will follow up with them.  Knowing where they are in the sales process will allow you to send appropriate information to them that will be valuable to them.  Develop an email newsletter that you can send out to all of your prospects who have asked for information about your services.  It also allows you to stay top-of-mind with them.  

3. Increase order size and/or frequency

This is usually a no-brainer for most companies.  Let's do the simple math.  If you have 100 customers who each spend $50 within one month, you take in $5,000. If you get those same 100 customers to spend $70 a month, you take in $7000 for the month - which translates to more profit for you without increasing your marketing budget. I made my fortune in the corporate world by up-selling and cross-selling.  So what does that mean?  Lets take a physical therapist for example.  You might encourage patients to buy the ice packs that are special to their therapy, or weights to continue their therapy at home.  If you've been in most chiropractic offices, they are usually selling nutritional supplements.  Having fliers on additional information on products, or great posters showing benefits of a supplement will allow you to sell additional services/products without the therapist or assistant having to "sell."  If you are selling on your website, make sure you add the function suggesting related products to the shopper.  Take a look at Amazon...they do this with every order you place.

4. Boost operational efficiency

Systems are so important to the efficiency of your business.  Change is usually a good thing and taking a look at how you run your business on a routine basis could uncover wasted costs!  

For instance, what do you actually accomplish at those weekly meetings you hold?  What if you cut them back to bi-monthly, freeing up your time and your staffs to do income-producing activities.  If information needs to get to your employees send it in an email or better yet, use a collaborative tool on a cloud-based document sharing system.

When was the last time you interviewed different vendors to see if you can get better prices or terms on the inventory or raw materials you buy? It's no different than looking at your home expenses, and seeing the best offer for cable or cell service.  Sometimes you can get a much better deal if you just ask.  Remember that cutting your costs without cutting quality gives your bottom line a nice boost!

How about your inventory system? Is it automated? Or is it manual, labor-intensive and prone to mistakes? While putting in inventory and order management software can be a fairly expensive project, if you do significant sales volume, the initial cost will be offset by the longer-term savings in employee time, and inventory accuracy.

What about all those reports your staff is creating, printing out, and handing to you?  These could be the same reports your admin later just files them away!  Do you really have to have them printed out?  This goes back to having a great collaborative tool that is cloud based where you can access these files, allow others to edit and revise so you are all looking at the same report with the latest revisions.  This type of system could save you ink/toner, paper, file cabinet space (and therefore floor space).  This could be a huge cost savings, impacting your bottom line.

I have my clients write down what they do every day, along with why they do it, the time it takes and the results of doing the task.  Eliminate any activity that isn't necessary.  To keep your employees in the loop, ask their opinion.  They will feel like a part of the team and their opinions matter to you and your business!

5. Talk to your employees and customers

The first impression a customer has of you or your business will determine if they will continue to do business with you.  Make sure you have a friendly voice who answers your phone or greets your customers.  If you have employees, they are your front line and connection to your customers and have a personal insight into what your customers want.  Ask them for their feedback!  They can help make suggestions for new products, product change or ways to streamline your operating processes.  

Ask your customers for their feedback and satisfaction on your company's products and services.  Surveys are always great to do periodically to get answers to these questions and more.  Their answers will help you see ways to continue to boost your business and your bottom line.


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