I have a peach tree in my backyard, and right now, the peaches are ready to be plucked. I have to get my 6-foot ladder, climb all the way to the top rung that you are allowed to stand on, lean against the side of the house that is clearly in my way of the peaches, reach way over the roof to the branches with the most peaches, and hope I don’t lose my balance and break my neck, all because I wanted a few peaches before the squirrels got them.
This year I picked a dozen or so peaches and brought them in. I managed to eat a few of them, and two days later, the rest were all spoiled.
I think some companies approach marketing just like I picked the peaches. We spend a lot of energy going after the fruit that is out of reach, and most of it spoils before we can get our act together. Then we wonder why marketing is so expensive, we don’t close the deals, and we are left with a big expense.
So that’s why I want to share some tips about how to go after the low-hanging fruit. You won’t even need a ladder for these revenue-builders.
1. Learn who sends you the most business and reach out to them.
Here’s a play-by-play of this first peach: Get a list of current customers. (If you only have 5 customers, do this anyway.) Make a column and note how you first got each customer right next to each customer’s name. Add up the sale for each referral source, and now you have identified your top power referrers. These people are sweet peaches for more revenue in your business. Thank them, gift them (if your profession allows it), let them know you love them, and do them a favor. Then ask them for more business and how you can make it even easier for them to send you clients. You are bound to get a couple more accounts this way.
2. Reach out to people who already trust you.
The biggest barrier today to get new business is getting over the trust hurdle that prospects have about wondering whether they should trust you. Eliminate that barrier by piggy-backing onto people they already trust that already trust you: for example, your clients already trust you, their friends trust them. Email your clients and ask them for referrals.
Most people are too afraid they are imposing on their clients. But in the end, most people like to do other people favors. So let your clients do you a favor, and ask them for referrals. They may not even know you want new business if you don’t let them know.
Converting these prospects to clients will be faster than converting strangers, and you are sure to pick up a few new clients by just sending a few emails and calling in some favors.
3. Make an irresistible offer.
People love discounts, so put together an offer that saves your current clients and prospects money while possibly introducing them to something new. You might offer 10% off one of your services for the month of August, or have a coupon people can cash in. I’m just about to have a close-out sale on some older inventory items that are not actively being marketed.
With the popularity of Groupon, people are primed to act when they see a deal. Give people a deadline so they can make a decision, and so you don’t get left in “maybe” land.
Offer a discount, and watch people come out of the woodwork to snatch it up.
4. Cross-sell current customers.
Could you serve your current customers better? Most of us could. With long-time clients, I find I sometimes get into a reactive rut, where I just do what clients tell me they need. However, that’s not really what most good clients hire us for. They hire us to be more proactive than that. They hire us to keep taking them to the next level. But most of us quit too early or get comfortable with our routines.
Once you’ve taken your client to your initial level of service, offer to take then to the next level. This gives you ample opportunities to continue to cross-sell and upsell your current clients, until every client has every service you offer or they have said no thank you.
Plug the holes you have with current clients who are not taking advantage of everything you have to offer, and watch your revenue per customer soar.
5. Offer current customers a new way to pay you.
A lot of people cannot afford to pay in full these days. If you’ve never offered payment plans before, it may be a way to expand your client base (and your revenues) to people who can afford to pay you in a series rather than a lump sum. If you’ve never taken credit cards, then it’s way past time to add this payment method for your customers. You might also want to consider payment via PayPal, or even bartering if you are just starting your business and trying to build your referrals.
Offer multiple ways to pay, and you’ll be introduced to several new clients this way.
Back at my peach tree, it would have been easier to leave the ladder alone, pick the low-hanging peaches, and enjoy them with very little effort.
Could the same be true in your business?