How to gain reliable customers in 30 days

Bookkeeper Eamon Ward gives helpful suggestions on how small to medium businesses can gain valuable customers in a month.

This is the second article in a series of 10 designed to get small to medium sized businesses more customers. The idea came to me because my bookkeeping clients kept saying, “Eamon do you know any way I can get more business?” Some people say to me “ This recession is killing me, so many of my customers have just disappeared. I need to get more customers and quickly at that.”

Last week we spoke of risk reversal. Simply put, the idea is to initially take the weight of the risk in the transaction on to your shoulders rather than those of your customer. An abundance of TRUST is built up immediately.

This week we will talk of Ethical Bribes.

Give your potential customer an added inducement to purchase your product by packaging it with a special offer, something with an element of excitement and one which has a high perceived value. Those last three words are the key: high perceived value.

This can best be explained by a practical example. Say you operate a boutique or any clothes shop. Why not arrange with the local photographer so anyone who purchases say €300 of clothes from your store gets a family portrait taken for free.

Publicise this in the local paper, in your shop window, get youngsters to distribute leaflets in the locality, etc.

Explain to the photographer that the rent for the premises and equipment is a fixed cost regardless of whether the studio is empty or full of customers. Employees will have to be paid even if they are just sitting around. The photographer will be only too painfully aware of all this.

Come to an arrangement whereby you buy up slots during the quiet time obviously at a much reduced rate.

He gets some of his costs offset by you and he gets potential new customers he would never have had were it not for you.

He can then offer his own inducements to get those potential customers and their friends to visit his studio again.

Remind him that your customers also make purchases for special occasions such as weddings, Communions, Confirmations, and birthdays. On those special occasions some will require the services of a photographer. The opportunities for future business will be there in abundance.

There are other businesses you could make this arrangement with such as restaurants or perhaps the local gym. Studies have shown that during a downturn in the economy people become much more health conscious.

Membership of a gym has a very high perceived value, yet probably in most gyms there are times during the day when the machines are lying completely idle. Could you arrange to buy some time there, again at reduced rates and then give your customers say a three or six month membership? Some of those people will become long term members of the gym and the owner will enjoy a lifetime income which you have created.

If you sell safes and locks could you team up with maybe a security fencing company?

Think, what can I add to my product or service that will make it more appealing and reduce resistance to the point where people are more compelled to buy from me than not?

Even if you feel you cannot use this idea in your business at the moment you can still benefit by sharing it with customers and other business owners.

Better still cut out these articles from the Advertiser, and pass them on. You are building up goodwill towards your own business. The favour will come back.

Believe me you will be remembered when the opportunity arises. If somebody helped you make money would you forget them?

For more information log on to www.eamon ward.vpweb.ie.

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