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

Part nine

As this is the second last article in our series of 10, I would like to talk to you this week about two different ideas which will help you get more customers. Both are very effective, inexpensive, and easy to put in to practice.

The first idea I would like to talk about is business signage.

This form of advertising is seldom properly taken advantage of. If you are in a poor location a good business sign can go a long way towards minimizing this drawback.

People are now far more transient and business signs are a great way to attract the potential customer who is simply passing or is new to the community. They focus the customers’ attention and help imprint your business name and location into their memory.

Business signs are also great for displaying occasional bargains or special offers as an inducement to potential customers.

They also help segment your market. By that I mean you may want to target young people one week for a special promotion and maybe pensioners for a special discount the following week. Business signs are a very inexpensive way to do this.

Before you decide on a sign you need to determine what image you want your business to portray. If you’re in a bargain cut price business you may need simple signs with no frills attached.

However if you operate an expensive jewellery business or boutique you may need something more elegant and expensive. You can have your signs illuminated or maybe use reflective paint to increase your visibility into the night.

Do not put too much writing on your sign. Instead focus on one or two key points. Keep it simple. I saw a sign outside a pub/restaurant the other day which read, “Good food served all day”. The ad was simple and directly to the point.

You must not however and I can not stress this enough make the mistake of substituting your signs for your traditional advertising in papers such as the Advertiser. Your customers expect to see your adds in the paper.

You should instead see your new signs as an added bonus to your business, a fresh drive to gain more of the market. It is an opportunity not to be wasted and an invitation to your customers old and new.

The other concept I would like to talk to you about is The Boomerang Principle.

This is an idea borrowed from Senator Fergal Quinn of Superquinn, who knows a thing or two about how to attract customers.

He believes firmly you should concentrate on repeat business and the profit will largely look after itself. You should avoid the temptation to maximise the profit from your current sales at the expense of long term customer goodwill.

“Think of your main task as being to bring the customer back” - Growing the Customer, Fergal Quinn.

If you know what percentage of your custom is repeat business then you have a barometer by which you can measure your success.

Most businesses very wrongly try to maximize the profit from the first sale at the expense of a long term relationship with the customer. They tend to see it as the main payoff and additional sales which they pile on to the customer as a bonus.

Senator Quinn argues that the main focus should not be on the present sale but rather on the long term relationship with the customer.

If you have been listening to your customers you will know why they choose to do business with you over anybody else and as your relationship with them develops you will be in a better position to meet their changing needs.

Senator Quinn built a highly successful business based on the principle of getting the customer to come back again and again.

Put these two ideas into action now and your business will grow.

For more information log on to www.eamonward.vpweb.ie or call Eamon on (090 ) 6454491.

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