What’s the difference between the businesses that thrive and those that just seem to survive? The key to any successful business is a strong sales and marketing plan to bring a continuous stream of new clients and maximizing the value of existing customers. One way this can be done is through understanding principles of a term called Lifecycle Marketing for small businesses.
In “lifecycle marketing” there are 7 stages to creating this cycle for new prospects and client loyalty with existing customers. These seven steps are at the core of every successful business, without them there are holes within the business structure and you are not capitalizing on every dollar available. Essentially you are leaving money on the table and walking away.
Stage 1: Attract Interest
What are you doing to attract people to your business? Whether it is online or offline your business should have some sort of presence in the market. If you really want to succeed in attracting your audience you need to make sure you are capitalizing on the following things:
-Correct target audience
-High quality and relevant content relating to your target audience
-A modern and current website
-Website analytics to keep track of your online presence
The most important thing to ask is “How am I getting my target audience to my website or storefront to engage with my business.”
Stage 2: Capture Leads
After creating traffic to your business the next step is to capture leads. It’s important to retain contact information from customers visiting your website or store. It is important to build a relationship with everyone and treat each client as someone special and different. Some of the best ways to capture leads is with online web forms, QR codes, events, networking activities, walk-ins, referrals, and call ins. This information can be something as simple as a name and email, doesn’t need to be a full biography—the more you ask for the less likely people will fill anything out.
Stage 3: Nurture Prospects
With the leads you collect, what do you do with them? Most businesses will contact them a couple times, but trash the prospects that never respond. About 81% of sales happen after a business makes contact seven or more times! Never trash a client; even if you have never heard from them, you never know when they may need a service or a product you provide. Don’t give them a reason to forget about you.
Stage 4: Convert Sales
Most would think that this step would be the most time intensive, but in reality it should be the stage requiring the least amount of time. If you are putting time and resources into attracting traffic, capturing and nurturing leads, converting sales should be easier. Determining the need, building trust and rapport, and presenting a solution to your customers is key to converting sales. One of the easiest ways to convert more sales is through the nurturing of your client base with knowledge and a better education of your product until they are ready to buy. The more a client knows about your business the more they are likely to buy from you. Proper target marketing will always help increase sales, the more you know about your market the more effective you will be at meeting their needs.
Stage 5: Deliver and Satisfy
Many companies focus so much on the customer buying the product, they don’t put a lot of effort in delivery or satisfaction after the product is purchased. An attitude such as this will harm the business and eliminate many possibilities from repurchasing or referrals. Identify your WOW factor that will set you apart from the competitors. What is that extra touch you include with your product or services that will help the customer remember what a pleasure it was to do business with you? Whether it is picking up the phone and calling to make sure they are 100% satisfied or faster delivery, it’s the little things that make a difference. Always remember that if your current clients are not completely satisfied, the chances of them doing business with somebody else greatly increases.
Stage 6: Up Sell Customers
This step focuses on selling more products or service to your customers. For example, when you walk into a clothing store looking to buy a simple dress, you end up buying all the accessories to go with it. These sales people are doing their job, they have an eye for things to go with the product you need and add more then you originally intended. Are you getting the maximum dollars added to each of your customers? Think of all the things you can sell by simply asking your customer. Up sell every time and you will maximize on all of your profit.
Stage 7: Get Referrals
The last and final step is the most important in any business. Looking at your business are you getting the amount of referrals as you would like? One of the easiest ways to generate more sales is through a consistent flow of referrals to your business. The best way to generate this flow is by simply asking for them—but asking in a way that doesn’t seem forced or awkward by either the customer or employee.
Follow these steps and your business will grow and be more successful then you can ever imagine. Capitalize all your potential and leave nothing on the table. Attract traffic, capture leads, nurture prospects, convert sales, deliver and satisfy, up sell customers and lastly get referrals.
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