Getting New Business Fast
By Marcia Yudkin
Recently two business owners came to me
in dire straits. The
first, who owned a dental billing company, had suffered
sabotage by a disgruntled employee. Clients deserted in
droves when told, falsely, that he was being investigated
for fraud. The second, who owned a computer training firm,
had neglected to market for a year and had just discovered
the delayed effect of his omission. Both appealed to me:
Help! We need more business fast!
Even in such circumstances, an existing business has assets
that can be exploited to drum up sales and cash flow
quickly. Use your intuition about whether to divulge your
real situation to friends who might be moved to help or put
a bright face on your situation by, for instance, saying
you're expanding. Either way, consider these possibilities
if a comparable disaster befalls you:
Leverage your loyal clients through testimonials and
referrals. The billing company's most steadfast client, a
periodontist, provided a glowing testimonial that the owner
used to approach other periodontists. Similarly, the
training firm told their lingering clients that they were
running special summer classes and offering big discounts
for every participant from another company that they
persuaded to sign up.
Send direct mail to clones of your best clients. Construct
a profile of the kind of customer who had been most drawn to
you in the past, and engage a mailing-list broker to furnish
names and addresses of individuals or companies matching the
profile. For the training company, that meant law firms and
accounting firms with more than 20 partners.
Offer a trendy new service. What unmet needs of existing
clients could you satisfy? Invent new services or shift
sideways to parallel services you might not otherwise bother
with. The billing company, which normally concentrated on
insurance reimbursements, now said it would also collect
overdue balances from individuals who had promised to pay
out of pocket.
Telemarket to new prospects with an irresistible offer.
Bend over backwards to prove yourself to people who have
never done business with you. Your offer needs high appeal,
a low introductory price, and a guarantee that removes all
or most of their risk in trying you. For the billing
company, the inducement was the first quarter of service for
half price, and no charge at all if at the end of 30 days
the new client wasn't 100 percent convinced that the change
simplified their office routines.
Sell your white elephants. Do you have inventory
collecting dust in a storeroom -- or property that you could
quickly convert into salable items? The training firm had
proprietary manuals for each of its courses that it could
sell as add-ons for its other classes or consulting. It
could also license them to other training firms that hadn't
gotten around to creating their own products. Indeed, even
if you're doing fine, you might have wares you haven't
bothered to sell in a while. Through online auctioneer eBay
and its competitors, you might be able to turn your white
elephants into cash -- fast.
Marcia Yudkin creates cost-effective,
creative marketing plans for clients all over the world.
You can learn more about her reputation-enhancing marketing
plan service at http://www.yudkin.com/marketingplan.htm and
view excerpts from a sample plan at http://www.yudkin.com/sampleplan.htm
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