An oh-so-popular cry for help within women's business Facebook Groups is the "Help, I need to find customers fast!" post. I see them all the time. Sometimes the advice is good, sometimes the advice is bad... very bad....
So you need more customers right? Or do you...
When I first meet one on one clients I can almost bet my favourite handbag on the fact that they will state "I need more customers" as one of their top 3 priorities. When I ask why they feel like they need more customers the response is always "because I need to make more money".
Do more customers really equate to more money? Not necessarily!
Often the money business owners are looking for is already sitting in their business. They just can't see it. So where do you find it?
Reduce unnecessary spending like subscriptions, magic pill programs, software you never figured out how to use, tools that are suppose to make your business work better, but really just confuse things etc. One place not to reduce spending is on marketing, often the first thing to be slashed when money gets tight. Don't do that.
GET YOUR PRICING RIGHT
This might mean a price increase, but sometimes it is just a simple change to the way pricing is presented. Often simplifying the decision for customers by offering a package price or showing them only the options that suit their needs can increase sales.
COLLECT YOUR CASHOLA!
Lots of money can be hidden in invoices that haven't been paid. Just because you're in business doesn't mean you have to provide 30 day accounts to clients. It is your choice. If you are horrible at asking for invoices to be paid it is best you find another way, otherwise you're essentially working for free.
MOVE YOUR DEAD STOCK
It is tieing up your money (cash flow). What is dead stock? Stuff that doesn't sell well. Business owners hold on to it hoping it will magically come back in style, like cinch belts and perms... If your stock isn't moving you need to get rid of it. If you can move it at cost price you're doing well. If you have to sell at below cost, so be it.
KNOW YOUR FIGURES
Know what your daily sales are and how much you're spending everyday. That is the MOST important task you have. More important than checking email, more important than posting on Facebook, more important than everything else in your business. I can't tell you how many women have told me their businesses suck and make no money, a little investigating uncovers that to be completely false.
Head-in-the sand approaches to money are not going to serve you well in business.
SELL MORE GOODIES TO PEOPLE WHO
ALREADY LIKE YOU!
I.E the customers you already have. They bought from you once, so why wouldn't they want to buy from you again? I had a struggling client a few years ago who had never re-sold to their customers. We put together a re-marketing newsletter to everyone who had previously purchased (approximately 3000 people) and it brought in a cool $16k in sales. Now they market consistently to old customers who make up 70% of their sales.
Increase the number of goodies your customers purchase in one transaction to increase the sale amount. I need you to stick with me here... you should know your average sale. To figure it out total up your sales for the month and divide by the number of orders. Let me give you an example;
If you sell essential oil online take your total sales for a month (let's say $1,000) and divide by the number of customers who purchased (let's say you sent out 37 orders last month). So $1000/37 is $27.02. If you could increase this to $40 on average per sale you would make $1480 in sales without needing to find more customers. How cool is that!
MAKE IT EASY TO PURCHASE
Nothing will turn a customer off like a complicated or confusing process to purchase your goodies. No one wants to have to work hard to spend their coin. Navigating endless webpages to find contact details (oh so much more common than you may think), clunky shopping carts, unanswered emails and phone calls not returned don't make for happy customers.
"Shut up and take my money" is what you hope customers will be shouting at you. The shear joy and excitement of finding your lovely goodies has people shoving wads of cash your way... until you make it difficult to pay. If you're asking people to make direct deposits into your bank account for a small one off purchase you're making it too difficult, if you have an online store with an "enquire now to purchase" button you're making it too difficult. Take advantage of the fancy technology we have available and enjoy the spoils of the good old impulse purchase!
Ok... so let's say you have done all of the above and you know you need more customers, read on..
Actively "do something" to attract people's attention to your business. Just becuase you spent $5K on a fancy website and set up an Instagram account doesn't mean people will come find you. You need to market to them.
- Spend some money once in awhile, that is actually part of running a business. Free marketing is great if it works, often it doesn't. Invest some dollars (it doesn't need to be a lot) and see what happens. If it doesn't work make adjustments until it does.
- Make sure you're attracting the right people to your business, the easiest way to do this is write a short bio about your ideal customer. Write about them in as much detail as you would write about your best friend if you were explaining them to someone who had never met them. By doing this you will start to form a visual of who you're trying to attract, what problems they face and how you can help solve it.
- Stop selling to yourself, you are not your customer and your customer is not you. When we first start out in business (me included) we build lovely websites and create awesome products then hope and pray people will buy. A lot of the decisions we make are based on us, not on our customers. It is all about what we like. I don't like pink in branding at all. My favourite colour is blue so I branded everything in blues. My target market view the use of pink as being a product for women (which all my products and services are). You see there problem there? Now it has pink too! Should every brand for women be pink? No, of course not. The point is you are not your customer.
- Figure out how many leads become customers anytime someone enquiries about your product or service you have a "lead". A lead can then be converted into a sale. Anyone who opts into my mailing list is considered a lead for my business. I know that out of every 100 people who opt in 4% will purchase one of my online programs within the first 10 days. I know of every 10 people who enquire about one on one coaching, 7 will buy. I can predict how many people I need to reach a certain income. So can you! You need to know your lead number so you can work on turning every single potential customer into a sale.
*if your customers find you or purchase via your website you absolutely need to be tracking your website hits via Google Analytics
- Capture and follow up people who don't purchase the first time they see your offer. When I say "capture" I don't mean to hold them hostage until they give in and hand over their credit card. I mean get an email address at the very least. If you have a website that people visit to check out your product a simple "get free shipping on your first order" will be enough to encourage a percentage of visitors to hand over their email address. If you have a "submit an enquiry" form on your website that people use often then make sure you're adding those details to a mailing list or follow up list.
- Offer your product again and again and again and again.... to people who didn't purchase the first time. See why capturing contact details are so important? By doing nothing more than sending out a few templated and automated emails (no additional work for me) I can increase my sales super fast. Most customers won't purchase the first time; maybe they got distracted, maybe they didn't have the spare cash this week, maybe they didn't need your goodies just yet. That doesn't mean they won't purchase in the future.