When business is good, it is easy to get caught up in daily “busy work,” tackling what is directly in front of you rather than creating a strategy for growth. If you hold the visionary role in your company, it is your responsibility to make every year your best year ever, despite economic issues, currency fluctuations, and countless other factors that threaten your business. In assessing where you are headed, I would ask a few simple questions:
1) How much market share do you currently have in your territory and would you like to have more?
2) How often do you sell upgrades or additional products to your existing customer base?
Germinate new opportunities by getting your name out there.
If you are satisfied with the answers that you provided to each of these questions, then you are likely on the right track. If not, let’s explore some ways to improve in these two important areas and maybe a couple others.
How to grow can be a real head scratcher, and a painful process to consider. Many businesses simply avoid tackling this topic and just hope and pray for the best. This may work for a little while, but will eventually lead to failure. Alternatively, I have a plan that worked successfully for years and one that I still use today. To remember it, I use the acronym GROW.
G: Germinate New Opportunities.
Explore ways that you can expand your business. For example, where are new homes being built in your area? Have you driven around to seek out these opportunities? Stop by and introduce yourself to the builder. Create a simple flyer to put in mailboxes. I recently spoke with a dealer that turned a cold call at a new construction site into a five-year, $5,000,000 business engagement–one customer with multiple homes around the world.
Get your name out there. Do you have some thoughts on technology that may be interesting to members of the community? Contact your local paper and ask if you can contribute some occasional articles on technology.
R: Retain Your Existing Customers
Statistics state that it can cost seven times more to acquire new customers than to retain an existing one. Many companies fail miserably at Customer Acquisition and Retention (CAR). To remain fresh and important to your customers, first you must provide the best possible customer service experience to your customers. Look at some of the companies that are rocking now: Apple, Amazon, Starbucks. If you want to succeed long-term in this era, you absolutely must get the customer service thing right.
Also, you need to stay in contact with your customers. Create an e-mail blast campaign with MailChimp, Constant Contact, or a similar solution. They are very easy to set up and to use, and are often free or very cheap. Make the content simple, short, and interesting to your customers. Try a five- to seven-bullet email newsletter, once a month or every quarter with some information on the latest technology and maybe a call to action with a limited-time, special offer.
Make sure you check in with your customers on occasion to see how everything is working. I would reserve the first Wednesday of every month to contact every customer we completed a project for, during the previous month.
Encourage your customers to follow you on social media and make your posts fun and interesting for them to receive.
O: Opportunities Exist Outside of Your Customer Base;
Go Find Them!
Develop a customer acquisition plan. Consider some of the following options:
Create a spiff plan for some of your customers. Give them a gift certificate to a great restaurant, an iTunes gift card, or a coupon to your store for referrals. How do they remember you? In the past, I gave out a custom-made popcorn bowl with my company name on it, loaded with movie candy and popcorn to every customer. The net cost for this gift was roughly $40, which is pretty cheap advertising.
W: Widen Your Business with Existing Customers
Have you fully embraced enterprise-grade networking solutions and added them as a key product category in your business, and an essential element in your proposals? Have you considered adding device monitoring and supervision or service contracts to your proposals? This is one of the hottest categories in CE now, and many dealers are having great success and higher customer satisfaction by making this a standard part of their business.
Don’t forget the great outdoors. Many families spend a large amount of their time outdoors. The audio and video entertainment outdoors can often be over looked or served by less adequate systems than the consumer may desire, given the family time invested in the area.