There is so much discussion around bailing the Big Three automakers out and different ideas on how to fix it, it got me thinking; how can their loss be a small business owner’s gain? Simply put, can you learn from their mistakes and improve the way your own company runs, but without risking the billions they have? Of course you can!
Today, I’m going to share a lesson with you on how to catch more fish so you don’t need a bailout of your own.
Lesson One: Use the Right Bait
When trying to attract customers, it is of foremost importance to entice them in a way that not only makes them feel wise for their purchasing decision, but does not offend their sensibilities. Cater to your customer’s intellect and taste and give them assurances that their choice of your product or service is the best value for their dollar.
Lesson Two: Fish Where the Fish Are
Seems simple enough, but you have to know where your customers are, where they spend their down time, and where they engage and seek information. If you look for them and interact in a meaningful way, building a relationship with them, they’ll get comfortable with you and begin to look to you as a trusted partner. Let’s face it, we want to do business with people we like, so that means meeting your customers where they are and offering a friendly face and a thrilled-to-help attitude.
Lesson Three: Use the Right Hook
Whatever you’re selling, it is critical that your audience wants what you have to offer. Do your homework and find out what is hot to them, coveted and talked about by your customers! Take a pulse of your customers and ask questions! If they want convenience, you better be offering a product that screams “EASY!” If they want affordable, be ready with that, too. One way to do this is offer different levels of service, packages, or product selections. By giving your customer choices and different price points of the things they want, they feel more in control and more likely to purchase something. And they can always upgrade later, right? The point is to get them what they need and what they can comfortably afford.
Lesson Four: Watch Your Line
If your customer shows interest, but you’re either oblivious to their needs or worse, not tending to them properly, they will most likely get away. There are plenty of other companies out there that want your customer and also have what they need; thinking you have the only fishing hole on the lake is like thinking there is only one place to purchase a car.
Lesson Five: It’s Your Boat, Keep It Afloat
Possibly the most important thing to remember is this: It’s your business and only you will keep it operational and profitable. There are no lobbyists on Capital Hill poised to hand you the money you need or step in and run your business for you. Do your business within your means, run as lean as you can in this tough economy, and take exceptional care of your customers. Also, and this is vitally important, reinvest in your business and always be on the lookout for the next terrific thing you can offer your customer. Stay relevant and bring them the latest things they can truly use, and you will stay top of mind.
Think there are other lessons we can learn that I haven’t covered? Please share them and your comments or you can tweet me @BizCoachDeb