Sales

When "I don't know" is a Good Answer.

When "I don't know" is a Good Answer.

Had a chance to go to lunch with Tom Miller yesterday. Tom has been in the franchising industry for years and is an Executive Vice President with Murphy Business. In his own estimation, he is a "legend in his own mind." Actually, he has an extraordinary sales record and is considered The Authority on franchising throughout the business brokerage community.

As we talked about the selling process, specifically to small business owners, he noted that in the "early days" he sold direct mail. He learned quickly, that nobody wanted to hear about his business, but they loved to talk about their own. So when he'd meet with a likely prospect and they asked what he was selling, he would respond, "I don't know yet. Tell me about your business." As he learned about the business, it became obvious if there was need--and what he was selling.

So how much do you know about your customers' or your potential customers' businesses? Is learning about them part of your sales process or are you more focused on making sure they learn about you? Are you learning enough? According to Tom here is a key indicator: "If you need a closing technique you haven't learned enough."

Unhappy customers tell on average 22 other people. If you ticket price is $50 that is $1100 in revenue. How would you like to know before they tell 22 others? Learn more

Bringing the Diners Back

Bringing the Diners Back

Restaurant Hospitality recently listed some of the tactics that big casual dining chains are employing to try to lure diners back to their restaurants after suffering a poor 3rd quarter showing. Consensus seems to be that same store sales have slowed down due to economic conditions, an increase in the number of casual dining restaurants and a shift of consumers to a relatively new category of food service called fast casual. Fast casual is quicker than full sit down service and higher quality than basic fast food. Big chain solutions?

Reduce Prices--Applebee's has got a dinner combo including dessert for $9.99, TGI Friday's has got appetizers discounted up to 50%, Cheesecake factory has reduced portion and prices significantly on lunches, and Outback has reduced steaks by $1.

New Menu Items--Applebee's is going to try out star power by teaming with Tyler Florence from Food Network, 23 new items on TGI Friday's menu, and Cheesecake factory has 16 new items on the menu.

Seems like nothing more than the obvious to me. Any time sales go the wrong direction the knee-jerk reaction is to reduce prices and add features. Eventually that strategy is not going work. Great news for those of us that aren't big chains, but it is going to take some effort. The Restaurant Hospitality article notes:


you may have to fight to keep the business you've got, but it's still there to be gotten.

So how do you fight? Here are a few thoughts:

  1. Get in touch with your customers. Walking around asking them how their meal was is great, but what happens when they walk out the door? Do you have a way to stay in touch with them? Start gathering email addresses and stay in touch regularly with your loyal clientele.
  2. Ask your customers for feedback. Hopefully you didn't wait till sales dropped to realize that your customers want a high quality food faster. Is there someway you can meet that need for them? What else do your customers want? You should be closer to your customers than the big guys and able to move faster.
  3. Get your word-of-mouth on! The best way to "fight" for more business is to develop a force of loyal customers that are actively telling their friends and associates what a great restaurant you run. Don't leave it to chance, get a program in place that makes it easy for your customers to spread the word.

Word of mouth fills seats, now is the time to get started.

The Happiest customers tell on average 8 other people. Who are your happiest customers? Promoterz knows. Learn more

Service or Tool for Small Business?

Service or Tool for Small Business?

One of the adages that Steve Covey popularized in his 7 Habits was "give a man a fish and feed him for a day, teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime." The statement is obviously true and applicable in many of life's situations, but frankly there are instances when people either don't have the time or the desire to learn how to fish. I'm not talking about the welfare crowd (though that may be a problem). What I'm talking about is small business owners and what it takes to successfully sell to them.

Here is my experience: We developed Promoterz as an inexpensive, do-it-yourself system that any small business could use to collect customer feedback, generate referrals and stay in touch with their customers. In a nutshell, we help them make sure their customers are happy and get them talking to their friends. The system has been tested in multiple industries and it works. Those that use it, receive measurable benefit.

So far, so good. We've got a tool that the majority of small businesses could use to speed their growth. As we've met with business owners in person or attracted them to our website, it has become clear that most of them don't want to be taught how to use the tool. They don't have time. They would much prefer to pay for a service. In order to put fish on their table they have a list of about 100 other things they need to be learning and doing. One customer noted that when she wants an ad in the newspaper she just pays the paper and doesn't have to know how to use the press. Ouch!

As we tweak the pricing model to cover the additional service, some small businesses may balk, but I am now convinced that there are more small businesses looking for a fillet on the platter (complete with a wedge of lemon) than those interested in buying a fishing pole--even if it comes with a fly tying kit.

Food's on! Step right up!

Do you remember your customers on their birthday? On their anniversary? Do you give special notice to recently acquired customers? Promoterz does. Learn more

Carnival of Marketing August 13, 2006

Carnival of Marketing August 13, 2006

Welcome to the August 13, 2006 edition of the Carnival of Marketing. Summer is winding to a close, kids are heading back to school, and it's time to take down the big top and move this carnival elsewhere. For our last carnival hosting this summer, Seeds of Growth is please to present the following "big ring" attractions.

Daniel Scocco discusses the evolution of advertising and what will make the next great advancement to aid both consumers and retailers in Intelligent, Interactive and Converged Advertising posted at Innovation Zen.

Wow! Lot's of neuroscience info from NeuroGuy who presents Why Negative Ads Work: Framing, Emotions, and Irrational Decisions posted at Neuromarketing, saying, "Brain-scan proof that emotions affect everyone's buying decisions."

With a nice comparison Kevin Hillstrom presents Branding verses Selling: Gap vs. Zappos posted at Kevin Hillstrom.

Mr. Spock would be good at business due to his purely logical decision making. Well, David Maister doesn't talk about Spock, but he does present How We Really Make Decisions posted at Passion, People and Principles.

Imani Peterson does a product review in Professional Logo Designing Made Easy posted at AmericanInventorSpot.com.

Writing to real estate agents, Jim Cronin presents Your Company Provided Website Is A Waste posted at The Real Estate Tomato.

Some companies need to grow, some just need to grow up. Benjamin Yoskovitz presents Companies That Act Like 2-Year Olds Need to Grow Up posted at I Got News For You.

I have been a PalmOS fan so this discussion of a public relations stunt by a Palm OS developer was interesting. Tam Hanna presents Dmitry Grinberg evaluating PocketPC? so what? posted at TamsPalm-the Palm OS Blog.

Thinking that marketing materials, including blogs, should be readable, cehwiedel presents Readability as an Online Marketing Tool posted at Kicking Over My Traces.

That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of Carnival of Marketing using our carnival submission form.
Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

Technorati tags:

, .

More happy customers. More repeat sales. More referrals. Learn more

The Power of the Talking Bubble

The Power of the Talking Bubble

Remember the talking bubble from the cartoons? It occurs to me that there is a lot of power in that bubble. In fact, the whole intent of word-of-mouth efforts is to get your business in your customer's bubble.

How much money do we as business owners spend getting our ads up in lights, in a magazine, on TV, or online? Fact is, consumers are more jaded than ever and better at ignoring all that expensive advertising.

The real power is not up on the billboards or on the airwaves. The real power is in the bubble.

When you pass out a Promoterz bounce back card you automatically build an accurate customer list, increase repeat sales, increase referrals and prevent lost business. Pretty powerful little card. Learn more
Syndicate content

Seeds from the blogworld
We search the business blog world looking for posts that illustrate principles, or "Seeds", that if followed, or "planted", will help small businesses grow. We list them here for your convenience. Enjoy.

Blogroll