The top 5 ways to increase your business' profitability
Written on the 16 May 2011 by Altitude Communications
Discover how you can increase the amount of profit your business makes without it costing you a fortune!
The first things that automatically come to mind when thinking up ways to increase your business' profitability are the most obvious – increase advertising, increase prices, increase range of products/services and reduce overheads. However, there are much simpler and less costly ways you can increase the profitability of your business.
1. Always look for ways you can help your customers
This doesn’t have to be by increasing your range of products/services, but if you receive a lot of feedback or enquiry from customers along a consistent vein, you may wish to look into the costs of adding that service/product to meet their additional needs. Can you perhaps alter or add to your existing services, at minimal cost to your business? If not, you may wish to develop an arrangement with another business, not directly in competition with you, where you refer your customers for their additional requirements. Your customers will appreciate the fact that you actually care about assisting them, even if it doesn’t make you money.
2. Show your customers how your products/services benefit them
The reason why your customers want to part with their money is because you offer something that will add enjoyment to their life, or make their day just that little bit easier. It may be something they need or something they want. However, you need to remember to make it clear to them exactly why they need your products/services. Features are the physical characteristics of your product/service while benefits are what your customers will enjoy and exactly how the product will add value to their life after purchasing it. For example, you can talk about “surround sound” as part of a home entertainment system, but the benefit to the customer is that they will feel like they are in a cinema while watching their favourite TV show or DVD. Don’t leave it up to the prospect to try and figure out what it means to him if he opens his wallet and makes a purchase. Just tell him. Or even better... show him.
3. Become a trusted advisor to your customers in your area of expertise
The most ideal position you can place yourself in with your customer is that of a trusted advisor/expert. In this enviable position, your customer is more likely to take the action you recommend, including purchasing the particular product or service that you have available. However, this is not a position that is automatically granted, and if you do earn it, it is not one you should take lightly or exploit. You should:
Always ensure you are honest with your customer,
Don’t always just look to make a profit,
Give them accurate information to the best of your knowledge and endeavor to find out what you don’t know.
Provide them with useful information they can rely on.
By the way, a great way to do this is by setting up a database marketing capability, such as Altitude Communications’ Fasttrack eMarketing system, so that you can regularly communicate with your customers - give them information such as articles, helpful advice, promotional offers and giveaways, and generally build a long-term relationship with them.
4. Constantly monitor your customers’ satisfaction
Don’t just assume your customers are happy with the service you provide. Ask them – you may find out some very interesting things about your business from their perspective. The best way to do this is by creating a simple, quick survey, containing questions about how they feel about your customer service and then ask them to fill it out and return it. Another option is to create an online survey - to make the completion and compilation of your customer's answers quickly. Provide an incentive for them to do this, such as going into a draw to win a prize. When you have all the completed surveys, don’t forget to tally the results, and then work on areas you can improve.
5. Develop a system for each activity you must undertake in your business
While there are some businesses that survive, and even make a profit, despite themselves, the best guarantee for your success is by identifying and working to a system for every activity in every area of your business. In fact, this is why franchise groups around the world in every industry are so successful – effectively they sell a successful system. If you are organized, you are less likely to waste time in sorting through the chaos, and the service your customers receive will be of a consistently high standard. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel. Go with systems that have worked for you in the past, or ask around and do some research. Then be committed and follow it through, not just occasionally, or most of the time, but absolutely every single time.
6. Remember you would not be in business if it were not for your customers
Your customers indeed do come first, so you really need to make every interaction with them special to ensure they come back. Share this philosophy with your team. Then find ways where you can give just that little bit extra to make their experience a great one. For example, send hand written birthday cards and thank you notes to your customers. Finally, how you deal with customer complaints is crucial. Sometimes it’s better for repeat business to take the loss and compensate the customer.
Copyright Altitude Communications 2011. All Rights Reserved. This article may not be used without the prior written consent from the author. See below for more details...
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