I just got off the phone with one of my clients. Let’s call him Greg. His business is growing rapidly, so much so that we are putting up the prices again to match demand. The interesting thing is that demand for his services has grown dramatically and we haven’t spent any time or money on marketing. We’ve done no lead generation what so ever. Well, there’s been a small amount of social media output but it has not been the source of his business growth.
Most business owners that I talk to in the health and fitness industry claim that lead generation is their greatest challenge. They believe that if they just got more leads they’d have a successful business. The truth is a little different. Yes, more leads can result in more sales. However, lead generation shouldn’t necessarily be the focus.
So, Greg and I were talking about how his utilisation has increased from 70% to over 95% without an increase in lead generation activity. It’s safe to say that he is pretty happy with the results. Greg hasn’t had to pay a cent to get more people into his business.
I guess right now you’re wondering what we’ve been working on.
There are two activities that we’ve focused on to increase utilisation and income: follow-up and prescription.
Follow-up: how persistence leads to sales
Like most businesses Greg has a database of leads, current clients and former clients. Like most businesses this database wasn’t being actively mined for more business. Like most business Greg wasn’t taking advantage of the people he was already connected with.
The first thing I asked Greg to do was reconnect with his database. I asked him to contact all of those people he had done business with previously and effectively ask them to buy more of his services. Over a period of a few weeks, Greg started to fill his schedule with clients that returned to his business.
The second follow-up task involved being persistent with those unconverted leads in his database. That meant calling the folks that had shown interest in Greg’s services but hadn’t yet purchased anything. These calls can be hit and miss yet they result in business if the caller is persistent. You have to look at it this way: the leads gave Greg permission to call to see how he could help solve their problem. So, Greg was justified in continuing to call until he was either told ‘yes’ or ‘no.’
The above activities were completed following a simple process. Greg had specific offers to make to each person he spoke to. The personal nature of the calls increased Greg’s conversion rate. He first engaged with the person he called, showing interest in them. He later reminded them of their goals and reason for contacting him in the first place. And finally after being sure he could help, he offered his service.
Prescription: how being an authority leads to sales
Another area of Greg’s business that required a small tweak was the generation of repeat business. Historically, clients would visit once or twice and then randomly over the coming months. This meant Greg’s business had little consistency and his utilisation was low.
To fix this we adopted a prescription model. During each session with his clients, Greg would prescribe a particular service so that the client could achieve their goals. The prescription was generally a program of ongoing visits. This saw Greg’s utilisation go close to 100%, and better still it saw his clients get better results.
Greg took the position of the authority and confidently prescribed a course of action to provide the desired result of his clients. He showed the path and indicated the value. His clients started returning much more regularly and therefore Greg’s utilisation and income increased dramatically.
Applying these strategies
I doubt you haven’t heard the saying, “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.” Perhaps it’s time to stop focusing on the bush and start looking at your hand.
How many names are currently sitting in your database?
How many clients could you realistically ring back into your business?
How many people have contacted you with a problem that you haven’t persisted in trying to fix?
You can dedicate a whole lot of time and money to advertising. Some of it will work and some of it will not.
You can search for the next silver bullet campaign.
You can shout your business name from the highest peak.
If you want rapid growth in your business, start with engaging your database and encourage them to do business with you. Dedicate yourself to provided great service and encourage repeat business.
Most small businesses are so focused on the bright lights of advertising that they do not take full advantage of their database. You can make a massive impact by connecting, engaging and paying attention to people you are already in touch with.
Think about the difference just picking up the phone will make to your business.
Think about how you can encourage repeat business.
These strategies take time and effort but they work. And they cost less than advertising. Get to it.