This one opportunity is overlooked by 90% of small businesses today. For example, say you purchased a computer from Dell Computers®. However, a few years later your system is badly out of date and there is a new state-of-the-art system. Dell begins sending all of their loyal customers regular updates on the latest state-of-the-art systems. Each time you get a little more motivated until your current system no longer meets your needs, at which time you buy the turbocharged new computer. Dell develops a relationship with their customers and then turns them into customers for life! They go above and beyond in service, have a generous return policy and consistently communicate with their clients.
Opportunity #2 - Expand Your Customer's Purchase Patterns by Selling Them Other Products and Services They Don't Currently Purchase From You. If someone buys a product or service from you, what else might he or she or a family member need that you provide? Businesses make the fatal mistake of thinking people are aware of all of the products and services they sell. As an example, if you provide landscaping maintenance, do your customers know about your fertilizer program or mosquito abatement or snowplowing in the winter? This example also highlights how important your customer database becomes in following up with your customers? The more you know about their purchase habits, the better you can determine what other items they may purchase.
Once Dell sells you a computer, they can then sell you accessories, additional storage, a larger monitor, a faster modem and so on. Expanding your customers purchase patterns may also include motivating them to purchase more of the current products and services they already buy. Your customers may purchase exclusively during the week, for example. Therefore, getting them to also purchase or take advantage of your service on the weekends would have a dramatic impact on your revenue.
Some examples of this include:
• A hotel that motivates their customers to come spend a quiet relaxing weekend with their better half.
• An accountant that, during slow times of the year, offers to do business consulting, come to the business owners office and set up their bookkeeping system or assist with getting them badly needed financing
Opportunity #3 - Provide Service or Training to Your Customers
If your product or service involves the need for future service then you should be the one providing this to your clients. For example, when a carpet company installs carpet, they know that the customer will need their carpets cleaned within 1-2 years. If your product or service involves the need for future training then you should also be the one providing this to your clients.
For example, if you're a consultant and help a company implement a new computer system or sales training program, there is typically a need for follow up training to ensure the client maximizes their results?
How these leveraged opportunities apply to different business types
First, let's look at Repeat Purchase Businesses
A Video Store can send their inactive customers a coupon for a "free movie" or " buy one get one free" or "free popcorn and soda with a movie."
They can also send their clients a letter educating them about the value of cleaning the internal parts of their DVD player on a regular basis. They could further offer to sell their customers tickets to other family or entertainment activities. A Telephone Service Provider can once again offer their customers voice mail or call waiting.
Customers are generally given an opportunity to purchase these services only at the point of installation. Perhaps they didn't think they needed call waiting initially or perhaps they had an answering machine which later stopped functioning. They could also offer a special deal on an additional line for the Internet or fax machine. People often will struggle with the inconvenience of having just one line simply because they fail to take action and order another one. They can also offer them phones, answering machines, credit cards, headsets, time saving equipment and so on.
Random or Infrequent Repeat Purchase Businesses:
A Wellness Physician may have over 3,000 patients; some come on a preventative health basis and the balance come only when they're ill. This doctor stocks a premium line of vitamins and minerals, which he prescribes only for specific patient concerns. He may reach 10% of his patients in this way. This means 90% of his patients are completely unaware of the incredible benefits of these vitamins (they're five times more absorbent and have a molecular structure that binds them to the cells 80% more effectively than standard vitamins)
What if he wrote a letter to the 90% who don't buy these vitamins… passionately educating them on the benefits? More energy, better memory, less disease and offered them a special introductory price and a 100% guarantee. Would a large number of these patients buy? These patients have already shown that they're into alternative health, so they're the perfect audience. And more importantly, they trust the doctor! Many of them probably are currently buying the "garbage vitamins" and spending similar money.
If only 5% of his patients purchased just $40 per month in vitamins, he would generate $75,000 per year in revenue and $25,000 in profit. Over five years those profits would equal $125,000! Now, would these patients be open to other such health-oriented items that the doctor recommended? Especially if each item he recommended was of good value and delivered the benefits he promised. Are his patients better off because he made these vitamins available? Are they appreciative of his thoughtfulness? Are they more prone to refer him? Are the inactive patients more apt to come back to him?
What about an accountant? She can tell her business clients about her consulting services. Rather than wait until year-end, she can provide quarterly evaluations which helps keep her clients on track. She can also educate clients about the other services she provides – payroll, estate planning, and
outsource bookkeeping. If they use her only for year-end taxes, they may be totally unaware that she offers these other services. She can offer to train the client's staff on Quickbooksâ so they can do the legwork more efficiently - and so on.
An Orthodontist can educate his patients (the parents or adults) on having their children come in at a younger age to get preventive work done. He can offer to put braces on the parents - even educating them on the "invisible braces" that are available. He can also tell his patients about other appearance enhancements - decorative eyewear, teeth whitening and plastic surgery, and recommend other health care professionals to his trusted patients as well.
Single Purchase Business. A Contractor can stay in contact with their customers and suggest home improvements that would enhance the client's home. If they had done a large job initially, they should have good insight on the customer's needs and potential wants. They can also suggest a patio cover for the patio they previously installed. Or offer to screen their porch. Finally, they can suggest installing a built-in entertainment centre in their basement!
John D Allen