One of the most common questions we hear is “How can I get more business right now?” The following are a few steps you can take to get immediate results in your business. You may have already taken action on one or two of these things but make sure you do them ALL. They will cost you little to nothing to execute!
1) Claim your online business listings.
The first place people look for information about your business is online. You absolutely need to claim your Yelp business page, your Google Business Listing and Trip Adviser (Yelp and Trip Advisor are a MUST if you are in the food and beverage industry)
There are more than 20 sites out there, but start with these, and you will be on the right track.
Better Business Bureau
So what exactly does it mean to “Claim” your listing?
When you claim your listing, you are taking ownership over the content found on the internet when someone Googles your business name. Taking ownership will allow you to post your correct business info, as it’s often wrong or incomplete when you find it. This includes phone numbers, addresses, your business hours as well as product or services and photos.
Many shoppers today shop online first, in fact, Yelp alone could add dozens of prospects to your weekly bottom line. Claim this space, make sure it’s correct, and stay on top of contacts you receive via these services.
Having an “unclaimed business” online shows your prospects you are small time and don’t take care of the details. They will think, “If you don’t handle the little details of your own business, how can you possibly be trusted to handle your prospects’?”
If you have a restaurant or a bed and breakfast or family activity business, make sure you are on TripAdvisor. Even your family pumpkin patch should be listed. Millions of people use TripAdvisor to find activities and make vacation plans.
Another added benefit of searching yourself out online and claiming these listings is you may find some reviews from past clients that need to be addressed.
Incredibly, we have found that some very irate customers have actually gone out and established a listing for a previously unlisted business, just so they can post bad reviews. If this customer establishes your listing with incorrect information, it may be very difficult and time-consuming for you to correct it.
The best thing to do if you find a complaint is to address it head-on, immediately. Remember, the customer is always right, even if the customer is wrong – they’re right! In this day and age of social media and online review sites and the near instant spread of data across the Internet, you cannot afford to have a customer spread negative information about your company. You must contact these customers and make it right by them as soon as possible. If you don’t already have a customer satisfaction policy, it would be a good idea to implement one immediately. You can have a policy in place so that your employees can make sure they take care of a customer rather than put the customer on hold and try to have to pass it up to a higher level of management. When a customer has a problem they don’t want to wait to get approval or be told that “you have to get back to them”. This creates a window of time for them to go online and complain. Our company has a policy in place that says employees are authorized to make a customer happy regardless of the situation for up to $50. This empowers your employees to make a customer happy and will save you time, energy and money in the long run because you will not need to micromanage customer service issues.
2) Create social media pages for your business.
I know what you are thinking, “Social media is a pain to manage.” I used to feel the same way too, as I saw my friends and associates creating pages for themselves or their businesses. What was always on my mind was, “Man, when am I going to have time to handle this with all the other things I need to be doing to actual RUN my business!”
The truth is many people get self-absorbed in social media, but it doesn’t have to be that way. It only takes a few minutes to create, and it only takes a few seconds to post! Take Instagram for example. If your business is decorating cakes, snap a pic and post it when you create a great looking cake. Maybe shoot a short video of the process of assembling one!
With some simple guidelines, you can even delegate these posts to an employee of maybe even a family member. Your followers will love to see what you do behind the scenes, and this will keep them engaged in your business and at the top of their minds when they have a need.
Take a few minutes and do a search of your competitors. See what they do on social media. You may find that all you need to do is claim your profile and list some simple business info. You may not need a robust and photo-filled Facebook profile if you are in the septic pumping business, but having your Facebook profile with the correct contact info may help a prospect find you when they have an emergency need. Often, when prospects search the Internet for your company contact information, your social media listings may come up well before your own company website. Establishing these social media sites and having the correct contact information may help a prospect find you easier than if you leave them incomplete and ignore them because of the inconvenience you think they will cause you.
3) Call your past clients. IMMEDIATELY
Your HAPPY past clients are your best source of new business. Everyone you have done business with knows at least ONE person that could immediately use your services or product. If they are a happy past client, they will be more than glad to help you by referring a friend.
In this day and age of e-commerce, it can be rare for a company to proactively call clients. Many companies reserve the phone for only dealing with problem orders.
When was the last time you went through your client list and randomly called clients? Was it weeks ago? Maybe Months? Could it have even been years since you have picked up the phone and “cold called” people?
I’ll never forget the surprise in a lady’s voice when I called some of our past e-commerce clients and she exclaimed: “Wow, you are an an actual person and not just a website!!” This happened more than once! Your customers will love the fact that you care enough to take the time to pick up the phone and reach out to them, and you will be amazed at the increase in business you will see.
4) Send a postcard to your “expired” clients.
What are expired clients? We all have clients we have not heard from in many years. Maybe they haven’t needed your product or service in a while. Maybe they forgot about you. Maybe you didn’t serve them well. You’ve got an edge with these past clients. There would be a good chance if you didn’t totally drop the ball on them, that they will remember you or at least give you another shot. Sending a postcard is a non-invasive way to reintroduce yourself to a past client that you are not 100% sure would enjoy a phone call.
Many companies have moved away from direct mail to email marketing. Clients’ inboxes are getting full of “spammy” solicitations. A postcard will be easily seen in the stack of letters and bills, and give you a chance to tell them why they should give you another shot. Include a coupon code, or a survey invite and get valuable feedback from these expired clients. Make sure your postcard includes a risk-reducing offer designed to encourage the prospect to take the next step in getting closer to doing business with you. You might say, “Give us your feedback, and we’ll give you a Starbucks gift card.” You can then direct them to an online form to collect data on their customer experience. Maybe an Insurance advisor can invite past home and auto insurance clients to attend a free seminar on the pitfalls of buying the wrong kind of life insurance late in life.
5) Carry business cards and use them!
Your business card is a little mobile billboard for your business. If created correctly, this 7 square inch piece of real estate can often have a bigger impact than the largest billboard in town. Make it stand out; make it memorable!
I challenge you to pass out FIVE business cards TODAY!
Yes, that’s right! Put five business cards in your pocket and pass them out throughout the day. When you stop at the dry cleaners, had a card to the attendant and make your pitch! Going through the drive through? Place a card against the window so the next few cars in line see it. Who knows what needs they, or even a co-worker may have.
The famous Zig Ziglar had many techniques to make his business cards more memorable. One if those was creating a round business card with “TUIT” on the back. He would drop it in the hands of prospects that told him “I’ll buy when I get A Round To It”.
What does your business card say about you or your business? We are lucky to live in a time where almost anything is possible. A carpenter can have a wooden card. A music teacher can have a guitar pick shaped card; they can even get their contact info printed on REAL guitar pics! I’ve seen a locksmith business card that was a set of small lock picks! How about an eye doctor with small print that says, “If you are squinting, you better call me!”
Even if a crazy custom card isn’t right for you, there is probably a need for a loyalty element in your business. An example of a “Loyalty Card” is when a coffee shop adds a backside with check boxes for “Buy 10, Get One Free” or maybe you offer a guest a “Free Appetizer With Two Entree Purchase”. You have the opportunity to do something to encourage the recipient to check you out, and a special offer might just do the trick.
The order of these actions is intentional. Make sure you have created your social presence and claimed your online presence before you call or mail your past clients. Wouldn’t it be a shame for you to peak someone’s interest with a postcard, just to lose it when they Google you and see you still don’t pay attention to the details? That may have been why you lost their business in the first place.