Every week as SmallBizLady, I conduct interviews with experts on my Twitter talk show #SmallBizChat. The show takes place every Wednesday on Twitter from 8-9 pm ET. This is excerpted from my recent interview with Stephen Pierce, who is the host of the Success Sculpting Show, where he brings the right information now to sculpt a more meaningful and memorable life of success. For more info: www.SuccessSculpting.com.
SmallBizLady: WHAT ARE THE 4 PILLARS OF STRENGTH THAT EVERY BUSINESS MUST UNDERSTAND TO #GETSTRONG?
Stephen Pierce: The 4 pillars of strength for customers, clients or patients are:
All businesses have these same pillars of strength that really make or break a company. Regardless of your industry or if your product or service based. To grow your business, you must be able to profitably Find, Get, Keep and Grow customers, clients or patients.
SmallBizLady: What are 2 of the best ways to Find new customers?
Stephen Pierce: The two best ways to quickly get new customers is to focus on Lead Generation and Referral Systems. For Lead Generation to be effective you must first know your Avatar or what we call your Ideal Customer. Figure out the demographics.
For example, an Avatar can be:
- Single Mom
- Ages 34-45
- Lives in the United States
- Earns $55,000-$75,000 a year
- Uses an iPhone
- Buys Cosmetics online
- Average purchase price is $150
- Likes to shop at SEPHORA and Bath & Body Works
- Reads Essence and Black Enterprise Magazine.
A good starting point is to use the Facebook Audience Insight tool. Once you target the right audience you can then have referral programs in place that reward your audience for sending you more people that are like them.
SmallBizLady: What about pillar 2, Getting customers. What should a business focus on there to get more customers?
Stephen Pierce: The primary focus for getting more customers is increasing your sales conversion %. So, testing different sales copy, offers, bundles, price points, bonuses etc., to increase your sales conversions.
In business we tend to think we can make more money if you talk to more people or get in front of more people. While that’s true, I think one of the most overlooked points of leverage or quickly getting more customers is improving the quality of the conversation you are currently having
For example, if you do one-on-one sales in person, on the phone or whatever and you close a deal 1 out of 10 times you meet/speak with someone. Then, that gives you a 10% closing ratio. Let’s say you are speaking with those 10 people a week so your making 1 sale a week. Now, if you want to make 2 sales a week you can look at increasing the # of people you speak to.
So, if you speak to 20 people a week you can double your sales. However, with less work, if you double you closing ration from 10% to 20% you can double your sales without doubling the number of people you speak with. So, increasing sales conversions should always be a priority no matter if it’s in person, on the phone, via webinars, on your website, or in your ecommerce store. Wherever you are looking to make a sale, also look to increase those sales conversions.
SmallBizLady: Okay, so once you get them, what is a business to focus on to keep the customers they get?
Stephen Pierce: This comes to the battle of customer retention and customer attrition. We want to increase our customer retention % while decreasing our customer attrition. While using different marketing tactics like loyalty cards, points, bonuses etc. work, I think the primary way to boost retention and reduce attrition is to have a strong value proposition wrapped into a customer experience that they are unable to get from anywhere else. I would suggest with having valuable conversations online with your market that they find to be relevant. I’m not just talking about products.
What your market is for or against. Are they advocates for no animal testing products, or those organic? What outside the scope of your product is important to them? What cause drives them to live the way they live and to incorporate your business, brand or product into that lifestyle? Look for that and have meaningful conversations around that and you can start to create a level of loyalty that money can’t buy.
SmallBizLady: When it comes to growing customers, what do you suggest for business owners?
Stephen Pierce: They are two primary ways to grow your customers and this is to increase the # of transactions and also increase the value of the transaction. That’s just a fancy way of saying get your customers to buy more often and buy at higher price points.
If you sell consumable products, them obviously at some point they will run out. See if you can get them on an automatic reoccurring purchase so you auto-bill and auto-ship new products to them each month. Put products into packages to increase both the value and the price. If you have customers that stop buying from you, chances are they are buying from someone else. Keep them engaged with your conversations and always look for unmet needs you can serve.
SmallBizLady: With all the things a business owner has to focus on, what would you say is a must have priority?
Stephen Pierce: No question, it’s your marketing systems and selling systems. Because without anything being sold, there is no revenue to support a business. Virtually everything in your business is a cost that supports your servicing systems like customer support, shipping, accounting, packing, researching etc. It’s marketing and selling that are true assets because they are the gatekeepers of the business revenue.
Without effective marketing and selling nothing is being sold which means no money is being made and there really is no business. With all the fancy slogans, mantras, rallying cries, value statements, etc. At the end of it all, a profit needs to be found for any business to have a sustainable existence. Even a non-profit needs money at the end of the day to support the non-profit efforts.
SmallBizLady: How do you define marketing or marketing systems?
Stephen Pierce: Marketing is about demand management. It’s about using strategies to create demand for what you have where there is no demand or the demand is for a competing offer. You have something people want, wish for or desire and that’s great.
However, people can’t respond to what they don’t see. So marketing systems are designed to cut through the clutter, rise above the noise, stand out, be seen and entice your market to want to do business with you. Create that curiosity and interest so you can start a conversation with them.
SmallBizLady: How do you define sales or selling systems?
Stephen Pierce: Sales is about supply management. After you create the demand and people are interested or just curious, your sales or selling systems converts that interest into income or that curiosity into cash-flow. Your selling systems is really about creating lasting customer relationships where they are delighted to pay you for the value you provide. Selling systems is about making all the marketing payoff. You can dump thousands of dollars into advertising and marketing.
When people walk in to your location, or call you or visit your sales page or ecommerce store you need to have a story that is so seductive, meaningful and connecting and an offer so valuable, irresistible, and fitting for them, regardless of price that they can’t help but by from you.
SmallBizLady: How does that apply to social media?
Stephen Pierce: Social Media is a digital fantasy island where pretending to be something you’re not is really the rule and not the exception. The question of “who are you really?” takes a while to get answered. Whether that’s good or bad isn’t of concern, it’s what do we do about it. So, for social media I recommend a Share, Show, and Sell 3-step strategy that has the marketing and selling embedded in it.
SmallBizLady: Tell me more about the Share, Show, AND Sell.
Stephen Pierce: Sharing and Show is all about building your social equity. So you share info, links, vids or anything that is not yours that your base will find valuable. This demonstrates that you are a great resource and your social equity goes up. This starts to reveal something real about you and a bridge of trust is starting to be constructed between you and your social media community.
SmallBizLady: Okay, what about the showing?
Stephen Pierce: Show is where you demonstrate your skills in that area. This moves up from being a great resource to an excellent expert. For example, when Sharing, I can send you a link to a great video showing someone playing an acoustic guitar that’s amazing and people love it. Later, I could post a video of me showing my awesomeness on the acoustic guitar. As a result, your social equity goes up even higher. Part of this strategy is the element of surprise when they see what you can do.
SmallBizLady: How does that connect with the sell part?
Stephen Pierce: Well, once you have built of your social equity and people know, like and trust you, it becomes much easier to sell on social media. You can do this quickly on landing pages sending traffic from ads or you can do it organically over time.
This 3-step process is important because if you want to send people over to your website or any website and to buy something, people most first have some element of trust with you to click the link.
So, when we are in the Sharing phase we are actually doing what I call “click conditioning.” That means we develop a reputation for having great resources that a great percentage of people will click on the links we post. So what do you think happens when you start posting links to your stuff? You already have “click momentum” so you get lots of traffic which ideally turns into sales.
If you found this interview helpful, join us on Wednesdays 8-9 pm ET; follow @SmallBizChat on Twitter.
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