Many business owners are often faced with the challenge of a cashflow emergency. The bills are mounting up, your getting the telephone calls from the bank because your account is overdrawn, creditors want payment and your stressing out trying to come up with ways to quickly generate cashflow.
This cashflow crisis may have arisen from a drop in demand for your products or service, or it is tax payment time. All you seem to be doing is going to work to pay the bills. You are fast losing interest in your business as you feel like you are losing control.
This is the time when I am often asked to provide consultancy services to these businesses. It is also the time when the business owner requires some clarity on what to do next………they need a strategy to fix their situation.
The course of action is obvious. How to quickly generate the cashflow needed to pay the bills!
Most business owners when confronted with this challenge have the same desire. They are sick to death of their business controlling them instead of them controlling their business. They desire to spend less time operating their business and not have the business run their lives.
It is at this time that your marketing becomes the most important part of doing business. There is very little money to spend and if directed towards marketing it must be effective. In fact there is only one desired result;
It Must Create A Client OR Get An Existing Client Back Again.
That’s it! There is no room for wasted advertising AND it must have the desired effect IMMEDIATELY.
I am an avid Australian Rules football follower. Do you think when a team is getting soundly beaten at three quarter time that the coach starts telling his team to try harder, run faster, start playing better football…………NO WAY………… The coach will get his team together and tell them the EXACT STRATEGIES they need to follow to beat the other team. He gives them PRECISE INSTRUCTIONS on what they have to do to beat their opponents.
It is no different in marketing. When the going gets tough you need to know exactly what to do. You need to systemise the marketing process so that you have a clear precise strategy that results in a predictable outcome…….CREATING PROFIT $$$.
You see, most businesses have no idea how their clients end up in their business. Most marketing that they have done is hit and miss.
It may be an ad here, a flyer there. But the biggest problem I find in their business is that they have not systemised, or automated, their process in gaining a client. The advertising has no method, there is a high chance their advertising has NO CALL TO ACTION. That is, there is no incentive for the client to get on the phone or walk into your business to BUY.
With ineffective advertising the business owner will end up frustrated and angry and place the blame on marketing. They are likely to stop their complete marketing process as in the past “IT HAS NOT WORKED”. It is highly likely that the real problem is in the methodology they have used to advertise. It could have been;
a lousy headline
a lack of identifying the reasons and benefits to choose their product or service, or
no clear reason for the prospect to take action now.
So what needs to be done NOW to improve cashflow QUICKLY. What clear, precise strategy should the business owner take?
Remember that we are operating in a state of emergency. If we had the time I would recommend a different strategy, a complete marketing overhaul encompassing advertising, unique selling proposition, referral systems, sales letters and more.
When cashflow is critical I recommend a strategy that goes direct to your Lead Generating (get more enquiries) and Conversion (from enquiry to client) systems. If you can get control of this then the rest can be developed later. There is no problem that cannot be fixed with a healthy cashflow.
The first steps to a better cashflow include;
1. Establish A Clear Reason WHY Your Client Should Choose Your Business To Provide The Product Or Service They Desire.
This is a great place to start. Many business owners have no idea why clients should choose them over their competition. Many cannot come up with a clear, unique reason why their client should choose their business over their competitors for their product or service.
When I put the question to the business owner “Why should I choose your business over your competitors” the most common response is that their business provides the best product, or they provide the best service and value, or they have the best staff.
These are not reasons to choose your business. In fact, every one of your competitors will probably say the same thing.
You need to identify the unique benefits, not features, of your business…….from your client’s perspective. What do you do that is different?
Do you provide a 100% money back guarantee?
Do you promise to deliver on time or it’s free?
Are your staff the best trained?
Do you guarantee to not be beaten on price?
Do you solve the clients problem in a way that your competitors do not?
Once a business owner can clearly state that one unique reason to do business with them then they will clearly establish a point of difference between choosing their business over and above their competitors.
What I am talking about here is developing a USP……..a unique selling proposition or what I prefer to call it …………A Unique Buying Advantage (UBA).
Work this out, apply it to your marketing, and watch the dollars come pouring in.
2. Determine What Method of Advertising Your Client Uses To Find Your Product or Service and Improve the Advertising to Guarantee A Predictable Result.
Here is another interesting thing I find. A business will be spending a huge amount in advertising, when business gets slow they spend even more. It is at that time that a business will be vulnerable to wasting a lot of money on so called “institutionalised advertising methods”, ones where the results cannot be measured. You know the type, local newspaper, flyers, printing glossy brochures etc.
How have your clients found you before? Was it the Yellow Pages, classifieds in the local newspaper, referrals from other clients. Determine this and then let’s improve the result.
A good example is Atlas Rent A Car, a car rental company in Perth. They had determined that the best advertising source of business was the Yellow Pages. By re-designing the Yellow Pages Ad, including a great headline, and detailing the benefits of choosing Atlas Rent A Car, the result was a massive increase in enquiries without any increase in advertising dollars.
The fact is, it does not cost any extra to improve an existing Ad.
When the clients were asked how they found out about Atlas Rent A Car they stated that they rang the Ad first as they were drawn to the BENEFITS of the service by an ATTENTION grabbing headline.
3. Review The Process Of Conversion From An Enquiry To A Client.
Here is another interesting thing that I find. The business probably have plenty of leads contacting their business……… BUT they are failing to convert these leads to clients.
When I asked Atlas Rent A Car how they they could optimize their business immediately (ie. get sales quickly & grow their business) they started giving me things like building relationships with travel agents interstate, getting them to refer their business to them.
The funny thing was that while I was sitting their listening to this, the phone kept ringing. A staff member would answer it, give some details and then as soon as they hung up the phone it would ring again. In fact this business had 4 telephone lines coming in. I asked how many of these calls converted to paying clients. The owner5 had no idea. After doing a small survey it turned out they were converting about 2 out of 10.
The sales script used by the staff was exactly the same as their competitors. Prospects would ring to enquire about rates and that is exactly what was given. The prospect heard nothing about the unique benefits provided or the type of service that could be delivered.
By developing a benefit driven sales script combined with the changes to the Yellow Pages Ad this business was able to increase sales over the next 7 months by 75%. How much did it cost to achieve this……….absolutely NOTHING. In fact advertising costs were reduced by over 50% by getting rid of any advertising where the result was not measurable.
The point to be made here is that a lot of businesses may already have the leads coming in, but they do not have a systematic way to convert these leads to paying clients. All their marketing is hit and miss and fails to achieve the objective of increased sales.
How does your business compare in the marketing stakes. Are you failing to convert the leads you already have, do you have a unique point of difference, do you have a marketing system in place to keep generating leads that convert to paying clients.
There are many other simple strategies that can be used to improve cashflow. By reviewing your lead generation and conversion systems you will work out a way to get through your cashflow emergency.
Become a Successful Marketer!