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Beware of Being Too Kind to Your Customers

money-in-handA recent MSNBC article says there aren’t many shopaholics left due to the recession. Then it explores how retailers are responding to frugal consumers for the upcoming holiday season, which accounts for up to twenty percent of annual sales for many of them.

Last year, holiday sales were down 3.4%. This year, even more Americans are dealing with job loss, fear of job loss, wage cuts, a drop in home prices and a rise in credit card interest rates.

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So what will consumers do? What's a retailer to do?

Working twice as hard but not making anymore
Let’s start with retailers. Dropping prices to push out inventory has become the norm since last year. Offering extreme discounts is a tactic many will use to try to get customers in their doors. Here's what that means:

Let’s say you have a product that costs you $10. You normally sell it for $20, leaving you with a $10 profit. You decide to cut your price by 25% to $15.

So now you make $5 every time you sell a product. You have to sell twice as much of this item just to make the same amount of money!

In this example, we used a product sale to keep it simple. However, many small businesses sell a service. So think about it this way:

Carrying forward the numbers above – if you cut your hourly rate by 25% – you would have to work twice as much but you wouldn’t make anymore.

Is it worth it? Would you be better served pursuing another strategy?

Consumers are more price-sensitive, but value is still king
Now, let's look at those customers. Experts cited in the article say consumers will shop for good value on items they want and need. Note the term “value”, not price.

Consumers are more price sensitive than ever. However, because they have been bombarded with super-low prices, they are beginning to think that those products are worthless.

Furthermore, they will pass up an offer – even if the price seems too good to be true – if they think they just don’t need the item. If you cut prices too much, you may kill your business by killing your customer with kindness!

3 strategies for a tight-belt economy:

  • Divide your product or service offerings into three categories – must have, need and want. In this economy, focus on the must haves. Which customers must have your must have product? Focus most of your efforts here.
  • Is there a way to bundle a “need” with a “must have” or a “want” with a “need”? Offer a special deal on the bundle rather than the individual product or service. You may find that you can sell more without having to work a lot harder.
  • Think about your customer’s bottom line. How can you add value to your product or service and boost your customer’s bottom line at the same time?

For example, is there some essential knowledge that you could impart to help your customer use your product or service to save money? If so, they’ll be much more likely to buy – even now.

How are you compelling your customers to buy your products or services?

Share that with us by leaving a comment, e-mailing us at bigginfo@biggsuccess.com or leaving a voice message at 877.988.BIGG(2444).

We think you’re too kind for checking in with us today. Thanks so much!

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Get the tips and tools you need to be a BIGG success.
Subscribe to the Bigg Success Weekly – it’s FREE!

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There’s a popular celebrity who says it took him 26 years to get one mile down the road. Please join us next time and we’ll fill you in on his story of bigg success. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

 

Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00517-110609.mp3

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A Costly Cost Cutting Measure

cutting_costs.jpgBigg Success is life on your own terms. Today, we’ll focus on one of the five elements of bigg success – money.

We’re all looking for more ways to save money. That’s understandable. However, we need to think about not just survival, but “surthrival.”

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Many business owners and managers, small and large, are cutting back on their advertising. This cost-cutting practice can be very costly in the long run.

Could not advertising cost you $1.5 million?

A McGraw-Hill study, about the recession in the early 1980s, found that companies that maintained or increased their advertising had sales 256% higher three years after the recession ended.

Think about that … two companies, each with a million dollars in sales go into a recession. The company that holds tight on its advertising, or perhaps even increases it, will do over $2.5 million within a few years after the recession ends if the second company, the one that cut its advertising, treads water.

Signaling the end of your business

A recent study by Ad-ology found that 56% of the people surveyed thought that retail stores that cut back on advertising must be struggling.

In other words, your advertising sends a “signal” to both your existing and potential customers. Just like a company cutting back on its dividend, you’re telling the public you don’t expect your future to be bright when you cut back on advertising.

The signal is so strong that 15% of the people surveyed thought it meant that the firm who cut back on its advertising wouldn’t be in business much longer.

The time – money trade-off

One of the other elements of bigg success is time. If you’re a regular here you’ve heard it before, but it bears repeating:

If you don’t have money, you have to spend time. It’s part of the price of bigg success.

So if you really feel the need to cut back on how much money you spend on advertising, it will pay to spend more time promoting your business.

That means networking

Depending on your business, you may primarily build relationships offline or online. However, you will probably be well-served to do both. Integration is one of the keys to success in business today.

If you have employees with down time, make good use of it. Tell them that you want to keep spreading the word so you all surthrive.

What you ask them to do will also depend upon your business. You may have them put out door knob hangers or give away free samples of your product. Perhaps they can make some phone calls or send e-mails to your list of customers.

Where to place your focus

We stated it subtly in that last sentence. We should emphasize it – focus on your existing customers to get the best return on your investment (of money and time).

Research has shown that it costs between five to eight times as much to get a new customer as it takes to keep an existing one. So, at the very least, make sure you’re communicating with your existing customers at least four to six 6 times a year.

Find out what their problems are. Find a solution – even if you can’t solve it directly, help them find the answer to build your relationship.

The most cost-effective way to grow your business

Building relationships with your best customers is the most cost-effective way to grow your business. When you can “wow” your customers, they will …

  • buy more
  • buy more often
  • tell others

Segment & tailor

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marylynnWhile we’re talking about your existing customers, can you segment them into smaller groups so you can tailor your communications more precisely?

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georgeI used to own a heating and cooling service company. We got our technicians to note the age of the furnace or air conditioner when they were in our customer’s home or business. Then we wrote a letter specifically to this group. We generated over $300 of sales for every letter we mailed!

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This highlights another point we alluded to earlier – get your staff involved. Help them understand how it not only makes their jobs more secure, it also means you continue to grow as a company so there will be more opportunities for everybody. That’s bigg success!

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Get the tips and tools you need to be a BIGG success.
Subscribe to the Bigg Success Weekly – it’s FREE!

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Thanks so much for reading our post today. Please join us next time when we discuss what the underlying meaning of “I don’t have enough time.” Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

 

Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00411-060809.mp3

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(Image in today's post from hisks)

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Profitable Passions – Part 1

Career Renegade book cover

We are privileged to have a special guest on The Bigg Success Show today. Jonathan Fields is a lawyer, entrepreneur, and author of the recently released book Career Renegade: How to Make a Great Living Doing What You Love.

Read more

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What’s Hot in 2009: Threats

maple_leaf_foods_logo This week on The Bigg Success Show, we’re taking a look at opportunities and threats in 2009. Today, we continue the five-part series by looking at threats.

We recently posted an article where we shared seven threats facing us in 2009. We’ll discuss two of them today.

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Downturn expected to hit higher and harder

The first threat is the recession. It is now expected to be deeper, longer, and different than any other downturn that we’ve witnessed in our lifetimes. As with any recession, layoffs will be part of the mix.

In the past, layoffs have occurred mostly at the lower end of the career spectrum. What makes this recession different, and the reason we feel it’s important to emphasize this to the members of our community, is that this recession is expected to hit hardest at the upper end.

It was recently suggested in an article on Harvard’s site that this recession be dubbed “The Great Disruption.” It certainly has been disruptive, hasn’t it? It appears that volatility is something we need to get used to going forward.

Moving out is moving up

Another important threat is continued outsourcing. This is also something that we feel may disproportionately affect the people in our community in the coming year.

We’ve already witnessed it, but jobs outside manufacturing are now at risk. It was interesting to see manufacturing start coming back onshore as the price of fuel rose. With the digital revolution, the cost of moving information around the world costs practically nothing. So white-collar jobs may be the most at risk now.

We’ve seen that already with lower skill jobs. Now it seems that some higher level careers may also be at risk. We see two factors in jobs that are safe:

  • an on-site presence is necessary to perform the work
  • face-to-face contact produces better results

The article also mentions a great resource that describes occupations that are and aren’t likely to be moved offshore as well as the other five threats. Check it out!

We like to think positively, but it’s also important to realistically assess those impediments to achieving our goals. We call that positively real thinking … that’s what it takes to succeed bigg!

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Get the tips and tools you need to be a BIGG success when you
subscribe to the Bigg Success Weekly – it’s FREE

___

We’re really grateful that you took time out of your day to read our post today. Join us next time when we look at some questions which will help you tie the opportunities and threats to the right career or business for you. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

 

Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00303-010708.mp3

Related posts

1487]

1489]

(Image in today's post by MISHA)

BIGG Success Logo boxed

What's Hot in 2009: Threats

maple_leaf_foods_logo This week on The Bigg Success Show, we’re taking a look at opportunities and threats in 2009. Today, we continue the five-part series by looking at threats.

We recently posted an article where we shared seven threats facing us in 2009. We’ll discuss two of them today.

___

___

Downturn expected to hit higher and harder

The first threat is the recession. It is now expected to be deeper, longer, and different than any other downturn that we’ve witnessed in our lifetimes. As with any recession, layoffs will be part of the mix.

In the past, layoffs have occurred mostly at the lower end of the career spectrum. What makes this recession different, and the reason we feel it’s important to emphasize this to the members of our community, is that this recession is expected to hit hardest at the upper end.

It was recently suggested in an article on Harvard’s site that this recession be dubbed “The Great Disruption.” It certainly has been disruptive, hasn’t it? It appears that volatility is something we need to get used to going forward.

Moving out is moving up

Another important threat is continued outsourcing. This is also something that we feel may disproportionately affect the people in our community in the coming year.

We’ve already witnessed it, but jobs outside manufacturing are now at risk. It was interesting to see manufacturing start coming back onshore as the price of fuel rose. With the digital revolution, the cost of moving information around the world costs practically nothing. So white-collar jobs may be the most at risk now.

We’ve seen that already with lower skill jobs. Now it seems that some higher level careers may also be at risk. We see two factors in jobs that are safe:

  • an on-site presence is necessary to perform the work
  • face-to-face contact produces better results

The article also mentions a great resource that describes occupations that are and aren’t likely to be moved offshore as well as the other five threats. Check it out!

We like to think positively, but it’s also important to realistically assess those impediments to achieving our goals. We call that positively real thinking … that’s what it takes to succeed bigg!

___

Get the tips and tools you need to be a BIGG success when you
subscribe to the Bigg Success Weekly – it’s FREE

___

We’re really grateful that you took time out of your day to read our post today. Join us next time when we look at some questions which will help you tie the opportunities and threats to the right career or business for you. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

 

Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00303-010708.mp3

Related posts

1487]

1489]

(Image in today's post by MISHA)