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Small Businesses Can Sell the Black Friday Way

black_fridayHere we are … it’s Black Friday – the day when, historically, retailers get into the black. So they’re hoping that people shop, shop, shop.

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marylynnBlack Friday has almost become a sporting event. I just don’t enjoy shopping that much so it’s not for me. But plenty of people sure do enjoy trying to find that irresistible bargain.

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georgeI don’t like standing in line for anything but I especially don’t like doing it to spend money! Crowds are great – at a concert or a ball game!

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In honor of Black Friday, we want to talk about merchandising in your business. We’ll discuss four lessons you can learn from retailers about selling your wares.

Price check in Lane 123
If you’re a true retailer – you buy goods at wholesale and resell them – it’s easy to determine your cost.

If you’re a service business, it’s more difficult. But you have to know how much anything you sell costs or you risk charging too little. A lot of small business owners fail for this very reason. 

Attention K-Mart Shoppers. There’s a blue light special on …
K-Mart had scrapped this program. They brought it back earlier this year.

Surprise your good customers with a special deal now and then. We heard about a car dealer who would occasionally pick a customer whose car was getting serviced and give them their service that day for free. It created tremendous goodwill.

It would be a customer who had bought the car from him and did all their service with him. In other words, a customer on whom he made a lot of money. Occasionally giving them free service was just a small rebate.

But it paid dividends to the car dealer as well – he got a lot of word of mouth advertising.

Manager on duty to the front of the store please
The front of the store makes us think about the psychology of buyers. Have you ever noticed how most grocery stores have a fairly similar layout?

Research shows that most people walk into a store and turn to the right. So what do you want to put in the front of the store on the right side?

High margin items, of course!

In a grocery store, you notice the milk and eggs are usually in the back – nowhere near the bread. They want you to walk through the whole store so you see more things you might buy on impulse.

Every business has customers who behave in similar ways. Get to understand how you can naturally show your customers more of your products and services.

Clean up in aisle 5
Just about every business that handles inventory ends up with some slow moving items. You need to clean them out so you can get new inventory in that will turn faster so you make more money.

The mistake some small business owners make is being afraid to discount an item – especially for lower than cost. But the sooner you get an item that isn’t selling off your shelf, the better.

Another version of this is displaying a discounted item with a full-priced item. Think about it …

How many times do you see a skirt that’s on sale displayed with a full-priced top?

You like the combination so you buy it. You may be able to do the same type of thing in your business.

Retailers have become pretty sophisticated at discounting items to draw people to their store. They know the law of averages means these people will buy a lot more than just the sale items. Find the lures to bring in your customers and you’ll be a bigg success!

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Thanks so much for reading our post today. Please join us next time when we’ll look at the only three ways to get more done. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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2 Important Things to Know About Your Customers

customerIt was a beautiful day in our area on Sunday so we decided to go for a drive. There’s an outlet mall about thirty minutes from us. So we stopped and shopped!

We like to combine work and play. While we were playing, we got a couple of ideas for post, including this one today.

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Where are your customers from?

As we made a purchase, the clerk asked us for our phone number. She said, “We like to know where our customers are from.”

Isn’t that an important thing to know about your customers? 

Geographic area
This is what the store we were at wanted to know. This may or may not be important to your business. It may be useful for targeting areas for your marketing.

Marketing activity
Unlike large companies, small businesses can’t afford to invest a lot of money on building their brand. When we spend money as small business owners, we need to see a return in the short-term while also building our brand long-term.

So discover what marketing activity is driving people to your business. While this is an inexact science, you want to determine as closely as you can if the time and money you’re spending on various activities are paying off.

Consumers often segment the research and the purchase. They may do some research on you as a result of one marketing activity. Then they may respond to another one to make a purchase.

The first activity may be important to the process but doesn’t get the credit it deserves.

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georgePrior to Bigg Success, my businesses relied on inbound telemarketing. In other words, our customers called us to schedule projects. Our Customer Service Reps might ask this question, “How did you hear about us?” Later in the process, we might also have them ask, “How did you get our phone number today?” We often got a different answer from the same caller!

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marylynnIsn’t that amazing? You don’t want to annoy your customers with too many questions. You do want to get as much information as you can as a natural part of the conversation you’re having.

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Demographics
There are a number of factors that may be important to understand about your customers. What is their level of education? How much money do they make? What is their occupation?

Obviously, you may not directly ask them some of these questions. You may survey them anonymously.

This information helps you target your products and services better. It’s also highly likely that your future customers will be a lot like your current customers. So it helps you qualify prospects.

Where are your customers going?

It’s arguably more important to know this one. What are your customers trying to accomplish? What problems are they having trying to do that? How can you help them?

Retailers
The type of business you have will dictate how you find this out. Let’s say you’re a retailer serving lots of customers with relatively small purchases. While they’re checking out, you may ask them if there was anything that they didn’t find.

You may want to keep a list of their requests. When you start seeing something over and over, you may want to add that item to your inventory.

Consumer services
For a consumer service business, the question is very similar. “Is there anything else that I can help you with today?” 

We used a version of this in my service businesses and it was amazing the projects we would uncover. For instance, we often learned that they were considering a remodel from this simple question.

Business services

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marylynnIf your business serves other businesses, the best way to find this out is the hard way – talk with them! This is what we do. It takes a lot of legwork to keep in touch with your customers at this level. But it’s the best way to find opportunities.

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Nobody likes to be sold. People like to buy.
Discover what your customers are trying to accomplish.
Uncover the problems they’re having getting there.
Then show them the solution you can provide and you’ll be a 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’ll celebrate a bigg milestone. Until then, here’s to your bigg success.

Subscribe to The Bigg Success Show in iTunes. 

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Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00519-111109.mp3

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(Image in today's post by LotusHead)

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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 888.455.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!

Subscribe to The Bigg Success Show in iTunes. 

Subscribe to the Bigg Success feed.

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

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(Image in today's post by xenxen)