Raise your prices.
When was the last time you looked at your pricing? When you started your business? The inflation of the US Dollar was 2.1% on average annually from 2000-2021, so to at least keep up with the value of the Dollar, you should raise your prices. Not to mention changes in taxes, local regulations, labor costs, the cost of living, and healthcare. If you sell something for $100, customers will be fine paying $102 for it. Add a reminder to your calendar to increase prices every year. A price increase may cause you to lose some customers, and that’s okay, you’ll replace them with higher paying customers. Your first goal in business is to stay in business, not give away services. Don’t merely survive, thrive!
Put a “buy” button on the first page of your website.
Make it as easy as possible for me to become your customer. Selling additional products or services to an existing customer is much easier than selling to someone for the first time – so make it easy for me to make the first purchase and have a positive experience with your company. Note – you can have any call to action on the first page; maybe it’s “Schedule a Tour” or “Talk to an Expert” – it doesn’t have to say “Buy” – but the point is – get people in the door. Work to eliminate hoops for your customers. Can they fill out your 19-question survey later? Must they provide every piece of information right now? What is the least amount of information you need from them? A phone number or email address and a credit card number? That’s a great start! Pressing the fast-forward button on getting new customers hopefully will cause you to rethink how you’re on-boarding clients. Make it easier. Netflix is a great example. They ask for your email address, ask you to pick a service, and enter your credit card number. Starbucks is another great example; walk-in, pick a coffee (and maybe a high-calorie snack) and pay. If a person can’t become your customer in 5 minutes, you have a broken process. Note – Your signup method cannot require context switching. If someone is talking to you on the phone, don’t tell them to go to your website. If someone is on your website, don’t ask them to email you or print something – finish the sale using the same communication method or medium it was started with.
Make recurring payments part of your business model.
It’s easier to sell to an existing customer and even easier to charge a credit card every week, month, or year. Editor’s note – if your business doesn’t accept credit cards, you’re turning away buyers. Many processors offer insurance. is you’ve been burned by a chargeback / dispute.
Is your business seasonal? If your customers pay $500 for you to file their taxes or replace the mulch in their yard (these are just random examples, roll with it) rather than charging your customers $500 at the time of delivery, what if you break that into 12 payments and spread it over the year? Being mindful of the time value of money, let’s increase your pricing by 2% first. Now we’re at $510/12 months = $42.5 per month. That’s much easier for customers to swallow, and levels out the peaks and valleys of your revenue flow!
Make it easier for customers to reach you.
My favorite personal trainers in Castle Rock, Colorado have the dreaded double number on their website. Instant confusion. Which number do I call or text if I want to sign up? Deliver an appliance? Ask for a refund? Inquire about the parking?
FedEx has one number. 1-800-GO-FEDEX. Be like FedEx. Make it as easy as possible for me to become or remain your customer.
Can your customers send your business text messages? Do you have one cell phone you pass around, or how does your staff reply to messages? I recommend Availa for business text messaging for your whole team. Everyone gets the app on their device, and everyone can see the conversation so customers are answered quickly.
Embrace your Unique Selling Proposition.
What sets you apart from your competitors? Do your customers know that? Lean in to what makes your business different from others in your market. One way to do this is to stake your claim on an extreme. Maybe you have the coldest ice cream or the shortest lines or the loudest stereos. Lowest prices? (It gets attention but may not be sustainable in the long-term; I suggest you try again) Also watch out for anything which could be conveyed on a coupon – 20% off is not a Unique Selling Point. The strongest coffee? Unique. Check out Death Wish Coffee Co.
Bonus Question! What is your industry going to look like in 5 years?
What changes will occur – to your customers’ lifestyle, to your services, products, suppliers, employees, to your company? Building a business is for the long-term. Ensure every decision is getting you closer to where you’ll need to be in the future. Daily progress and incremental improvement may not be enough – sorry to add one more thing to your plate – imagine calling taxi providers years ago, before Uber. Or people renting their 2nd homes, before Airbnb. Let me put it another way, as if we’re all dinosaurs – how will you thrive after the next asteroid?
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