Stick to marketing basics to bring in business
Getting and Keeping Customers
While walking to work earlier this month I passed by my neighbourhood barber shop.
It’s one of those old-fashioned shops. Through the window I saw four vintage barber chairs in red vinyl and chrome, floor to ceiling mirrors and dozens of faded wall posters featuring men sporting fresh 1980s haircuts.
The proprietor of the shop wore a crisp white barber smock.
It was mid-morning and business was obviously slow because there wasn’t a single customer in the shop. The barber was sitting in the red vinyl chair and staring out the window.
He was waiting for a customer to walk in.
It bothered me that he was waiting around instead of taking action. Surely, there must be something he could do to stimulate sales. How could that barber better use his downtime to generate customers?
So, I pretended to be a barber and made a list of the things I would do to bring in business:
• Re-active lapsed accounts. I’d pour through my appointment book to call customers who haven’t been in for a haircut in a month or more.
• Build repeat business. I would develop the habit of scheduling a customer’s next appointment before they left the shop.
• Computerize. A simple Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system would allow me to organize appointments, build customer profiles and issue a friendly reminder email to customers.
• Improve customer service. For 15 minutes at the end of each day, I would pick up the phone to remind people about their appointment scheduled for tomorrow.
• Create a referral program. I’d offer one free haircut to anyone referred by a current customer.
• Create a trial offer. Since I’m not that busy cutting hair, I may as well offer free samples. So, I’d create a little coupon giving away a free haircut.
• Engage cross-promotion. I’d take that free-haircut coupon and ask neighbouring retailers to place it on their countertop. I would reciprocate by placing their promotional materials in my shop.
• Boost POS. I could build some shelves around my cash register to display relevant point-of-sale items such as brushes, combs, gels, hairspray, creams and other styling products. I’d ask the vendors of these products to provide some free samples to entice customers.
• Engage direct selling. I might even stand on the sidewalk in front of my barber shop and ask shaggy passersby if they’d like a quick haircut.
Business owners can’t afford to wait for customers to come to them. We’ve got to cover the rent, pay our employees and feed our loved ones – we must get out there and sell. Fortunately, there’s a long list of simple marketing and sales tactics available to drum up business. Innovation can mean just trying one.
Try Scotiabank’s interactive Sales & Marketing Tool to identify the right tactics to support your strategy for growth.
What’s your favourite technique to bring in business? Please share your suggestions below.
By Roger Pierce