Sticking to marketing basics to bring in business

While walking to work earlier this month I passed by my neighbourhood barber shop.

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.

Take action to stimulate sales

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?

What are some of the points you could implement to bring in business in this situation? Here are a few ideas.

Re-activate lapsed accounts

Pour through your appointment book and call customers who haven’t purchased from you in a while.

Build repeat business

Develop the habit of scheduling a customer’s next appointment before they leave your premises. Or in the case of online shopping, drop a discount voucher in their inbox to encourage a repeat purchase sooner rather than later.

Computerize your customer profiles

A simple Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system would allow you 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, you could pick up the phone and remind people about their appointments scheduled for the following day. Better still, set up a text alert system where tomorrow’s customers receive a reminder and can respond to let you know whether they’ll make it or not.

Create a referral program

You could offer a free product or service to anyone referred to you by a current customer – or to the person who referred them.

Create a trial offer

If you’re not that busy at certain times of the day or year, consider offering some free samples.

Engage cross-promotion

Create coupons and ask neighbouring retailers to place them on their countertops. You can also reciprocate by placing their promotional materials in your store.

Boost point-of-sale

Build some shelves around your cash register to display relevant point-of-sale items. Even ask the vendors of these products to provide some free samples to entice customers.

Engage direct selling

You could think about approaching people directly on the street and trying to sell directly to them – perhaps with the enticement of a discount.

Get out there and sell

As a business owner, you can’t afford to wait for customers to come to you. You need to get out there and sell, so you can:

  • Cover the rent.
  • Pay your employees.
  • Feed your loved ones.

Fortunately, there’s a long list of simple marketing and sales tactics available to drum up business. Innovation can mean just trying one.

Next steps