Understand What Business You Are Actually In

"It’s the first company to build the mental position that has the upper hand, not the first company to make the product. IBM didn’t invent the computer; Sperry Rand did. But IBM was the first to build the computer position in the prospect’s mind." - Al Reis, 12 Immutable Laws of MarketingIt's probably not what you think

Ask a golf professional, club manager, or golf course owner what business they are in, and 99 times out of 100, they will get it wrong! They will say the golf business, the service business, the people business, the hospitality business, but rarely—and I ask this question to thousands of people a year—do they ever say what I consider to be the right answer. They are, of course, in the entertainment business!

Stop Wasting Money!

"Money is plentiful for those who understand the simple laws which govern its acquisition." - George Clason

A common mistake I see is companies wasting money in an effort to give equal resources to different parts of their business that may NOT deserve investment.

For example, when I first took over the marketing for a big resort in Michigan they had two distinct seasons, summer and winter. In the summer they marketed golf, and in the winter cross-county skiing and snowmobiling. While the marketing budget for the winter was smaller, it was still significant. But there was a problem. In the summer, with room rates higher, and people playing golf and eating and drinking, the average guest was spending $300 a day. In the winter, with room rates at rock bottom and rooms filled with snowmobilers who were out on trails all day, the average take was less than $100. A $200 difference in income.

After using direct mail and print ads for the first couple of winter seasons, we decided that the winter market was best left to email and the website, and that all the print and direct mail money would be redirected to increasing the summer business where margins were massively higher. It was hard for the client to accept, but to their credit they went with the new strategy and it paid off. (Of course, summer visitors become prospects for the winter season as well.) Another resort was losing money in the winter, so we told them to shut it down for two months in the winter. Again, a difficult decision for the owner but one that realized $300,000 to the bottom line with very little effort.

Don’t spend time, money, and resources in relatively unimportant parts of your business.

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Look for Holes in Your Market

Opportunity is a haughty goddess who wastes no time with those who are unprepared. - George Clason

Sam Walton became the world’s richest man in the 1990s using one fundamental strategy. He built his stores in smaller towns where his competition didn’t go because they thought there weren’t enough people to support a store. (Which just shows how wrong you can be.)

Southwest Airlines used the same initial strategy in building their company on less-traveled routes and secondary airports, where the gate fees were less.

I built a multimillion-dollar business in an industry no one had thought about—the karate business—that at its peak had 20,000 schools in the US alone. Earlier in my martial arts career, I had the only karate school in two different cities.

Where Are You Strongest

"Many a small thing has been made large by the right kind of advertising." - Mark Twain

In order to have a widely successful business it’s not necessary to be great at everything, but it is necessary that your business be superior in at least two of the following six areas.

Once in a while you will see a superior product take the world by storm or a restaurant opens in the perfect location, but for the most part you need to be good in at least two of the following areas.

Why Customers Leave

“There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.” – Sam Walton

Because of the nature of business, it’s easy to forget that if we do not meet the needs of customers, they will simply leave. If they leave with an unsolved problem, they are liable to tell a whole bunch of people about their problem.

Build Bridges!

Instead of loving your enemies, treat your friends a little better. - Ed Howe

Someone once said, “It takes less effort to keep an old customer satisfied than to get a new customer interested.” The final element of a great sales system is the follow-up. No matter what you are selling, your job doesn’t end the instant the client completes the purchase. You want your relationship with the customer to continue and grow stronger, so he will buy from you again and recommend you to friends.

Reinforce the Buying Decision
After you have made a sale, reinforce the buying decision immediately. Compliment the buyer’s choice by saying, very sincerely, something like, “Based on what you have told me, I’m sure your new exercise machine is exactly what you need to get in great shape. I know you are going to be very happy with it.” In other words, reassure your customer that the decision to buy your product, rather than one offered by anyone else, is an excellent one. Be sure to thank them for their business; they had a choice and they chose you.