Leveraging Your Company’s Hidden Assets – Part 1
You’re Probably Sitting On Tons Of Opportunities… And You Don’t Even Realize It!
Dozens of Money-Making Opportunities Are Sitting Right Under Your Nose. Learn How Find & Exploit Them
Note: I started writing this post and realized it was a lot longer than I anticipated when I started!
What an excellent topic it turned out to be. So I’m breaking this into two parts. This is part 1. Part two comes next week.
When it comes to lead generation and generating new business for companies, the discussion almost always focuses on advertising, internet marketing, shows, or all three.
And for good reason: these are the obvious places to find new customers that have reliably generated business for years.
But I’ve found that there are some FAR LESS OBVIOUS places to look for business that can be extremely profitable if you just know where to look. Most companies never realize that these opportunities even exist, or if they do, they don’t realize they are as fat and juicy as they actually are.
That’s why I call these “hidden assets.”
These are assets your company possesses that you might not even recognize. The purpose of this post is to identify what some of them are… and show you how to exploit them to your advantage.
Disclaimer: Not every hidden asset will apply to every company. And you may already be taking advantage of some of them. So read through this list with an open mind… and take notes as you go. I think you’ll find this to be a worthwhile endeavor.
Hidden Asset #1 – Past Customers: Yes, I know this is pretty obvious. And some of you reading this probably already do a pretty good job of getting more sales out of past customers. But in my experience, this is the #1 most fertile place to drum up sales, and it’s almost NEVER approached in a systematic way. Instead, most repeat business comes from old customers who happen to need something, happen to remember doing business with you before, and happen to call. There’s nothing “wrong” with that except it could be much better.
Getting Them To Buy Again: The first thing you should be doing is reselling your past customers.
The easiest way to do this is to gather an email list for them and send them monthly emails to remind them that you exist, and to poke them into thinking about other needs they might have. Yes, it costs time and money to do this, but so do all marketing activities. If you’re not doing EXACTLY what this paragraph says, I promise you that you’re making less money than you should.
Also consider selling a DIFFERENT product if you don’t right now—don’t get crazy with this… but if you can find something that ties in with what you do then do it. If you’re not sure, send out an email offering it to your customers and gauge the response. If it’s good, figure out how to sell and fulfill it.
Referrals: Same thing—you should be emailing monthly if you want to get referrals. Remember that the majority of referral opportunities are going to occur AFTER you did business with them, the customer is happy, and the subject of what you provide comes up in natural conversation with their friends. You have to keep in front of their faces OFTEN so they remember who you are so they can refer you over to those friends. Simple, yet almost ALWAYS neglected.
Surveys: I’m not necessarily talking about formal surveys that are emailed over to them (although those are good, too); I’m talking about talking to your customers specifically about what you do, how you can improve, what they like and don’t like, what their decision-making process was when choosing you, what other services they might buy from you (and when!), and so forth. Don’t be afraid to send somebody over there after the fact and just TALK to them. Pump them for information. Ask for honest feedback. Find out how you can improve—they know!!!
Hidden Asset #2 – Competitors – Cost Sharing: What if you found four or five companies that sold the same thing as you at about the same price as you and you got together, pooled your money, and ran a BIG CAMPAIGN. Naturally, you’d only want to associate this way with companies you trusted, and you’d have to find a way to split the leads up in an equitable way and you would probably want to form a formal alliance of some sort… BUT WHY NOT TRY THIS????? This is about thinking outside the box. Quit hating your competitors and start working with (some of) them to your mutual benefit!
Hidden Asset #3 – Current Customers – Upselling & Cross-Selling: I’ll keep this one short: you can make more money by selling more stuff to your customers at the point of sale. Obvious as it seems, very few companies put any effort into selling anything other than what the customer already expected to by going into the meeting.
Find something that you can package to increase the sales price and take home more profits.
Hidden Asset #4 – Past Prospects Who Didn’t Buy: Industry statistics say that 70% of prospects who don’t buy are going to end up buying from SOMEONE within twelve months. Yet most companies never attempt to proactively reach back out to unclosed leads and sell them again. They just assume that if their big, bad salespeople couldn’t get the job done, then the prospect must be “broke and/or stupid.”
The reality is different: the #1 reason prospects don’t buy right away is STICKER SHOCK! The amount they were expecting it to cost is less than you asked them for. In many cases, they CAN afford your price, and they WANT to do business with you. They just need time to come to grips with the price, or in some cases, save up the money. Your job, then, is to keep yourself in front of them and get them when they’re ready.
This is easily accomplished with a series of emails. But here’s the surprising part: you can actually afford to send WAY MORE mail than you think.
Hidden Asset #5 – Longevity In Business: I was talking to my mortgage guy last time I bought a house about eleven years ago. It was the third time I’d used him out of three houses bought, and as usual, I started quizzing him about his marketing. He had recently switched from a local phone number on his radio ads to a toll-free “vanity” number, and I wanted to know if he’d seen an uptick in response rates. He told me it was too soon to tell; check back with him later.
Then I asked him what his best marketing tool was—what single thing brought him the most business. His immediate response: “Being in business for over twenty years.” He explained that due to the repetitive nature of home buying, that I was the epitome of his typical customer with three homes bought (mortgages) in nine years. He said that new people were coming into the mortgage business all the time (it was 2004) and they left almost as fast as they showed up. He then boldly proclaimed that he could shut off ALL of his advertising for a FULL YEAR and still be the #1 volume (transactions and dollars) mortgage broker in the area. Why? Because he already has twenty years’ worth of people who automatically call him when they need a mortgage.
If you’ve been in business a long time, your phone is going to ring no matter what, just like his. But unfortunately, it could also be hurting you because your “automatic” sales are probably bringing down the average marketing cost you spend to find new customers. That probably means that your marketing cost as percentage of sales is actually LOWER than it should be.
Instead, you should use your longevity as a hidden asset. Instead of spending 3% on marketing, spend 10% on marketing. This will give you a HUGE, MASSIVE, GIGANTIC competitive advantage on everyone else, and will likely be the spark that takes you from where you are to where you want to be.
I’ve seen this scenario 1,000 times—old-school companies living off “repeat and referral” that are hindering their own growth because of reluctance to spend on marketing. Break the chains and leverage your hidden asset into big dollars!
That’s all for this time… next time we’ll cover four additional hidden assets, including relationships, expertise, identity, speed, and employees.
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