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Sunday, April 13, 2008

Do You Stand Out Enough?

In today’s extremely competitive environment, your business design and marketing concepts need to make potential clients stop dead in their tracks. Whether its web design, graphic design, book launches or publicity,your print, radio, and TV advertisements need to scream, “Look at me!” Your website should be so unique that all the visitors will bookmark your site and tell all their friends to check you out!Here are some great ways to stand out from the competition:
  1. Your business cards are prime real estate to display what you do. If you’re a design company for example, develop an artsy card that illustrates your design abilities.
  2. Business signage should be prominent from the street with big fonts and bold colors to make drivers turn their heads as they drive by.
  3. At a trade show run a great contest, give away free samples of your work, have demonstrations of your product and design the booth to be interactive so attendees will be lured in.
Put yourself in your clients’ shoes - would you drop what you’re doing to take a second glance at your own marketing material? Every marketing initiative you implement must yield great results - so grab the attention of your target audience today through amazing branding, website design, web pages, and advertisements.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Know When To Walk Away from Time Wasting Customers

I recently attended a marketing networking group and one of the ladies I was chatting with brought up the subject of a customer that she felt was high maintenance and took up way too much of her time. It prompted me to think about whether business owners even know what the signs for spotting such a customer are, and what to do when that kind of situation arises. The subject is very open to interpretation depending on what kind of business you run.

The first year or two in operation business owners are eager to take on any new customers that come their way - no matter what the consequences. There is little thought given to who they are, or their business ethics. Having new customers flock to your business and improving your bottom line is great, but what you may find is that the time and money required to satisfy and service these high maintenance individuals is not always worth it. You can’t take on everyone as a customer because not all people are a good fit for your business. In discussing the subject with several business owners, here are some agreed upon signs to consider when deciding whether it’s time to move on from an established or potential customer:
  • When they refer to another companies’ price for services, while bringing up their objections with working with you, after you’ve addressed all their concerns- it’s time to move on.
  • It takes an unusually long time to close the sale with them
  • When all the customer cares about is price and nothing else
  • Once you begin working with them, they request extra advice that is outside the realm of your staff roles and services offered. They also expect free tutorials and request free hourly updates.
  • The customer complains about the work your business does for them - but they keep coming back to work with you!
Sometimes owners automatically assume these types of people may be their top paying customer just because they take so much of their time, when in fact, they don’t even fit into this category. Be sure to have a good look at your sales numbers to see who your top paying customer is and stick to focusing your energy and wonderful service on these people.

I spoke with business owners from Edmonton and Calgary, and all of them agreed that when you get a gut instinct about a person, it ends up being the best choice to follow that feeling. Gently inform your established or potential client that you are not sure that your company is the right fit for them and refer them to another organization that may be more suited to help them out. If you have nothing to gain from working with these people – then make the decision to move on- you won’t regret it!