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Go Find Customers!!

With the economy slowing, arising from the global financial crisis, what should small and medium business do.  Should they batten down the hatches and wait for the storm to pass, or should they see this as an opportunity?  This article proposes that experience tells us that this is a great opportunity for all business.

The GFC is commonly known as an acronym for the Global Financial Crisis. We prefer the acronym of Go Find Customers!!

Businesses should consider the following key actions:-

Existing Customers
Your existing customers are gold.  You should take care of them, nurture them and ensure that they look after you.  Service them well and ensure that they are profitable, whilst at the same time, ensure that they pay you.
Other competitor's customers
Go find someone else's customers and make them yours.  Your suppliers won't have your attitude and will have battened down the hatches.  You haven't, so you have an edge.  You have changed your attitude and want to do profitable business with them.

Offer them things that you cannot buy, like service, delivery and advice.

Don't compete only on price
Price competition is a certain path to business death.  Everyone can compete on price.  Go back to those business differences that cannot be valued in money, like range, delivery or service.
Referrals
Ask your customers for direct referrals.  Customers like to be acknowledged and their opinions are important.  But do it in person.  Ensure that you speak to your customers every week where possible.  Develop customer loyalty by relationship reinforcement.

Visit your customers without trying to sell anything.  Relationships are not only about selling.

Use technology cleverly - avoid the delete key
Buy yourself a mailing list from someone like Listbank.  Not for the purpose of mailing, but identifying who is in the industry, area or business interest where you are.  Never email someone you don't know or have met.  The delete key is my best friend.
Contact management

Buy yourself some decent contact management software.  Keep track of who you or your staff see, speak to, visit and sell to.

Intelligent use of these systems means that you can better manage your sales force and know what you have told the customer last.

Spend money to make money
Your customers will buy from you in preference to your competitors for a number of reasons.  Price is just one of them.  If you make it the only reason, you will be back on the spiral of business death.  There will always be someone ready to undercut your prices.  So spend your money on those things that dollars cannot measure, like engaging sales people that can intelligently argue with your customers (note how drug companies employ doctors to sell their products to other doctors).
Summary

The Global Financial Crisis is great opportunity for small and medium businesses to increase their market share in the industries at little cost.  It means better managing staff, customers and relationships.

So Go Find Customers !!!

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