Last year I was sitting in my favorite recliner, a cup of hot coffee next to me, enjoying the morning paper when out of the blue my wife said, “I want to enlarge the deck this summer.” And she went back to her reading. You have to understand that my wife is a very informed person. She reads the paper daily, listens to talk radio, watches the 24/7 cable shows. She is well aware of the economic climate in which we live. And she is well aware of our finances, or in some cases lack of them.

So How Does This Short Conversation Relate To Business?

That short conversation created a motivated buyer — me. I began the budget process for the deck and also started the process of finding the right person to do the job. Somewhere out there was a carpenter or contractor who is trying his or her best to find someone like me: someone who has a need they can fill. Marketing is the process that will allow us to eventually meet.

Recession Ending Marketing

With I speak of “recession ending marketing,” I’m not talking about everyone. It would be great if the recession ends for everyone at the same time; but it just doesn’t work like that. But right now you just want to make it end for you. Here are some ways to make that happen.

  1. Perception of Value
    This deck project was not be matter of finding the lowest bidder, although I didn’t intend to overpay for the job either. I was looking for the best work at the best price.
    Not necessarily the lowest price but the best price. Through marketing, the contractor is going to have to build trust with me. If I don’t feel trust I will not request a bid. Some of the ways to build trust would include testimonials, photos of jobs similar to mine, licenses and membership in well-known building associations. I was a motivated buyer, so tell me how you can help me and make me feel confident in your work.
  2. Customers Change Direction
    Remember when gas was nearer to $4.00 a gallon? Did you change your driving habits? When gas got lower in price did you revert back to your old ways? Chances are you didn’t. You saw the value of changing bad habits improved your income.
    When the economy is challenged, we don’t give up the things we love, but we will alter our lifestyle based on our needs. Your marketing plan should reflect an understanding of these changes in lifestyle.
  3. Cut Waste
    It is easier to cut waste by 2 percent than to increase sales by the same number. The continued operation of the business is critical to both the owner and the employee. Every person in your business needs to realize that it’s a team effort. The more employees can do to cut waste the more secure their jobs will be. Your employees should be bringing in customers. Everyone knows someone who needs your products or services.
  4. Create a Plan of Action
    Take things a day at a time. What does it take to keep the doors open? If your average sale is $235.06, what would it take to get it to $250? We are only talking about $15 per customer. Sit down with your staff and create a plan to up your average sale. Are there add-on sales that are not being presented to customers? Do you know your sales staff’s closing ratio? If 100 people come in your business and 75 of them walk out without a purchase, something is definitely wrong. You need to know how many people are walking and how many are buying. Create a plan to track customers and communicate as to why they are leaving empty-handed.

Some Final Thoughts

Advertising guru Peter Drucker says, “A strategy is a sense of direction around which to improvise.” Your plans are always gong to be a work in progress. No one knows where the economy is going, but we do know that it will be changing day to day. Smart companies have the ability to adapt to their surroundings and market conditions. One smart company knew how to find me and today we have a bigger deck.

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