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|Seven Steps to Stop the Cash Flow Roller
Funnel Marketing is the Key
By Victoria Munro
Sometimes your sales are going through the roof and then suddenly they come to a halt, the work disappears and you must scramble to start your marketing cycle from scratch again. This economic roller coaster ride is all too common for small business owners.
Landing one or two very large clients can provide consistent work and cash flow but presents a potential danger, too. Putting all your eggs in one basket and focusing on these, while failing to prospect for new clients, isn’t always wise.
The roller coaster problem is compounded by the fact that small business owners are often required to wear many different hats at the same time: meeting deadlines, addressing client concerns or employee demands, and dealing with cash-flow issues. On top of this, there are personal and family matters, which can be inescapable when working from a home office.
When you’re busy and the business is humming along nicely, it’s easy to neglect the very thing that got the sales going in the first place. Then, when sales drop off, panic sets in again. How can you turn this feast-or-famine cycle into a smooth, stress-free ride?
The Solution: Seven Steps to Keeping Your Sales Pipeline Filled and Flowing
Picture your sales cycle as a funnel, wide at the top and narrow at the bottom. You need to keep as many prospective clients as possible entering the top of your funnel, then filtering down to your required number of new clients and signed contracts coming from the bottom. The idea is to always keep a constant stream of prospects entering your funnel.
Step One: Decide How Many New Customers or Sales
You Need Each Month
Be crystal clear about who you are marketing to. If you haven’t done so already, create a profile of your ideal customer.
Step Two: Understand Your Sales Cycle
Step Three: Select Activities to Meet Your Prospects
What sort of prospect-generating activities will work best for you, fit your personality and put you in front of your target clients?
Remember: When you’ve made these contacts, stay in touch with them, nurture them and keep your name in front of them.
Step Four: Your Sales-Cycle Timing
Step Five: Your Marketing Budget
Step Six: Decide on Your Marketing Strategy
Be selective: You can’t do everything, so choose a few activities that will work well for you.
Be realistic: Choose activities
that you will do without procrastinating. Know yourself, and if you
have issues that may sabotage your plan, you have two options:
Be creative: Don’t just stick with what is familiar or comfortable. Try something different – think outside the box. Choose more than one marketing approach.
Study other companies that are marketing successfully, talk to those responsible and find out what they’re doing, and how and why it’s working well for them.
Step Seven: Track Your Progress Regularly
After analyzing their marketing results, a maid service discovered that their expensive display ad in the Yellow Pages generated inquiries only during the peak season, when they were already working at maximum capacity. However, less-expensive, but attractive door hangers with a discount coupon produced long term clients in just the right neighborhoods, enabling their teams to be more efficient.
The Bottom Line: Balance and Consistency
About the Author: Victoria Munro is co-founder (along with husband Dave Block) of Make-it-Fly, a company dedicated to creating success for small-business owners through creatively designed programs and tools. Victoria has started and run nine different businesses. To receive FREE business success articles with tips to help you with your business, sign up for their award-winning ezine, “In-Flight Refueling,” at: LLCwww.Make-it-Fly.com, and receive a free copy of the eBook, Get More Done in Less Time: 101 Quick and Easy Time Tactics & Tips.
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