A weekly marketing column by Graham McGregor

Graham McGregor: Use what already works

Photo / Thinkstock
Photo / Thinkstock

A few years ago I was collecting some testimonials for a brand new marketing client who offers a personalised telephone answering service to a wide range of businesses.

One of their clients is a Hypnotherapist and he made a very interesting comment in his testimonial.

"Before I began using your services over 50 per cent of people who contacted me put the phone down when my answer phone kicked in. My business grew by 30 per cent as soon as I started using your personalised answer service. I now capture all enquiries. Your service is very affordable compared to the increase in new business I have gained by having my phone professionally answered 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I have increased the number of clients I have and improved the professional image of my business."

What struck me about this comment is how 'obvious' it is.

Most of us would rather speak to a real 'live' person when we phone any business and would prefer not to have to leave a message on voice mail or an answer phone.

And this comment also reminded me that you don't have to be clever or complicated (or spend a huge amount of money) to quickly improve your sales.

All this Hypnotherapist had to do to improve his sales was to make sure that anyone who phoned his business could speak to a real live person. So instead of 50 per cent of callers hanging up he now captured all of his enquiries and his sales went up by 30 per cent in the first month.

The main concept to think about this week is....'Use what already works'

Here's a good example:

A number of years ago, I was selling training seminars to businesspeople.

This company I worked for held a two-day convention in Palm Springs that they invited all their top salespeople to. They also invited me and my partner, even though we were not doing very well. During this convention, I had a chance to chat personally with the company's top salesperson.

I asked him "What are you doing to sell so many of these training seminars?"

He explained that he had put together a 25-minute educational presentation that gave salespeople tips on how to increase their sales. He made this presentation at group sales meetings. At the end of each presentation, he then gave a brief commercial plug for one of the training seminars he was selling. And because his educational presentation had been so useful, a lot of the salespeople decided to buy his seminar. Inspired by his success, I decided to give it a go. I used a small pocket tape recorder and taped his presentation. I then practiced it several times. Finally, I had my first chance to use it with a group of salespeople back in New Zealand. I used his words and phrases - and at the end of my presentation, I had more sales in one hour than I had made in the previous month.

This showed me that to improve sales just 'use what already works'.

"The great discoveries are usually obvious." - Phil Crosby

Action Exercise:
Here are two steps to use this idea in your own business.

1: Who are 3-5 other businesses in your field that might have some proven selling or marketing systems that you could use in your business? (Pick businesses in non-competing areas when answering this question.)

(So if you are a real estate agent in Auckland for instance, you might want to contact half a dozen real estate agents in other parts of the country.)

2: Contact some of these businesses and offer to share a couple of things that work well in your business to increase sales in exchange for them giving you a couple of things in their business that work well to increase sales.

You will be amazed at the simple and obvious ideas you get by doing this very simple exercise.

Graham McGregor is a marketing consultant and the creator of the 396 page 'Unfair Business Advantage Report.' www.theunfairbusinessadvantage.com (This is free and has now been read by business owners from 27 countries.) You can email him at the link above.

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A weekly marketing column by Graham McGregor

Graham has had 36 years 'hands on' experience in sales and marketing. He has sold a range of services including advertising, sales training, personal development, life insurance, IT services, investment property and business consulting services.

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