Increasing Short and Long Term Profits

"I was at your site for all of two minutes before I bought one of your manuals. I'm impressed!" I love to get emails like this one sent by Vicki from Tucson, Arizona. Marketing my business would be easy if every client bought my products within two minutes of seeing my marketing materials, or signed up for my coaching services after a few minutes on the phone with me.

Do you make most of your sales in 2 to 20 minutes from the time a prospect first reads your marketing copy, visits your web site or calls you?

Neither do I. I make approximately 10% of my sales at the time of first contact, but most prospects take weeks, months and, in some cases, years to become clients.

As I mentioned in my marketing blog, I track sales on the day I send out my marketing newsletter. Typically, orders for my books begin to come in within a couple of hours. Some will be from people who just found my web site and aren't even on my mailing list, others will be from prospects who signed up for my newsletter a couple of weeks ago, and still others will be from people who have been getting my marketing materials for a six months or even longer, sometimes as long as two years.

When Do People Buy?

Prospects buy from you when they know you exist, know which problems you solve, feel confident in your products or services and understand their value, and, most importantly, when they want to do something about their situation or are ready to solve a problem. Prospects looking for an immediate solution may buy your $149 product or $5000 service today, but most won't want to purchase it until next month or next year.

Increasing Profits

You need a marketing strategy that helps you increase immediate, short-term and long-term sales.

Does your current marketing strategy do this? Does it prompt people to buy from you the first time they visit your web site or call you, make a purchase a few weeks later and in some cases buy from you years after their first contact?

Would you like to improve your immediate, short-term and long-term sales? Below are marketing strategies you can use to accomplish this.

Making Immediate Sales

You want a prospect reading your marketing materials for the first time to immediately see you as an expert and understand the value of your products and services. Don't make the mistake of thinking the best way to do this is to describe products and services, credentials or list clients.

Introduce yourself with a marketing message that describes how you help your clients, phrased in terms of their concerns, not yours. Follow this with a few testimonials from clients that focus on the results you've generated.

Then describe the solution your product or service provides, again in terms of your prospect's needs. Finally, ask for a commitment, an order or contact information.

Generating Short Term Sales

Not everyone arrives at your web site or at the other end of the phone line ready to make a decision. In fact, 80% of people spend two or more weeks researching their purchasing decisions. What can you do to keep these people interested?

First, get your prospect's contact information. Stay in touch and continue to demonstrate your expertise and the value of your products and services.

You may have an interested prospect, but the prospect isn't clear on why or when they should use your product or service. When you follow up a prospect's initial contact, give them useful ideas they can use related to your product or service, and take advantage of this opportunity to educate them about the problem or concern you can help them resolve.

Improving Long Term Conversion Rates

I had one prospect that I'd talked to three or four times on the phone over the course of two months. When they didn't respond to two follow up calls, I stopped calling. Two months later, that is, four months after our first conversation, they called me to say that after researching a dozen other consultants, they'd finally decided to use my services and at the same time had expanded the scope of the project and the price I'd be paid. You've probably had similar experiences.

Some prospects take even longer than four months to make a decision to buy. Why? Because people buy based on their own timetable, not yours. They buy when they have a need and when they want to act on that need. Even after deciding you want a new tax attorney or financial advisor, it might take you years to end your relationship with your existing advisor and place your trust in someone new.

Most people use contact management software to remind themselves to call or write prospects. This is a first step in keeping a potential sale alive, but a strategy of using only follow up phone calls can fall flat when prospects don't have any news about a project to report, haven't made a decision or just aren't ready to make a purchase.

One effective strategy for staying in the "front of mind" of your prospects is to use a newsletter or ezine to continually demonstrate your expertise and remind them of ways you can help them. Send it out biweekly or monthly, and they'll remember you when they are ready to make a decision or a purchase.

To make sales today, next week and in months to come, give your prospects the information they need and the solutions they want immediately and continuously. Have a plan in place to follow up with those who don't purchase your goods and services right away. Keep providing the information they need to make a decision, and you'll increase sales and profits today, tomorrow and in the coming years.

The author, Charlie Cook, helps service professionals and small business owners attract more clients and be more successful. Sign up for the Free Marketing Plan eBook, for small business owners and people responsible for marketing, '7 Steps to get more clients and grow your business' at http://www.marketingforsuccess.com

2005 © In Mind Communications, LLC. All rights reserved.

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