Latest posts by Stacy Karacostas (see all)
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What with the economy and unemployment numbers still not rebounding, a lot of businesses have been hit hard where it hurts. They’re struggling to get clients and make sales with the same old products and services, and the same old sales and marketing tactics.
It’s no big secret consumers and businesses are spending less on non-essentials, watching budgets and cutting costs more. But this is just the obvious tip of the iceberg.
People’s buying habits and priorities are shifting across the board, across the country and around the world. Most simply aren’t buying the same things, in the same way, that they used to.
If this hasn’t impacted your business yet, it probably will. Especially since chances of the economy rebounding soon are slim. And even if it does rebound, many of the shifts and trends occurring are only just now gaining momentum that even an improving economy isn’t going to stop.
These shifts and trends are going to change people’s buying habits over the long haul. It’s your job as an entrepreneur to make changes and deal with it!
What can you do about it?
Well, first off you have to be willing to accept change, and change your business accordingly, or someone else will grab your share of the market.
So decide which changes might impact you. Then start looking for ways to turn these into advantages for your business. (Just don’t want to wait too long to do it.)
To help you get started, here are a few specific ideas to consider implementing…
Sales cycles, especially for more expensive items, are getting longer. Plus people are far less likely to buy from you the first time they visit your Website—regardless of price. So give them reasons to come back like updated blog content. And create a way for you to stay in touch by offering something in exchange for their email address, then sending out a regular ezine. This gives prospects a chance to sample your wares and get to know you better. Plus it positions you as an expert and keeps your name and message in front of them until they are ready to buy.
Deliver your products and services via every possible medium. If you sell audios offer them with transcripts in both electronic and print versions. Record and repackage live workshops as do-it-yourself programs. Or offer them virtually over the phone or Web. If you’re used to doing everything live and in-person with clients, try adding virtual options via forums, SKYPE calls, or phone conferences. If everything you do is virtual, add more personal touches like live visits, phone calls, and thank you cards.
Increase Payment Options.
If you sell online, offer PayPal as well as a dedicated, verified shopping cart that processes credit cards. Some people only shop using PayPal while others won’t touch it. For higher priced items and programs, offer payment plans or split payments. My husband and I bought much more expensive ski passes this year because they had a 3-pay option that made it affordable.
Bundle products or services together into nifty packages with catchy names. Create a continuity or membership program where people pay for access, information or ongoing help. Or give a discount for buying multiple items, visits or calls up front, instead of just offering pay as you go.
Offer a Guarantee.
A serious guarantee reduces risk, giving people more confidence in making a buying decision.
Limited time offers. Limited seats. Deadlines. Special deals for taking action now. Bonuses. Credits. All of these can encourage someone to buy now.
Expand to a New Market.
Maybe your old target market isn’t buying what you’re selling anymore, but somebody else might be.
Find someone with complementary products or services and find ways to work together, support each other, or market to each other’s lists.
Again, these are just a few ideas to get you started. It doesn’t matter what you decide to do differently. What matters is that you take action and make changes now—before it’s too late.