top tips for low cost and no cost business growth

No one likes to miss out on an opportunity but you could be losing £££s of business by not managing your customer data properly.  Even worse, you might be letting that valuable data slip through your fingers.

This simple checklist (below) helps you quickly gets your business lined up to root out more business opportunities, at low or even no cost. And as a regular adviser to specialist contractors in the construction and engineering industries, I am a great advocate of ‘no cost’ and ‘low cost’ approaches to business developments that you can do yourself.

And the starting point lies on your desk drawers and your car door pockets – all those business cards you’ve collected over the years. They represent a goldmine, so let’s get digging and here’s how. checklist for database marketing

1.       Find all those business cards you and your colleagues have collected

2.       Create a simple database

3.       Use simple fields to make using it easy

4.       Enter the information

5.       Identify who’s going to manage the relationship with which contact

6.       Agree a contact plan

7.       Give contacts a ring to ensure they are still in post and want/need your information!

8.       Understand what messages you want to give your target contacts

9.       Communicate with your contacts by calling, writing or emailing them

10.   Use it regularly to sell, sell, sell!

As direct sales guru, Jim Rohm, said, “To succeed in sales, simply talk to lots of people every day. And here’s what’s exciting – there are lots of people”

To help you further, I have expanded slightly on each the checklist points above.

Find those cards: Business cards have actually cost you time and money to get and they could represent lots of new business.  So find them from people across your business, and encourage people to capture new names all the time.

Create your database.  You don’t need a highly sophisticated database – an Excel spread sheet will do perfectly.

Use simple fields. As a minimum, include fields for first name, last name, job title, business name, address and postcode, email address, telephone number, business function and the last date of contact.

Enter the information. Use a good typist. You don’t like to see your own name misspelt, after all.

Who’s going to manage each relationship? Ever had one visit from a company, only to have someone else from the same business call just a week later? Avoid looking clumsy and wasting cost, by knowing who’s calling who.

Agree a contact plan. You can’t contact everyone, and some opportunities may be higher priority than others, so agree the plan.

Do they want you? Do give contacts a quick ring to ensure they are still in post and want/need your information. This very simple process has two benefits. One, it enables you to ‘clean’* the data, because if some of your contacts are quite old they may have moved on – lists go out of date remarkably quickly – and two, it lets the people on the list know that you are serious about marketing to them and will keep them informed of new developments or new products relating to your business.

Understand what messages you want to give your target contacts. Talk about the right topic in the right way to the right person, so spend a few minutes sorting that out first.

Communicate with your contacts by calling, writing or emailing them. Different people prefer different approaches. You can try different methods and see how effective they all are.  For instance, you can send a sales letter or an email highlighting a problem you expect them to have and explain how you have solved it for others and can solve it for them too!

Use it regularly to sell, sell, sell. Having put a little effort into creating a very powerful database, you will gain most value by using it to drive business prospecting and keeping it up to date.

Successful companies who use a database also keep a record of who they have contacted or spoken to, when and what they said.

What if someone doesn’t respond? Don’t strike them off the database and don’t be put off. If someone doesn’t respond to your mailings or e-shots, it doesn’t mean they are not interested. It means that they do not have an immediate need. They may be interested later, so keep the process moving.

To confirm, this is a superb ‘no cost, low cost’ way to expand your database and hopefully, generate new sales as you build and renew those relationships with your customers and prospects.

And remember Jim Rohm! There are lots of people to talk to!

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