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“How is the job hunting going?” I asked my friend Jay.

“Well, nobody seems to be offering me a job, so there’s no point in looking. Actually, I’m kind of hoping I can get my unemployment benefits extended.”

WOW! If my dad had heard that, he would’ve had a fit. He strongly believed that “Nobody owes you a job. So get out there and make it happen!” (And this was not a surprising attitude considering the tough working-class area in Havana, Cuba he came from.)

Throughout their lives, my parents taught me and my sister that it was entirely up to us to make our own way in the world – even if that world seemed to be crumbling down around us.

I remember the year my dad lost his job of 20 years. He was a maintenance man for a large apartment complex that went through a condo-conversion and they no longer needed the maintenance guys.

Times were tough!

But I also remember my parents’ sense of optimism and their determination to succeed, no matter what. The tougher things seemed to get, the more my parents “went out there” and doubled their efforts to find work.

Somehow, together, they made it happen.

So How This Can Help You and Your Business…

In lagging economic times – like right now – you may have fewer new customers or your existing customers may be spending less. Worse, you may feel that there’s nothing you can do about it.

As unfair as it may seem, you’re on your own.

Nobody is going to give you a bailout, nobody owes you a thing, and you have no right to anything except that which you create.

That sounds tough but it’s actually quite liberating – because you’re in full control over the direction you take with your business. What you decide to do is entirely up to you.

So my suggestion is to follow my dad’s advice and make this one of your New Year’s resolutions: “Get out there and make it happen!”

Use every means and every channel at your disposal to market your business and create new sales opportunities. Here are 7 things you can start doing today to “Make it happen”

  1. Endorsement Mailing Partnerships:
    One of the quickest ways to increase your customer base is to access a non-competing business’ customers with their endorsement. Having that company’s endorsement will greatly increase your chances of converting that customer to buying from you rather than a direct competitor.
  2. Change your target:
    If your current customers aren’t buying, then who is? I know, it isn’t as simple as that; but it’s not complicated either. You know, that handful of customers you don’t spend any time or money attracting. Does it make sense to go after them? Yes, of course, make them an offer especially when things slow down!
  3. Develop a list of your top 100 QUALIFIED Leads:
    Send an offer only to the targets that would make use of that offer. What’s the point in sending details of the latest sports car to a conservative family man who just purchased a family sedan?

Sending your marketing message to specific, targeted leads can increase your sales and customer database quickly.

  1. Change your message:
    It’s normally the “easy fix”, although I’d hesitate to call any of these easy. As your customers’ world changes, the reasons they buy changes with it. For example, service might be important during good times, something customers may be willing to pay a bit more for. When things are slow, price may become important.You get the idea. That really nice brochure you wrote years ago about service just might be falling on deaf ears today and contributing to your slowdown.
  1. Plan on monthly marketing campaigns:
    When things are slow, increase the percentage of your time spent on marketing and prospecting for new business. For instance, if you usually spend 10% of your time and energy on marketing and sales when things are fairly busy, increase this to 25% when things are slow. Make an extra effort to attract clients, follow up on leads, and close sales.

In fact, to prevent a drop in business from ever happening in the first place, market consistently and aggressively all year long, every week not just when you need the business. Planning ongoing monthly marketing campaigns ensures a steady stream of leads and sales.

  1. Develop a powerful USP (Unique Selling Position):
    Are you content to follow the herd? Step outside of your comfort zone and dare to lead rather than to follow. Set yourself apart from the competition by developing your own USP-unique selling position. Prospective customers MUST have a good reason to do business with you rather than your competition.

It could be your superior customer service, your lifetime refund policy, best prices or the outstanding quality of your products. You have absolutely no reason to worry about an economic slowdown or your competition once your customers ‘experience’ your USP. In fact, you can use your USP to eliminate your competitors.

  1. Host special events:
    This can be an excellent source of new business as well as being good fun. Arrange an event and invite your top customers and two guests. However, you must ensure that the events are interesting and have value to your customers.

A few examples could include: Special celebration lunch, A test drive, live demonstrations,  free seminar, VIP preview of new inventory or newest designs. The opportunities are endless. Remember though, there must be a benefit to the customers and guests otherwise you may be left high and dry!

Now you have 7 different ways to go out there and “Make It Happen”!

Robert Vico is one of the country’s top promotional experts teaching small businesses how to use the power of the $21 Billion dollar promotional products industry to flood their businesses with more prospects, clients and sales than they can handle. For a copy of our book, click here. If you’d like more information on how promotional products can help your business, call 305-888-7301.

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