Friday, June 21, 2024

Do What You Always Do and You’ll Get What You Always Got

There used to be a computer game called ‘Leisure Suit Larry – Looking for Love in all the Wrong Places.’ How appropriate that concept is to the vast majority of businesses: they are looking for customers in all the wrong places.

There is a famous true story about a Chiropractor who built a million dollar practice, sold it, then went right ahead and built another million dollar practice. He generated more new clients each month than most Chiropractors manage to generate in a year.

When asked what his secret was he answered: “I don’t know how to get 100 new clients in one go, but I do know 100 ways to get one new client. I just use them all.”

What can we all do to build our businesses in this way?

There are a five ‘key strategies’ every business should be making maximum use of:

1. Product excellence: if you sell poor quality goods and services, you will probably find it hard to get new customers. The power of negative word of mouth is mighty indeed.

2. Customer service: bend over backwards to please your customers and they will bend over backwards to recommend you to their friends. Get it wrong and prepare to incur their vindictive wrath.

3. Persuasive offer: people like to be sold to. The more you can dress your product or service up in fine silk and satin garments the more they will want to buy from you. Even if what you are selling is exactly the same as Joe Schmo down the road, if your is better dressed, yours will impress. What is this finery I am talking about? Benefits. Wrap up what you sell in its Sunday-best benefits suit and it will take on an aura of quality that is irresistible.

4. Customer contact: relationship marketing is the buzz-word at the moment, and that pretty much sums it up. I can never understand why so many businesses think they are exempt from this astonishingly powerful marketing technique. Rule number one for every business, whether it is a local baker, a mom and pop grocery store, an Internet marketing company or a multinational corporation is to collect the names of the people who buy from you. If you don’t do it, every customer (or even browser) who walks away from you is a lost opportunity. You are literally throwing money away.

5. Added value: also known as the ‘irresistible offer.’ A guy called Bob Stupak turned a run down slots-parlor in Las Vegas into a fantastically successful hotel/casino. He went on to build The Stratosphere hotel resort at the end of the Las Vegas Strip. He used all of the five key strategies, but in particular was a master of the irresistible offer. He said: ‘pay me $396 right now, and I will give you two nights in a deluxe room, unlimited free cocktails, free champagne, free show tickets, restaurant discount vouchers, AND $1000 of MY money to gamble with.’ Of course, it worked a dream.

Each of these ‘key strategies’ is vital to any business if it is to succeed and thrive. But, assuming you have followed each and every one of them faithfully, you still have to get new punters through your door every day. And word of mouth – no matter how powerful it is – is only one way of getting new customers.

The true value in the story about the Chiropractor is in the powerful concept of doing new things all the time.

Most businesses, if they bother to promote themselves at all, follow a very narrow path. They do the same things over and over, and wonder why they keep getting the same results.

“If you do the same things today as you did yesterday, don’t be surprised if tomorrow never comes.”

Every business should set aside some time each week to find a new promotional idea. Many of them won’t work, but when they do … boy, listen to the till going ka- ching!

There is a bookstore in my local town. The owner has a truly awful position, tucked away off the main street. Most bookstores rely on bestsellers to drive traffic into the store, and passing trade. This guy doesn’t get much passing trade. Yet his business is thriving.

How does he do it? He has a deal with the local cinema and offers cheap movie tickets if customers buy the novel. He takes time to visit local schools and does book readings – and he gives the schools a cut of the profits. He gets every customer’s name who comes into the store (wherever possible) and sends out a monthly newsletter with great special offers. He does dozens of other things too, but most importantly, he multiplies himself.

Knowing he has a small store in a side street, the one thing he lacks is a highly visible shop window. Most people would be put off by that fact alone and give up – or never open in that position in the first place. Not this guy. He looks for ways to joint-venture with as many shops in the High Street as he can. He offers the other shop keepers free ads in the newsletter in exchange for a small window display. He puts flyers in the books he sells for other stores in exchange for window space. He creates special displays for other stores with books relevant to what they sell (travel books for the travel agent, for example). The result is that this tiny little back-street bookshop has more High Street shop windows driving traffic his way than almost any other business in town. And in doesn’t cost him a penny.

This is the real secret to getting new customers: thinking outside the box. And it applies to just about any business you can think of.

“Do what you always do, and you’ll get what you always got.”

Martin Avis is the author of the best-selling ‘Unlock the Secrets of Private Label eBooks’ – a complete blueprint to private label rights success. Visit to see how you can tap into this goldmine for yourself.

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