Best marketing and management ideas for 2020.
20 Questions 63 Answers
from Linwood Austin Adman
1. Name one way to head off labor disputes before they begin? (See #20)
2. How can you double your sales without doubling your sales effort? (See #19)
3. Name 6 “Quick-Fix” cash-flow ideas? (see # 51)
4. What three question should you always ask before deciding when, where and how to advertise? (see #10)
5. What message must every employee understand to make company profits skyrocket? (See #23)
6. What’s the easiest way to keep your suppliers up-to-date on your company’s needs? (see #30)
7. How do you add to your sales force without adding to your payroll. (see #1)
8. How can you increase profits without increasing sales? (See #45)
9. How can you solve customer service problems faster? (See #48)
10. What is the easiest way to reach company goals? (See #41)
11. What is the most profitable event for any business? (See #21)
12. What act of kindness can you do to boost sales and give you long term strength in the marketplace. (See #16)
13. How can you guarantee your customer will enjoy his/her buying experience with you? (See #55)
14. What one mistake could mean the destructions of your company? (See #57)
15. What management method will give you the quickest insight into new profit zones? (See #49)
16. How can you learn what your customers really want? (See #3)
17. What is the most important aspect of any value or service? (See #8)
18. Is your buyer different than your user? (See #10)
19. What’s the best way to spread “word-of-mouth” advertising? (See #26)
20. What can you learn from the “hawkers” at the county fairs? (See #52)
What you are about to read may surprise you.
First, you may wonder why we would be willing to reveal so much information for FREE.
Second, you’re sure to find many problems, solutions and situations here that fit your company’s needs.
Third, you probably felt that no one knows your business like you do. But we specialize in the business of business. We’re here to solve problems. Cash-flow problems. Management problems. Marketing problems. Problems with employees… with customers… with product development… with partners. Problems with sales. Even problems with production.
In most cases, a company’s problem is made even worse because it is hidden in years of company tradition, ego or lack of understanding.
The problems may be hidden or obvious. They may be subtle or out in the open. They may be know only to you, or the may be known by everyone but you.
It doesn’t matter. The problems are bleeding off vital profits. They are choking need decisions. They are keeping customers from doing business with you.
We’re talking about the kind of problems that give your competitors a definite advantage. Problems that keep your company from expanding. Problems that could lead your company straight into bankruptcy if left unchecked.
You may have one or many the following problems and not know it.
We urge you to read the following message then call us.
We’ve helped many companies just like yours. We’ve help by increasing sales and profits, or by cutting costs, waste, and unneeded expenses. “Cash Flow Is King, Leverage is Queen.” Let’s Begin….
1. Make every employee a salesman.
It’s surprising how much money can come into a company when each employee takes on a new attitude of service. Offering them a reward for an activity that leads to increase sales is usually pennies on the dollar when compared to sales brought in by advertising or other marketing channels.
2. Listen to your old customers.
Part of our famous “Quicky Check-up” is to find out how your old customers feel. Most often they speak with their feet. If they are no longer buying from you… why? Did you not fulfill their expectations? Did a competitor offer then something more attractive? Have things changed in your company for the better… yet they don’t know. Your in business for them. You remain profitable as long as you can ethically exploit the relationship between you and your old customers.
3. Invite customers to your brainstorming sessions.
You never know what they’re going to say. But you can almost bet if someone has a complaint with your product or service, 10 others “thought” about it but kept silent. We’ve found that customers are the best source of “cutting edge” information and directions of a company. One of our clients got an idea from a customer at a brainstorming session which led to a 9% increase in gross sales. This can be thrilling.
4. Find out why your employees have a “9-to-5” mentality.
The 9-to-5 mentality can cost your company thousands or millions of dollars in added profit. If your employees see in you a willingness to “go the extra mile” they can more easily follow. But don’t expect them to care about your customers if you don’t care.
5. Keep up with the innovations in your industry.
We’re not suggesting just “keep up with the Jones.” New technology that makes production easier, keeps customers happier, reduces overhead and boost cash-flow is not an expense. It is a vital asset. We have seen scores of case histories where a little improvement has brought about radical changes in customer buying habits, distribution and profitability. In some cases the changes wiped out competition altogether. We’d be glad to share some of these case histories with you.
6. Track your customers’ buying patterns.
We’re often surprised at how many fairly large companies do not keep records on who buys what, when, and where. Proper records can help you reduce excess inventory, spot market trends, make accurate decisions and create new marketing opportunities. A customer’s buying habits is one of the most valuable pieces of knowledge you can have.
7. Raise your prices.
You may be selling your product or service for too low a price. We’ve guided some clients into raising prices. They were amazed at what happened. The quality of their customers increased. They were able to offer more service. They had less headaches and more profitability.
8. Raise the PERCIEVED VALUE of your product or service.
What your customer perceives is vital to your success. By repackaging your product with additional benefits or services it’ll suddenly take on a whole new value. Doing this with your product or service may take some skill and creativity. But it could mean an increase of up to 17% or more in sales.
9. Discover what your customers are really buying-
Many of our clients see an immediate boost in sales when we show them what their customers are really buying… CUSTOMERS BUY ONLY TO GAIN BENEFITS. Sure you product may have the most expensive paint job. But a customer buys BEAUTY, not a paint job. A benefit is beauty, comfort, more security, greater wealth, longer life, etc. Benefits must be pointed out in all your sales and marketing communications. A product’s features may lead to benefits. But you should never assume that your prospective buyer will automatically understand the benefits he/she will gain from your product. What benefits are they really seeking? What problems are they trying to solve? What hot buttons do they want pushed? When you discover this you’ve discovered a “license to print money.”
10. Make your advertising speak to the right buyer.
The biggest difficulty we’ve found in some companies is that they are wasting tons of advertising money aimed at the wrong audience. They make ads aimed at the end user… not the true decision maker. Example: Take the case of the airline who with the right kind of directions sent a single rose to the secretary of the top executives in New York on a weekly basis. The executive says to the secretary “book me a flight to such and such city.” It is the secretary’s choice of carriers. Her boss is the end user, but she is the true decision-maker in this case. So, we propose these three questions…
1. Who makes and influences the buying decisions?
2. What factors influence them in making those buying decisions?
3. How may these factors be brought to focus effectively?
11. Get Out of Your Employees’ Way.
Believe it or not, your employees may want to do a better job than you’ll let them. Oftentimes we’ve found that employees are more in touch with customers’ needs and wants than you may think. We’ve recommended giving employees more Power… Power to make decisions. The Power to solve problems. The Power to use their brains to bring about a real change in customer service, production, or fulfillment. It’s not an easy thing to step into, but the results will amaze you.
12. Raise the Standard.
Inspire, motivate and provide leadership to frontline employees. We’re talking about a major breakthrough in results. When frontline employees see your dedication to service, quality and going the extra mile, they are more apt to follow. We’ve seen companies become industry leaders almost overnight when a new standard of leadership was provided.
13. Up Sell, Cross Sell and Resell.
No matter how many potential customers there are out there, the most valuable customer is the one who is buying now and if he’ll buy the Super Model, he just might buy the Super Duper Model as well.
If he bought the Blue Widgets, why not see if the Green Gizmo will also serve him and if he bought once, shouldn’t you go to great lengths to make sure he buys again?! This customer is different from anybody else in the world.
1. He’s interested in your product.
2. He has the money.
These two facts separate him from the crowd. Not everyone is interested in your product. If they were, your problems would be over. You’d be amazed at the increased cash flow when you begin to Up Sell, Cross Sell and resell your customers.
14. Develop a Unique Selling Proposition (USP).
To fully understand this concept and its profit potential, we recommend Rosser Reeves’ book, Reality in Advertising. Simply put, a Unique Selling Proposition is what makes you different from your competition. You cannot be “all things to all men,” so to speak. There must be one area where you stand out above the competition. Every person in your organization should know your Unique Selling Proposition. Every ad, every piece of sales literature should reflect this USP. Many business failures can be traced to its absence.
15. Raise Old Ads from the Dead.
Some ads outpull other ads. If an ad pulled big results for you, you should keep running it as long as it keeps working for you. Why reinvent the wheel? Dig back into your files. Dust off that PROVEN PROFIT MAKER and run it again.
16. Follow Up Every Sale with a Handwritten Thank-You Note.
There’s a lot of marketing wisdom in this suggestion. Business is more than just products and distribution. Business is about People and their feelings.
17. Stop Sending Christmas Cards.
Here’s a fresh idea. Send St. Patrick’s Day cards to your customers. Also send Valentine’s Day cards. Happy Summer cards. Send them a pumpkin at Thanksgiving. They should hear from you every 30 days in some new way. Christmas cards get lost in the clutter of the season. And once a year, send a “thank-you” note listing all of your customers. This will make them feel like part of a special club.
18. Make Customer Service the Only Focus of Your Company.
In fact, we suggest that your company treat all customers/clients, employees and suppliers as if they were your best customer. As long as you believe your company is a place where prospects can buy your product or service IF they want it … you’re skirting failure. Customer loyalty is not a free gift. It has to be earned.
19. Look for Parallel Marketing Opportunities.
Are you a retailer who could move into mail-order? Do you have a distribution system that could handle ancillary products? There are 22 marketing channels you could take advantage of. How many of these are you exploiting now?
20. Use This Method to Head Off Labor Disputes Before They Happen.
Every month, post a simplified P&L statement in a conspicuous place. Not only will your employees feel a sense of pride when, as a team, you are profitable, but they’ll also surprise you with good ideas to cut waste and boost profits in your down times, as well.
21. Aim for the Jugular Vein—the Second Sale.
In almost every industry, the first sale is never as profitable as the second sale. The first sale costs hundreds, maybe thousands, of dollars to woo the customer to buy—(wages and salaries, advertising costs, inventory, overhead, etc.) The second sale to the same customer may cost as little as a 19-cent postcard offering a special deal for repeat customers. Repeat Business is the Golden Profit Center of All Business. If you’re not getting the repeat business, you’ll want to find out why—and then correct the problem.
22. Make Doing Business with Your Firm Easy, Appealing, Desirable AND Fun.
Not only will you increase profits, but you’ll have more fun, too!
23. Who Really Signs the Pay Checks?
As long as employees believe that you sign their checks, they will put forth their best effort only when you are looking over their shoulder. Once they learn the customer is the True Boss, they’ll develop a natural desire to please the customer—because it is the customer, not you, who determines the pay raises, paid vacations, benefits, etc.
24. Clone Yourself.
Never do anything yourself that you can get somebody else to do for you, especially if they can do it as well as you can—or better. Your productivity greatly increases when you focus on what you can do better than others. Next, train someone to think the way you do, someone who can take on many, if not all, of your responsibilities.
This is not an easy thing to do. But there’s a lot of profit potential, expandability and freedom in it.
25. Look for Solutions in What You Already Have.
The grass does look greener in someone else’s yard. But we are specialists in finding overlooked assets in almost any company. It’s nice to have a ton of money in the bank. But that’s just one asset. Your employees, your customer list, your sales records, your marketing, your timing, and more, are quite often more important than money in the bank.
Example: A salaried salesman costs you the same whether he brings in one buyer a day or 10 buyers a day. An ad costs you the same in media whether it draws 10 replies or 10,000 replies. Yet properly tuned, these two assets can bring maximum returns for the same costs.
26. Adopt a Liberal Return Policy.
I know this is hard to swallow, but our experience shows that a liberal return policy is a literal gold mine. Some customers may take advantage of you, but your important customers will richly reward you for it. You acquire their loyalty. And they’ll spread your name to their friends, who will buy from you, as well.
27. Educate Your Employees.
They should learn something new every day—New things about customer service, selling, product development, company history, customer history. They should regularly be given books, tapes, articles, etc., from which to learn. They’ll become more valuable to you—and themselves. They’ll find more satisfaction in your employ.
28. Educate your Customers.
In 1925, Schlitz Beer went from 5th place to 1st place in the beer wars by running lengthy 8-page ads. The ads told of the great lengths Schlitz went to and the trouble they took to make a pure beer—2,000-foot deep wells for the purest water, 1,200 yeast cells for the right yeast. Steam cleaned walls and bottles twice a day and so on and so forth.
The amazing thing was that all commercial beer was made that way. But they were the first to describe how they did it. Their competitors’ advertising merely cried PURE in big block letters that sometimes took up two pages. Schlitz pre-empted the market and made it impossible for competitors to imitate the Schlitz ad without looking like copycats.
Today, in most industries, the situation is the same. The customer does not know that you and your competitors take many steps to ensure quality, quantity, fair price, good value, etc. If you are the first to educate the customer, you will have the customers’ confidence—and your competitor will come across as a “me-too.”
29. Let Your Customers Educate You.
Often we see a great turnaround when we show our clients how to approach customers and ask for their help and advice. In fact, sometimes we see a complete industry change using this technique. The profit potential is enormous.
30. Send Your Salespeople to Lunch with Suppliers.
It’s amazing what they both will learn. We’ve seen it turn into a hotbed of new ideas for increased sales and product improvement.
31. Set the House A-Fire with Regular Staff Meetings.
The business world can be a land of chaos. Instill some order with staff meetings. They’re beneficial both for you and your employees. What is the company up to? What is the competition up to? Who’s selling what? Who’s got a complaint? What’s the new product about? Who takes the next vacations? Staff meetings provide a good way to take your company’s pulse. Make sure everyone attends.
32. Reward the Thinkers, the Shakers and the Movers.
If you’re serious about your employees’ input, then be prepared to reward them for ideas or actions that save the company money, increase sales, or make your operations smoother, etc. Make it a cash reward in public. Prove that you want employees’ input.
33. Don’t Hire a Watch Dog and Then Bark Yourself.
You can’t be an expert in everything. Sometimes you have to hire talent–be it a lawyer, banker, accountant, or consultant. Expertise in a given field is usually well worth the price. It will often save you a ton of headaches, if nothing else.
34. Pack Your Bags and Get Out of Town.
Go visit similar businesses outside of your area of competition. And while you’re at it, go visit your customers, your employees, your suppliers and your prospects. You’re sure to come home with Hot New Ideas for improving cash flow and more.
35. Reap the Rich Reward of Repetition
It’s amazing, the number of companies who change a successful formula just for the sake of creativity. NO. NO. NO. It worked in the past. Repeat it. Be it a Sales Pitch, Excellent Offer, Ad, Employee Motivation Technique or whatever. Don’t be afraid of Repetition.
36. Reap the Rich Reward of Repetition
A business is really a Machine designed to move goods & services at a profit. This machine must do many things over and over again. There’s no need to re-invent the wheel. Repeat your steps. Repeat your offer. And you’ll repeat your reward.
37. Look at Your Books—They Don’t Lie
If a new trend is emerging, it’s there. If you need to change direction, it’s there. Your Books can guide you to higher profits … Read & Heed.
38. Post Your Inventory Turns & Sales Per Square Foot
Of course you need to know how fast inventory is moving. But your staff should be aware of this, also. If there’s a problem, they’ll zero in on it faster.
39. Post Quarterly Returns, P&L, ROI, Quick Ratios & Sales Per Employee
Nothing Breeds Success like Success. Every Employee wants to be a part of a Successful Company. Posting the numbers keeps everybody on their toes.
40. Don’t Budget Yourself into a Corner
A Budget is important. But it’s only a guide. You can’t plan for Hot deals to come along. But often they do. Then you can only decide based on what you expect will be your “Return on Investment.”
41. Set Specific Goals
This might be the hottest tip in this whole message. If your goal is to increase sales … that’s one thing. But if your goal is to increase sales by 17% … the Dynamics are entirely different. It’s more attainable. With Specific Goal Comes Specific Plans.
42. Choose Your Partners Carefully
Needless to say, a partner can be heaven or hell. There are many factors to consider—Motives, Performance, Assets/Liabilities, Goals & Visions—to say the least!
43. Business Profits Should Come Before Personal Egos.
We have been called in to solve many Business problems. But none is more difficult than repairing a Bruised ego. Profits are Fragile enough without the company’s having to support a Fragile or Inflated Ego.
44. Double Trouble—Fraud from Within, Fraud from Without
A trusted Employee gone bad can bring a company to its Knees. There’s plenty of signs to watch for. And there’s plenty you can do to guard against Employee theft, embezzling, or even an Employee’s stealing customers for his own “moonlighting” Business.
Plus, you should guard against paying for more than you’re getting. This could mean systematically checking invoices against goods received. Or it could mean doing a lot more homework before saying “yes” to that Deal that sounds “too good to be true.”
45. Track Your Cash
It’s a deadly mistake to let receivables get out of hand. We recommend a specific system to follow up each sale and find out when the customer will pay. And to continue the Follow-up until the cash is received.
46. Get Tough & Tender with Non-Current Receivables
You may need to get tough enough to call every Day. (The squeaky wheel gets the Oil) to Collect the money due you. You need to be tender enough to remember that the customer is your partner in Business.
47.Topple the Would-Be Kings in Your Own Castle
Too often we’ve found Bankrupting Bottlenecks in companies that look like this:
Managers surrounding themselves with cronies who will not/do not cooperate with managers of other departments. We’ve only one solution— Replace those would-be Kings Quickly.
48. Fix Your Authority Flow Chart
Many problems can be solved by determining your Authority Flow Chart. The temptation to say, “That’s not my department” is bigger if you don’t know the person to turn to to solve the Problem.
49. Record Every Time You Say “No” to a Customer
Doing so will reveal pockets of hidden assets within your business. It will show you new ways to build customer loyalty & Increased Sales.
50. Shed Your Old Skin to Keep Growing
Changes are happening in every industry. You can be sentimental and hold on to old machinery, old lines, old ways of doing things. But you’ll be left behind if you’re not careful.
51. Quick-Fix Cash-Flow Ideas
1. You can have a “Reason-Why Sale.”
2. Or a Membership Discount Sale.
3. A Special Offer to Old Customers Only.
4. A Joint Venture with a Non-Competing Company.
5. Let a Non-Profit Group Sell your Product for a Percentage.
6. Sell the Names of Your Customers and Prospects.
These six techniques, if properly implemented, can bring in some fast cash. They won’t take the place of a good marketing plan. But they will come in handy in a pinch.
52. Never Sell Without Samples
The “Hawkers” at county fairs are Masters at selling with samples. Samples, Demonstrations and “Test Drives” are the lifeblood of moving Products at a Profit.
53. Never Sell the “Sizzle” Without the Steak
It’s possible to turn Prospective Customers off with too much hype & no substance. Every benefit you sell must be supported by a unique Feature of your product or service.
54. Tell Your Customers the Truth
If you’re selling half-rotten apples, then say so. No one will fault you. Someone out there needs them to make vinegar.
Don’t Promise the moon if you can’t Deliver. Customer Loyalty is hard enough to acquire without wounding that loyalty forever with a lie.
55. Become a Customer of Yourself
Then you’ll know the truth about the Customer Experience.. is it a good one? Are you prompt? Do you offer good value for the money?
56. Never, Never, Never Underestimate the Power of a Guarantee
A customer’s Buying emotions are so fragile that a guarantee of Satisfaction or results is often the last hurdle to win the sale.
57. Test Everything Before the Buyer Does
We mean everything. The product may work fine in your lab. But what about after it’s been abused in shipping, storage, etc.? A little precaution goes a long way in preventing major headaches down the road.
58. Don’t be Afraid to Show Your Face
People want to do business with a real Person. Your Face on your Product literature will indicate you stand behind what you sell.
59. Sell Solutions to Problems—Not Products
You can charge more for solutions than you can for products.
60. Replace Any Salesperson Who Can’t Cut the Mustard
If he/she is not in the top half of your sales force—it’s time to remove the dead weight.
61. Trash Your Performance Review Forms
Instead, give your people a list of the 3-4 things they’ve done right. And 3-4 things they need to improve on. This will boost their spirits and improve their performance.
62. Pick up the phone and call me. Let’s talk about things.
63. Do it now, while it’s fresh on your mind.