|Pump up the (business) volume|
|Monthly Columns - Business Building with Jeffrey P. Fisher|
|Written by Jeffrey P. Fisher|
Pump up the (business) volume
Whether your art business is growing exponentially or grinding to a halt, you should never stop promoting or working hard to land new clients. Follow these simple ideas and keep a steady stream of business coming your way.
Launch new promotions
This area is often neglected first. When you get busy or when things seem to be falling apart, promotion is often the last thing on your mind. I urge you to not be complacent. Always be promoting your products and services. Always keep looking for new business. Spend a little time each day letting people know how what you sell can help make their lives better.
If you haven't come out with anything new lately, now is the perfect time to introduce another product or service to your current or past clients. These people are usually already sold on you. That makes closing additional sales quite easy. Finish up something quick and start promoting it to those who have bought from you in the past.
Go back and hit those old leads one more time
You probably have contact information for people who inquired about what you sell, but never bought anything. Don't give up on these people too soon. One reader of my e-mail newsletter shared this invaluable advice: "Recently I went through my year old list of leads to which I had sent out promotional kits. Before removing them from my list permanently, I phoned each of the contacts one last time. Nearly all of the contacts were no longer with the companies. Most of the 'new' contacts requested an updated kit, and had known nothing of my services." Don't let these people slip through the cracks.
Pitch new work to anchor clients
Every business has a few really good clients who account for a significant percentage of their total sales. These people usually buy regularly, often without any effort on your part. I suggest you take a new tactic with this group. Start pitching new or additional services to them and see what happens. For example, my company produced a video for a client. I suggested they place the video on their Web site. They agreed and I had a new gig digitizing their video. In another case, I picked up the phone and suggested to another past client that they should update their phone hold messages. They agreed and I had more work to do. You simply can't expect people to call you all the time. Often you just need to plant the seed of suggestion in someone's mind first. Who are you going to contact today?
Give more to your best clients
Another good tactic that comes on the heels of the above is to offer your best clients special deals on your products and services. Give them exclusive discounts or premiums as incentive to keep them buying from you. Additionally, go the extra mile for them by providing more than they ask for. Give them additional products or services for free, for example.
Ask your clients to refer you
One overlooked way to drum up new business is from within the same company. For example, you may work for one department of a larger company. Other departments within that same company may also need your services. However, these people may not know about you (and how you've helped their colleagues). When you've finished a project for one department, ask your current client about other people who may need similar help. Either ask permission to use their name when you call the other department or have the current client call on your behalf.
Have a sale
Everybody likes to save money. If you need an infusion of cash, consider putting everything you offer on sale. For instance, discount everything by 20% for a limited time. Additionally, put together hard-to-resist combination deals that save buyers money while increasing your overall sales at the same time.
Concentrate on cultivating clients for life.
Institute promotional plans and customer care programs that allow you to build and maintain strong commercial relationships with every person who brings in business. Instead of large numbers of people spending a little money on your music products and services, today fewer customers will spend larger sums of money at your business. Of course, you must have something else to sell to these people beyond the initial music product or service. Expand what you sell in such a way that people come back again and again for more of what you offer. Commit now to win customer loyalty and you'll reap the benefits of their continued patronage.