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There are several fundamental principles… principles which determine the success of any business.

Principle #1: Buyer Behavior

Much has been researched and written about buyer behavior. It’s important that you understand the basics of human buying behavior, because once you understand the ‘rules’ you can easily apply them…

Speed Of Follow Through Is Key

A recent study conducted by Performark (a U.S. Based research company) discovered how few companies follow up properly, if at all. 

They found that in a total of 10,000 enquiries from people requesting information about a number of products and services – 22% never received the information they requested, 45% received the information more than 65 days after their request, for 12% it took more than 120 days to receive their information and 87% were never contacted by a sales representative. 

Furthermore, a study conducted by Tom Rayfield, a UK direct marketing expert, discovered that companies are very poor when responding to enquiries. Having randomly selected 200 advertisers, he discovered that it took on average 8 days to get back to him and 17 companies (8.5%) didn’t even bother to reply!

What does this tell us?

You need to deliver – or follow through (if people inquire, deal with their inquiry as promised in your marketing). Most of your competitors don’t. You know this yourself. How many times have you called a business, for example – practically begging to give them work – only for them to ignore your call! It doesn’t matter which business, profession or industry you choose, it’s a universal problem.

Secondly, you need to respond QUICKLY. Do this and you have an immediate advantage over your competition.

Think about it – you reply to an ad and then within an hour the business calls you back – that’s good. You’re pleased. The company so far has delivered. Compare that to the second company. You replied to them at the same time – but it took them three days to get back to you. Which business are you already favoring? Yes, it’s obvious when you look at it like that – and that’s why reacting quickly is so important to you. 

You need to have what is called a ‘sales cycle’. In other words, you need to have a system that logically ‘moves’ a prospect from being interested, to becoming a buyer. This one system will increase your sales – guaranteed.

It Takes 7 Positive Contacts Before Someone Buys

Dr Geoffrey Lant, the renowned marketing and research analyst, has proven over a 20-year research study across hundreds of different industries, that most buying decisions are made after seven contacts. He calls this the ‘Rule of 7’ and many more studies support this.

What does this tell us?

It simply isn’t good enough to follow through and respond quickly. 

Your ‘sales cycle’ needs to have at least seven points of contact  (this could be a mixture of letters, sales calls, personal presentations, e-mails, faxes, etc.) and it needs to be automated – so you know it’s being followed through.

This is another simple strategy to increase sales and new clients or customers – guaranteed.

Make Sure Your Contact Points Are All Positive

A recent study by Thomas Publishing showed that most salespeople give up far too easily, regardless of the industry, as they believe the prospect isn’t interested.

According to the study, 80% of sales to businesses are made by the fifth sales call and 94% by the seventh (supporting Lant’s research above), but only 10% of salespeople call more than three times. So after the fourth contact, 90% of salespeople have given up! They’ve given up because of a lack of interest from the prospect!

What does this tell us?

First, it shows that as long as you have a system in place with 7-9 contacts built in, you not only benefit from the fact that most people buy after the fifth contact, but also from the fact that your competitors have given up. You win on both counts.

Second, at each contact you need to make sure it leaves a positive impression on your prospect. Not only does this lead them closer to the sale, but it keeps them enthused, forcing your salespeople (or whoever is responsible for sales) to continue following your system. 

Conversely, if one of your contact points leaves a less than positive impact on your prospect, their interest drops, making it harder for you to close the sale. Although basic common sense, this is a very important principle you need to understand (see diagram on the next page).

By carefully crafting each contact, you can actually speed up the sales cycle and keep more prospects in it – resulting in more sales. Eventually your persistent (but polite) communications make it virtually impossible for the prospect to refuse you.

Principle #2: They Buy From You Or The Competition

Once a prospect has made up their mind to buy, they either choose you or one of your competitors. It’s that simple. 

This means you have to be ‘in the mind’ of the prospect. If they don’t know you exist, you haven’t got a chance of even competing. That doesn’t necessarily mean they know of you right this minute, but if they need to find suppliers and they know where to look – you need to be easily found. 

For example, let’s say a prospect wants to the product or service you offer. So, they go to Google and search.

It stands to reason, therefore, if you don’t have a website, you have a ZERO chance of being contacted. 

But you do have a website, so the next step is how to influence the prospect and get them to contact you over and above your competitors – that’s where principle three comes into play!

What does this tell us?

To make sure you’re either already ‘in the mind’ of your prospects, or they can easily find you, you have to have a number of marketing strategies in place which are strategically activated when answering these two questions…

  1. When a prospect wants to buy my type of product or service, where would they find us?
  2. Where can we find our target market?

The answers to these questions will trigger which strategies you deploy to ensure you are ALWAYS in the mind of your prospect.

When you activate your marketing strategies (and they’re executed properly – there are right and wrong ways to do everything!) you’ll leave your competition standing!

Principle #3: They Will Buy From The Company Which Provides The Most Value/Benefits (It Doesn’t Mean The Cheapest Wins!)

Businesses often make the mistake of thinking that price is the main issue in the mind of their prospects or clients.

Okay, maybe 5% of people will always choose based on price (you don’t want these people as clients anyway!), but the rest, the huge majority, buy on value and the benefits you provide. In other words, if you provide more value and benefits than the competition, people will buy from you – plain and simple.

Of course, value and price are completely dependent on each other. Added value is the difference between the price someone pays for the product or service and what they are getting over and above the price. 

If all you do is add so much more value than your competition, you’ll completely transform your business!

What does this tell us?

If you don’t add value to your proposition, you will give a ton of business to your competitors. 

It may surprise you to learn that there are some simple, low-cost methods you can use that add incredible value to your business offering – methods very few people are even aware of. 

Also note that ‘value’ isn’t just derived from your product or service. It includes how you manage the transaction with the customer or client and how you then deal with the ongoing customer relationship. When you succeed in all three areas, you can make significant gains, very easily. 

Also please note that a ‘benefit’ by its nature adds value, so when we talk about ‘value’ it includes any benefits associated with your company and product or service.

Principle #4: They Will Keep Buying From You If You Treat Them Very Well

The initial three ‘buyer behavior principles’ focus on winning new clients. But what about once they’ve used you? How can you keep them using you time after time? 

The good news is, as long as you treat them like your closest friends, they will remain clients. In other words… don’t neglect them, keep in contact with them… keep educating them on other products and services you sell… keep treating them to special customer offers… make sure each contact they have with your business is a fantastic experience… keep them close… very close. Do this and your competitors don’t stand a chance of luring them away. Even doing the basics well, will elevate you above your competition.

What does this tell us?

Just providing great value on the first sale isn’t enough to keep customers or clients coming back for more. It takes much more than that. The key area for any business is making sure they maximize the sales and profits from existing customers. 

The ‘real money’ and wealth in any business is its customers or clients and when you treat them like your closest friends and you make sure every interaction with your business is met with huge satisfaction – you are well on your way to making your business operate in the most effective, most efficient and most profitable way possible.

In summary, in order to effectively optimize your business there are three starting positions;…

  1. Make sure you can be ‘found’ by having a number of structured and well thought-out marketing strategies in place
  2. Provide more added value than your competition could ever dream of offering and you’ll attract customers to you like a highly charged magnet
  3. Treat your customers as lifelong friends, so they are immune to the advances of your competition and they keep buying from you year after year