The Art Of Generating Leads Part 3 - Taking Care Of The Golden Goose

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Consider the sobering statistics surrounding businesses; only 30% of businesses in your area will survive the next decade.
Growing a profitable business takes time, money and lots of effort.
One of the biggest obstacles to success is a general ignorance on the part of owners and managers around the mechanics of customer acquisition and retention, generating leads and leverage lifetime customer value.
Customer acquisition - Without a sale, there is no business, yet leads generation, marketing and advertising all take a back seat in terms of priority or focus in hard times.
New business owners are shocked when I tell them that the average start-up needs to budget 20% of their expected gross revenues for advertising and marketing.
If you had a goose that lays golden eggs every morning why in the world would you not care for her and feed her properly? This is the persistent challenge faced by local business owners when times get tough.
In the medieval fable about the golden goose, it was greed that caused the owner to kill the bird in search of more eggs, in the business world it's usually a general lack of appreciation for the value of marketing and advertising that is the culprit.
Generating leads - This is the area that gets the most attention and money.
As the old saying goes, nothing happens in business till someone makes a sale.
Generating targeted leads on a consistent basis requires a working knowledge of your customers' demographics.
Search marketing and social networking can significantly improve your results without dramatically increasing your expense.
Once you're able to generate qualified leads, the next step calls for taking them through the sales cycle.
Each prospect will command their own timetable when it comes to making a purchase or commitment; an automated follow-up system allows you to keep in constant contact and be available when the timing is right for a sale.
Leverage lifetime customer value - This is where understanding the value of a customer comes in handy.
If you factor in a customer buying cycle into your marketing program you will be able to generate repeat business from a significant percentage of existing clients.
To increase customer value to your bottom line, institute a referral system that makes word-of-mouth marketing effortless.
These strategies are all equally important for maximum business growth.
Understanding and working with an annual marketing budget is equally important in good times and bad.
Studies have repeatedly demonstrated the increased effectiveness of advertising and marketing during the lean years.
Healthy businesses constantly rely on accurate sales data and marketing objectives.
Local business owners who focus on leads generation, customer acquisition and a variable marketing approach have a much better chance of succeeding where their contemporaries have failed.
It is not enough to own a goose that lays the golden egg; the goose must be fed and taken care of to ensure long-term prosperity for everyone.
If you have not already reviewed your business and marketing plan this year, take some time to reacquaint yourself what their company's objectives.
Consider your existing customer base part of their business assets and take good care of them.
They can help you in your goal of generating leads.
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