Sales and Specials: Hooking New Clients
As I previously discussed in my two part post on The Art of Negotiation (Part 1 here, part 2 here), everybody loves a good deal. There isn’t a person alive who can resist a sale or special, especially on a product or service they’ve actually been looking for. Or even on things they haven’t. Impulse buys play a big role in pulling in business during a special offer as well.
Why is this important to you, my dear self-employed, self-starter friends? Well that’s quite simple, really. There are many, many reasons why various business put on special offers, but the most important one (at least for our purposes here), is because they are a great opportunity to draw in new business. New business means growth for your business. And if you want to really maximize your Personal Independent Earnings, you need to grow your business. Heck, let’s be honest here. If you want your business to survive, you need to constantly be attracting new clients. A sale here, a special there, is a great way to do this. Here are some tips to get you started.
Don’t Overdo It: Remember, the idea here is to make money, not lose it. When putting together a sale or other special offer, be sure to do it in such a way that you’re not taking a hit in the process. I’m not going to lie to you, there is risk involved here. Your profit for the month (or week, or however long of a duration you choose) could take a hit, but the potential benefit here outweighs the potential negative. Crunch the numbers carefully so that should the worst come to pass, you don’t end up dipping into the budget you have set up for your operating costs, coming up short on your bills, or paying out those who are working with you.
Find A Way to Offer Something Without Any Loss At All: This sounds pretty silly, right? How could you possibly give people something extra, or a discounted price, without taking a hit in the process? A company out of Seattle, Washington called Valve, owners and operators of the Steam gaming digital distribution site (which is essentially the gold standard for PC gaming digital distribution and the online store all other digital distributors aspire to be) do this all the time. Their Fall and Winter sales are the stuff of legends, with many of their subscribers often lamenting afterwards just how much money they end up spending, as the sales are often borderline obscene. Digital distribution is a great model to allow for this kind of thing, as the lack of physical production costs allows both Valve and their partner publishers to drop prices substantially. This also helps pick up impulse buyers as well, who see something they were on the fence about previously is suddenly unbelievably cheap, and automatically pick it up solely by virtue of how cheap it is. Now obviously this isn’t feasible for all businesses, but it’s something to keep in mind wherever possible.
Clear Out Unsold Product: If your business is of a type where you’re offering an actual product rather than a service, a sale or special can be an excellent tool for unloading some of that inventory you haven’t been able to move up to now. How you choose to go about this is up to you, whether by reducing the price to just enough to still turn a profit, or even lower if you’re at a point where you really just need it gone. Major retailers do this all the time with clearance specials, lowering products below their own cost in the hopes that drawing people into their stores will get them to purchase other items while there. This is a great tactic (although one that’s far easier for big box retailers like Best Buy and Wal-Mart to pull off), and one that you could potentially put to use.
So now that you’ve drawn in all those clients, now what do you do? One off clients are great, but repeat business is where the real money, and the biggest slice of PIE is. Tune in on Friday for an article on how to turn these new clients into repeat ones. Until then, dear readers!