Preface: As you advertise your business, think of it as planting seeds. Plant your seeds on good ground, be diligent because you don’t know if it will be a 30, 60 or 100 fold crop; harvest at the right time, and then sell your crop at the right price.
Advertise Your Business for Success
Credits: Jake Dietz, CPA
Good advertising is like planting a small corn seed in good ground. A small seed planted now may later yield a bountiful harvest. Advertising wisely can increase sales and strengthen your business, but advertising poorly can waste your money and hasten business failure. Before you advertise, develop a plan to track advertising success, close the sale, and monitor your prices.
Track your business as it comes in your door. If a customer calls, find out how they learned about you. Did they see your newspaper advertisement, did they see your truck driving down the road, or did they hear about you from a satisfied customer? Don’t waste precious dollars on useless advertising without knowing if it works. Track which advertising brings in the customers, and develop a strategy for advertising that targets those who will buy your products and services.
Advertising might get customers interested, but it may not be enough to close the sale. Advertising is planting the seed, and closing the sale is harvesting. A bumper crop benefits the farmer after it is harvested. Is everyone on your staff that communicates with customers trained for sales? Everyone who has contact with the customer should know how to help close the sale, whether they sit in the office or fix sinks at the job site.
If a rude person answers the phone, or doesn’t offer helpful information, then the customer may go somewhere else. A customer might want something that you offer if they only knew you could do it. The technician or estimator on the job site can spot opportunities to better serve the customer. Never force a customer to buy something they don’t want, but inform them of the options. If a customer is asking to have a wooden deck built, do they know which options you have for decking other than wood? Do you also offer deck lighting?
Selling products is great, but not when the price is wrong. A bumper corn crop might be a great disappointment to a farmer if the corn price was only 20 pennies per bushel. Do you know what your costs of doing business are, not just the costs of the products you sell? If you buy a pipe for $9 and sell it for $11, then you just made $2. Or did you? Is that $2, along with the other profits, enough to pay employees, pay rent, and keep the lights on? If the prices are not high enough to meet costs, then advertising and increased sales may cause the business to fail faster. Monitor your prices so they cover your costs and earn a profit.
As you advertise your business, think of it as planting seeds. Plant your seeds on good ground, harvest them at the right time, and then sell your crop at the right price. This scenario benefits farmers and businesses. It takes work, but the harvest for your business can be worth it.