In today’s hypercompetitive, customer-driven business world, you need to look at new ways to make your business stand out. By exploring customer service initiatives, new sales channels, and private label financing, to name a few, you can attract and keep new customers.
1. Improve the customer experience
Without quality customer service, people won’t want to buy your products or use your services. First, businesses/vendors and their customers need to make sure they are the right fit for one another. For example, for equipment vendors, the right vendor should have the right selection of equipment along with the experience that instills confidence. Next, both parties need to make themselves accessible during business hours and deliver effective and informative communication. Keep phone and e-mails on topic, and be proactive should any unexpected problems occur. Lastly, sending a thank-you note via email or making an occasional follow-up phone call can go a long way in showing gratitude, which is essential in the business world.
2. Introduce new merchandise as it becomes available
Because of increased competition, changing customer expectations and innovative technology breakthroughs, the introduction of new equipment/merchandise, or updated versions of existing merchandise, can help drive sales and differentiate your business. In many cases, new or updated equipment offers some form of functional benefit(s) to your customers, and this can be used as a key selling point.
3. Find new sales channels
Marketing your business with traditional offline strategies such as television, radio and print advertising can be costly. Consider various online marketing efforts to see which ones might build awareness of your business.
Online marketing will continue to grow as your customers increase their mobile and tablet usage, so plan accordingly. Update your website regularly; make sure it is supported on all mobile devices, add fresh content, and check that all links and online forms are working accurately.
Pay-Per-Click (PPC) ads are a great way to drive traffic to your website and get your company name out there. PPC ads don’t have to be expensive and can be easily monitored to see how much business they bring in. When growing your online presence, be sure to join in on the conversations that those in your industry are having. Be active in online forums and take steps to maximize your online network.
Reach out to your loyal customers and offer incentives for them to write reviews and rank services. Ramp up your social media strategy and utilize all appropriate networks that are beneficial for your business.
Also, consider making a persistent effort in business networking, as it keeps you connected with business owners in a wide range of industries.
4. Offer flexible financing to your customers
If you run a business than offers higher priced items, such as equipment vending, instead of requiring a 100% cash payment, leasing allows the customer to obtain the equipment they need for a manageable monthly payment. The ability to update their equipment helps business owners avoid technology obsolescence and the difficulties that come with outdated software, technology and equipment.
In addition to lease payments being affordable for your customers, they can also be deducted under the Section 179 tax provision. Make sure your customers consult with their tax advisors to find out if the equipment they’re financing is eligible for the Section 179 deduction.
5. Utilize online sales tools
Find the right business management software and customer relationship management (CRM) software to effectively and efficiently manage all aspects of your business. Today there are desktop and cloud-based software systems for you to choose from that offer the scalability that your business requires. Next, the success of your business relies on sales, so you can benefit greatly from a robust online sales management system. Depending on the system you use, you will be able to keep track of your orders, as well as provide your customers with the accessible resources they need to get lease quotes and submit online finance applications, to name a few. Having real-time access to all of your financing transactions saves time and provides you with an instant snapshot of how your business is doing. Some sales management systems have a variety of additional online tools that let you calculate lease payments, submit finance applications, present purchase options, track sales performance, run a variety of reports and more.