A Simple way to Boost Business Profits
What I’d like to share with you today is a business strategy that is going to give you three things:
• Firstly, it will boost your profits by helping to convert more prospective customers into buying customers.
• Secondly, it has the power to engage every member of your team.
• Thirdly, it has the ability to generate leads and attract more prospective customers and improve profits even further.
Profit Improvement Strategy
You’ll like the strategy because it’s simple, easy, inexpensive, fun, it fires the imagination and not many of your competitors will be doing it. If they are doing it, they’re unlikely to be doing it in a deliberate, systematic way. This strategy is going to make a major difference to your business in terms of bottom line results and enjoyment.
Let me start with a story. I recently had to give a talk at a conference in Brighton. I was due to speak first and needed to be on site early to have a technical run through, so I travelled down the night before. I asked someone in the office to book me a basic, inexpensive B&B, close to the venue, that had the bare essentials – a bed and a shower. On my way down I received a text to say that they’d found four places right next to each other that all fitted the bill. They were all the same price and all had availability, so I could choose. It was ten o’clock when I arrived. I parked and walked up to the first B&B. There was a neon sign above the window but a couple of letters were not lit. The light above the door was also out. The second had lights, but I could see that the grass was long, the garden looked scruffy and there were cigarette ends on the path. The third looked fine – properly lit and a tidy garden. The fourth was also properly lit and had a tidy garden. However, I noticed that there were dirty dishes piled up on the windowsill and a big furry cat sitting amongst them.
So which B&B did I choose? The first, second, third or fourth? Correct. Number three. The essentials I wanted were a bed and a shower. All four B&Bs had the essentials, but I made my decision based on non-essentials. In this instance, I couldn’t see the essentials so I’d drawn a conclusion based on the non-essentials.
The truth is that we all do this. Often subconsciously. In most instances, we don’t fully understand the technical aspects of the product or service we want to buy. So, we make our decisions based on a myriad of peripheral non-essential factors. These non-essentials are so important in our decision-making that they’re critical – Critical Non-Essentials – a term first coined by an Australian dentist called Paddi Lund.
Business & Profit Growth
Paddi took great pride in his skills as a dentist. However, Paddi was rather upset to discover that his practice started growing, not because of his dental expertise, but because of a newly appointed receptionist who was lively, bubbly and extremely personable. Fortunately, Paddi got over himself, recognised what was happening and started developing his Critical Non-Essentials (CNEs). His essentials remained first class, but it was his first-class non-essentials that caused his business to really take off.
So, what are the non-essentials?
• How the phone is answered? Is the phone answered!? Do we return calls promptly?
• Are we friendly on the phone? Do we use the person’s name? Do we introduce ourselves so people know who they’re talking to?
• Is our reception clean? Are there some plants and fresh flowers around?
• Do we provide interesting magazines? Are the magazines up to date?
• Do we serve a decent cup of coffee? Do we give people a choice of coffees and teas?
• Are our carpets clean? Are our windows clean?
• Do we arrive early? Do we arrive early in a clean car with clean shoes?
• Do we send a confirmation email? Do we send a follow up letter?
• Do our toilets reflect our standards and our attention to detail?
• Is our desk neat and tidy?
• …and a host of other small, seemingly unimportant, things.
Are we good at the little things, because the little things have a big impact?
In addition, who delivers these little things? Yes, every member of our team does. This is a fantastically simple way to get every single individual contributing to the business. Our people have the power to win or lose us business. Let’s recognise that fact, and let’s sit down and plan how we’re going to roll out this initiative.
And the key to CNEs? Doing them systematically. Creating little systems and checklists to ensure they happen each and every time. The simplest example of a CNE system is the sign off sheet in the toilets to confirm that they’ve been checked, cleaned and replenished on a regular basis. You may not like creating these little systems but I guarantee that someone on your team will.
Another Profit Enhancing Idea
We’ve got our team on board with CNEs and we’re converting more business but how can we use CNEs as a lead generating strategy?
This can be illustrated by another short story from a kitchen design company. A lady had just had a new kitchen installed. As part of the process, a professional cleaner would be brought in at the end of the installation. The installers would also leave a large bouquet of colour-coordinated flowers on the worktop, and on this occasion, they also left a wrapped-up gift. It was a coffee-table book about Cliff Richard.
Now Cliff’s not everybody’s cup of tea but on this occasion he fitted the bill perfectly. During the pre-installation visit four months before, the lady had mentioned that she was a big Cliff fan and was very excited about going to one of his concerts. The young man doing the pre-installation survey had captured and relayed back this little bit of information which was down in the customer’s file.
What do you think the lady did when she opened up her gift, and who did she tell? Everybody who’d listen! Certainly all her friends, all of who had sizeable kitchens.
What we’d done was given the lady a story to share. We all like stories and we all remember stories. The cost of the book was about £10. £10 to generate how many referrals? So what could be your Cliff Richard book equivalent for your next client?
A little imagination, a little thought and not much money can have a big impact. This is what I call smart marketing.
Critical Non-Essentials – engage your team, improve your bottom line and have some fun in the process.