The most important thing any practitioner, clinic owner, business owner in general needs to
realize is that there are four principal ways to grow any business. Once you learn how to apply these simple concepts, believe me, your practice will be sustainable, scalable and predictable!
1. Get More Customers
Build your customer base by transforming your prospects into paying customers. Simply put, when more people buy from you, you take in more gross dollars. As a result, depending on your margins and overhead, you will make more profit.
Additionally, the more people you add to your customer base, the more people you have to approach for additional sales, and the more referrals they’re capable of giving you. This is the one area where most business owners (including your competition, and probably you too, if you’re being honest), spend most of their time, effort and money. If you’ve been in business for any length of time, you probably realize that getting new customers is not always the easiest, most time-efficient or profitable thing you can do.
Most businesses only have one or two main methods of attracting new prospects. Chances are that you, like nearly every other business owner in your industry or profession, also utilizes one or perhaps two main methods of attracting new prospects. Most likely the method you use is the same method that nearly everyone else uses. It’s called the “why recreate the wheel” method.
Typically, when a person first chooses to go into business, they look around and see what everyone else is doing. They then adopt those same marketing plans and methods to promote their clinic or business. This isn’t an isolated activity – nearly every business in every industry or profession is guilty of doing this.
But, wait a minute…. Who set up this system in the first place? And who says it’s right or that it’s the best system for you to use?
The fact is, there are an infinite number of methods for attracting new customers to your business. You are only limited by your imagination. As important as it is to get new customers, there are still three more methods you can use to grow your practice. Each of these methods are more profitable, more effective, and give you greater potential for leverage than the first.
So, now let’s talk about number two..
2. Larger Average Purchases
In other words, increase the average transactional value of your current customers’ purchases. Or more simply, get them to spend more money when they buy something from you. This is the quickest and easiest way to increase your profits.
One of the things that continually amazes me is the number of businesses that have extensive and expensive plans in place to acquire more customers. Yet, very few pay much attention to this highly profitable and leverageable step of increasing order size. If you think about how easy and profitable this can be, you’ll see why it is such a powerful concept. You will also understand why nearly every fast food restaurant has embraced, mastered, and requires each person taking orders to be proficient in the use of “up-sell” and “cross-selling” principles.
Think back to your own fast food restaurant experiences. You drive up to the speaker and place your order — let’s say a sandwich and a drink. Then what happens? A voice comes back asking if you’d like an apple pie or fries with your order. That’s an example of cross-selling. Selling an additional product in addition to or beyond the initial purchase. Or, they might suggest that you “super-size” or “giant-size” or make it a combo! That’s an example of an up-sell, increasing the size of the initial order.
What does that have to do with you and your business? Well, you may not be in the fast food industry, but the same principles still apply. Just ask yourself this question: What additional products or services do you have that naturally complement what your customers initially buy from you? If you have the type of practice or business that offers more than one product, then you have a tremendous advantage to capitalize on up-selling, cross-selling and bundling techniques.
Imagine increasing your sales and profits without increasing your expenses. It’s an exciting concept that can add an immediate twenty, thirty, even forty percent or more, in pure profits to your bottom line!
Now, let’s move on to the third way to grow your business…
3. Increase Purchase Frequency
In other words, get your customers to buy from you more often. Give them reasons to come back. The longer your customers go between purchases, the greater the chance they might buy from your competition and/or not come back at all. Think, out of sight, out of mind. That’s why it’s crucial to constantly stay in front of your customers with educational information.
By consistently delivering value to your customers, you can lock them in so they won’t want to do business with anyone else. Think incentive cards, points cards, or other loyalty programs in general. You want to lead your customers to the undeniable conclusion that they would have to be completely out of their minds to even consider doing business with anyone else — regardless of your selection of products or services, your prices, your location, or the relationship they may have with other businesses.
For natural health doctors, consider providing a program that offers a valuable transformation, which includes specific supplements. If those supplements are bought and shipped in 3 month bundles, patients can save a certain percentage. You’ve just made it more convenient and cost effective for them to do business with you by eliminating the need to go to the store and find the supplements themselves. PLUS, you’ve offered it at a great price.
Maybe you add more value by including a quick call from your office to check in on their progress. Use this opportunity to send samples of something else you sell — perhaps tea, skin cream, healthy shampoo, soaps, or other elixirs. Suppliers are often more than happy to provide complimentary samples to help you sell their products.
Think about all the ways you can add value (without using more of your time). What about adding an allied practitioner into the mix to enhance your transformation like a group coaching program or an online component to your practice which is solving another issue your patients need.
Now, let’s talk about the fourth method you can use to grow your business…
4. Extend Your Customers’ “Average Buying Lifetime”
We call this “customer retention”. Here’s what I mean: On average, how long do your customers remain your customers? Are they one-time buyers? Do they stay with you for a year, five years, or ten years? Have you ever stopped to figure it out? This is an important step.
Next, what are you doing in your business right now to ensure your customers continue doing business with you? If you don’t have a strategic plan in place, you are going to lose a certain percent of your current customers to the competition or back to a life of poor health!
There’s no question about it. At this very minute, your competition (competition you don’t even know about, such as personal trainers, nutritionists, health coaches, supplement companies, the list goes on….) are making plans and taking steps to steal your customers away from you. As a business owner, you can’t afford not to thrill your customers, nor have them build trust in you and your business. Unfortunately, most business owners simply don’t understand this.
Let’s take a look at what the potential cost could be if you fail to do these things:
Say you make $1,000 in sales per year from your average customer. And let’s say that for any number of reasons, 50 customers stop doing business with you each year. Well, those 50 customers who are no longer paying you $1,000 this year just cost you a total of $50,000.
But, that’s not all….
What if those 50 customers tell five others about their experience with you? That’s an additional 250 potential customers who won’t be doing business with you this year (or maybe ever, for that matter). And if each of them spent an average of $1,000, that’s $250,000 you won’t be receiving from them. PLUS, the $50,000 you lost on your existing customers who left.
That brings the total in lost income to $300,000 in just one year!
Most business owners don’t concern themselves with what or whom they’ve lost. They just focus on their net gain. They figure that if they finish the year with more customers or more sales than they started with, they’re ahead.
Now, let’s suppose you gave those 50 lost customers some compelling, life-enhancing reasons to continue doing business with you this year….
The point is, ALL customers are important. In fact, they’re critical. You and I both know that a business couldn’t remain in business unless someone is buying its products and services.
Those “someone’s” are real people, like you and me. Just remember one thing, people buy from people. You are essentially selling yourself, not anything else.
You must learn to understand your customers deeply, thrill them where you can, and treat them like the gold that they are. It’s way easier to sell to existing customers than it is to always be on the hunt for new ones.
So, let’s summarize….
There are four primary ways to grow a business. First, get more customers. As I mentioned, this is a vital step, but it’s also the most difficult and costly.
Second, get your customers to spend more money with you. Increase the average transactional value of each sale. Remember, this is the fastest and easiest way to add immediate profits to your bottom line.
Third, keep your customers coming back to buy from you more often.
And, fourth, extend your customers’ buying lifetime. Find ways to retain them for as long as you possibly can.
It’s really pretty simple. Nearly everything you do to build and grow your practice can be slotted under one of these four categories. As I mentioned earlier, there are many ways to apply these concepts and build your practice. But for now, if you work on these four primary methods, you’ll absolutely run circles around your competitors, set your business or practice up for success, and see your sales consistently soar higher!
As you read these four steps and envision how you can apply them, let me ask you a question…
What do you think your business would look like if you did all this? Do you want to find out?
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