12 Step Plan For Promoting Black Owned Businesses During National Black Business Month

It’s been said there’s more happiness (and success) in giving than in receiving. This is especially true of giving of yourself during National Black Business Month.

Here’s a plan for getting more growth for your business during this special month of activity.

1. Give Of Yourself

What can you give to others that will bring genuine appreciation from prospects and clients? To come up with ideas ask yourself if you can offer any of the following:

• A free product or service
• A special discount or gift
• A valuable report or other information product related to the services or products you offer

The ideas for giving to others are endless.

By focusing on giving instead of focusing on receiving, your business will automatically attract new clients and new opportunities.

Attracting new clients through giving is just one way to grow. Several marketing methods used simultaneously can be just as powerful for increasing profits for established companies.

2. Increase The Frequency Of Client Purchases

Apply as many profitable marketing methods as possible for increasing the number of times throughout the year your clients buy.

The more frequently your clients buy, the more money your company generates. For ideas on how to increase buying frequency, grab my checklist of 101 marketing methods. You’ll find the checklist at www.AndreBell.com/articles/

3. Increase The Volume Of Purchases

Adopt marketing methods that will increase the average dollar amount of each client transaction. Begin using point-of-purchase incentives. Promote “one-time offers” to encourage spontaneous purchases. Also, try imitating McDonald’s way of combining multiple items as a “value” purchase. In other words, encourage clients to “Supersize”.

4. Increase Customer Retention/Reduce Attrition

Clients drift away for several reasons. Often complacency of business owners and staff is the cause. And sometimes clients drift away for reasons that have nothing to do with us.

“Salvaging” clients from leaving has the same impact on your bottom line as increasing sales by that same percentage. This is as close to getting free money as a business is likely ever to find.

And it’s easier and cheaper to improve your bottom line by preventing attrition than prospecting or advertising to generate sales through new clients.

An excellent example of a powerful client retention program (though leaning towards the dark side) is America Online’s Retention Manual

Copies of AOL’s client retention program are floating around the internet.

Simply go to Google.com and type in “AOL Retention Manual”. You’ll come across the manual fairly quickly by visiting consumer awareness sites.

Study AOL’s client retention program for ideas on how to ethically adapt their guidelines to your business. Also, start a client loyalty program. Regular, ongoing communications help clients see you are thinking of them and care about them.

5. Increase Sales Conversions

Increasing inquiry-to-sales conversion will increase a company’s income without increasing costs.

To improve sales conversion rate first target and market to only the highest probability prospects. Also, provide formal sales training to sales staff.

Though many companies have seen huge 300% increases in sales as a result of sales training, typically, adding a sales training program has proven to immediately increase sales by 15%. That’s immediate, the same month the training is initiated.

Sales training is worth the reward. Unfortunately though few small to medium-sized companies have a systematic or scheduled training system. Perhaps fear of unknown costs holds them back.

The thing is, sales training doesn’t have to be elaborate or expensive.

A company can simply record the top sales reps during actual selling situations. Determine what top sales reps are saying and doing that other employees are not saying and doing. Then train all sales staff to implement those same sales processes.

Of course, you’d want to take into consideration the legalities of recording live sales situations before doing so.

If you prefer a formal sales training system, there are many to choose from. Not all are of value. Stick to proven sales training systems.

6. Increase Response Rate To Existing Offers

In a nutshell, this involves writing better and better ads, sales letters, and marketing pieces. A key factor in improving response to offers is removing common marketing mistakes

Unfortunately, there isn’t enough time or space to list here all the steps needed to improve your marketing communications. So I recommend reading my book, “31 Overlooked Marketing Mistakes That Can Cripple Your Business.” I’m giving this book away 100% free this month. Get a free copy at www.AndreBell.com

7. Calculate And Increase The Lifetime Referral Value Of Clients

This involves calculating and tracking the average referral value of your clients. Once you know how much each customer is worth to your bottom line in terms of referral value, you’ll know how much money you can invest in a formal referral system and still profit.

The beauty of referral systems is the clients and customers who come your way are presold. They have less resistance, they spend more, and they’re more loyal than clients acquired through advertising.

A referral program can be as simple and informal as creating a basic referral recommendation form and asking for referrals at the point of purchase. Or you could get fancy by implementing a formal referral program that involves a series of postcards and sales letters asking for referrals, and thanks you gifts to existing and past clients, vendors, and even competitors.

8. Find New Uses For Your Existing Products And Services

Sometimes when we are so close to our businesses we tend to think one way and do things only one way. One client I consulted with had a struggling business that was excellent at providing its products and services.

The problem was their marketing sucked. The owner couldn’t see past making occasional personal sales calls or just paying his monthly “due” for his yellow pages ad. Outside of those two activities they simply sat back and hoped and waited for something magical to happen. It didn’t.

If that wasn’t enough, a very aggressive multi-billion dollar national franchise moved into the area. This sent my client’s already shaky business careening downhill even faster.

My client could not afford to go head-to-head with such a large competitor. So we looked for overlooked opportunities. One solution we found was to stop fighting solely on a local level and to go global. We covertly set about putting in place systems for helping people across the country and abroad launch independent businesses in this same industry.

We set things up so each of these independent companies had to outsource to my client. No other option would work.

The obvious win for my client is they get ongoing revenues their major competitors are clueless too. The win for independent business owners is they get to run their businesses without the typical six to seven-figure debt that comes from correctly starting a business in that industry.

There are many other ways to create new uses for your existing products and services too.

9. “Package” And Profit From Your Specialized Knowledge

This involves publishing and marketing your specialized knowledge. I have yet to find anyone in business who hasn’t generated unique experiences or methods that others wouldn’t be dying to pay to learn.

Your experience can save someone else valuable time and money.

For example, repackaging my 29 years of specialized knowledge is how I primarily earn my living today. It’s what I do daily and help others do too. I’ve consulted with doctors and dentists, service business owners, authors, entrepreneurs, technology companies, landscapers, and others.

The ironic thing is…I’m a college dropout.

Don’t get me wrong. I love learning. I’m a perpetual student. But college moved too slowly for me. What I could learn in a week from delving into sp[eed reading books and speaking with others who were already in the industry, would take several months or years to accomplish in college.

Despite quitting my first year of college, I now advise some of the brightest minds on earth.

It’s not because of being brighter than others. It’s simply because of the specialized knowledge I’ve acquired over the past 29 years of attending numerous independent workshops and courses, studying some 2,000 books, videos, and recordings on nearly every business subject under the sun, from directly working in ten different industries, and from advising hundreds of business owners in seven countries.

An employer would need to hire seven to ten people (or more) to gain the same benefit from my specialized knowledge. Plus there’s no guarantee after wasting time recruiting that they’ll find someone qualified in each area.

That makes the gray matter between my two ears a valuable asset to business owners, as well as to others I’ve advised and trained to enter the consulting field.

You too have acquired specialized knowledge. Consider licensing to others what you know. Your knowledge can be ‘packaged’ into books, videos, seminars, teleseminars, and even through consulting and teaching.

10. Community Development

This involves the often dreaded “V” word. Volunteering.

Volunteering falls back to what I originally said in step number one: gain more success by focusing on giving instead of receiving.

Look for ways to boost your image in your community. If your business is a retail organization, likely your community is the area within a 20-mile or so radius of your business or office.

But a community can be much larger than that. Especially if you own a business-to-business company or market your business globally via the internet. In those cases, your business may be global.

Are there appropriate donations or sponsorships that could improve your image in your community? If there are, then reach out to your community by giving.

11. Publicity And Promotions

Closely related to community development is self-promotion.

Every business has something newsworthy to say. Come up with ideas for workshops or seminars, or unique owner expertise, or interesting client experiences that would benefit or interest your community.

Consider what is occurring now, has occurred in the past, or might predictably occur in the future that would be newsworthy to your community. Then inform your community of these events, ideas, experiences, and predictions.

Having your name displayed as an authority in media your community trusts will improve your image and attract qualified clients and customers.

Also, consider publishing articles or books. The purpose of publishing is to generate leads and increase company credibility.

Publish within your industry trade journals. But an even better and often overlooked opportunity for self-promotion is the official trade publications of your most profitable clients.

12. Determine A Unique Selling Position (USP)

A USP defines and communicates what makes your business new, unique, or different than everyone else in your industry. It’s your competitive advantage.

For example, think of FedEx.

FedEx’s USP is: “When it positively has to be there overnight”.

That USP defines everything about how FedEx operates and positions itself among competitors. No one else on earth can use that phrase. Not the U.S. Postal Service, not UPS, not DHL. No one.

Here’s another example: “Fresh and hot and to your door in 30 minutes or it’s free”. Who’s that? Yep. Dominoes Pizza. That USP took a failing community pizza company and made it into the world’s largest pizza franchise.

Here’s my USP: My company is the nation’s only wholly black-owned business growth firm specializing only in ethical and honest business growth strategies for businesses earning from $500,000 to $10,000,000 annually.

A USP can be a single sentence, a paragraph, or even an entire page. What a USP isn’t is a worthless slogan or vague and intangible mission statement.

A USP is much more powerful than both. It truly sets the company apart. It says something impossible for others to claim.

Your USP defines what makes your company unique. Consider what you can say about your business that will set it apart from your competitors…not only this month but for years to come.