Sunday, March 04, 2007

Week 28 - Endorsements. It's Easy to Create Your First New Income Stream

When setting out to create an endorsement program for your business you need to test and measure. What things could you test? You could test various offers of services. You could test mailing different age groups within the customer base, you could test sending to more females versus males, you could test sending only to customers who reside in the surrounding area, you could even test the paper color when you mail!

Stop at this point and make two lists.

  1. Who already has my customers? (Think about all the possible products or services that go BEFORE yours – example, a tradesman can seek out an on-site manager who looks after 30 apartments in an apartment block or an office furniture company looks for office renovation specialists who need to replace interior fittings).
  2. Whose products and services could I sell to my customers? (Think of all the products or services that could be of use after using your product or service – example, could an in-ground pool business offer a 3 year program of pool maintenance and chemicals with every new installation?

Implementing an endorsement program

Once you have decided what products and services you plan to add to your offering you need to systematically promote them. As has been stated numerous times already, if the program is left to chance it will be a failure. Try to build the extra product selection into your sales questionnaire and ensure that all employees are fully trained on the benefits of the extra offerings. A word of warning, the occasional customer will see your offerings in a cynical light. They might suggest that it is purely the extra profits you make which are motivating you but you can turn this around. For example:

A mechanic arranges an insurance appraisal for any car going through the workshop at no cost or obligation.

Cynical view: they are trying to sell me expensive insurance.

Turn it around: as a valued customer we want to ensure you are getting the absolute best deal possible for that make and model of car. We may even save you money overall, but our motivation is to make your motoring experience a more pleasurable one. No obligation.

A gym offers special pricing on shoes, massage, personal trainers, skin care, surgeon, business coaching, travel, weight control programs, sporting events and organises social clubs.

Cynical view: they are trying to sell me things I don’t need.

Turn it around: as a valued member, we are trying to ensure that you are getting the best value for your membership through the use of appropriate clothing and footwear. Further, being fit and healthy is only part of the story. We help you enjoy the benefits of your training long after you have left the gym! No obligation.

Think complementary services; what else could you offer whilst you have your customer’s attention? Flip it around, could others give your product away as a premium add-on to their product or service? What about a sample of your product and service? For example, if you have a window tinting business can you do a wholesale deal with a car dealership where they market the tinting as a “free” extra (having paid you a wholesale rate of course)?

The power of an endorsement cannot be overstated, especially when compared with other advertising and marketing methods. You will need to seek businesses that have the trust and respect of their customers. In other words, think carefully about the nature of the relationship between the customer and the business serving them, it needs to be strong.

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