Donna Richardson of Peppermint Grove, Western Australia asks:
I started a
B2B business six months ago and am struggling. I produce a great product
which my existing customers love. I just don’t have enough customers
and my bank balance doesn’t give me the freedom to promote as I want.
Could you give me some guidance on how to increase my customers with
little money. Thanks.
Kenelm Tonkin, Chairman, Tonkin Corporation answers:
Congratulations. Your customers love your product! If you are
cash-strapped, I’d start with this good news and simply build on it. You
need to transform all your satisfied customers into an instant sales
force. Here’s how:
Step 1: Talk to your customers about their
satisfaction with your product. Ask how it can be improved. Gauge the
extent of their satisfaction.
Step 2: Explain that you are a small
business only 6 months old and that you live or die by what people say
about your product.
Step 3: Be bold. Ask for a written testimonial. Tell
them you only need a short one, short meaning a maximum of two
Step 4: Make it easy for them. Offer to write a draft
testimonial. Give them the option of just replying “approved” or making
some edits to the draft.
Step 5: If your customer engages, push a little
further. Suggest the testimonial would be more persuasive with a
photograph. Again, make it easy. With their permission, copy their
photograph straight from LinkedIn if it has sufficient resolution or ask
them to email it to you. They will have the photograph if it’s already
Step 6: Complete the testimonial by including the person’s
full name, job title, company and date. I am amazed how many companies
use just a first name as if such anonymity somehow builds credibility.
You want prospects to feel safe with their purchase of your product.
Transparency is everything. Your testimonials must withstand the bright
light of scrutiny. So the date is important too. Yes, the testimonial’s
impact will fade as it ages, but you have a riveting, credible sales
tool for at least a year.
Step 7: After collecting seven written
testimonials which have a full name, job title, company, date and
photograph, graduate to video testimonials. You need to reserve these
for your most accommodating, influential customers. Organise a time to
meet the person in his office. Take a professional videographer. This is
not the time for DIY because the production values are vital. You need
an expert in technology, lighting, colour, editing and set dressing.
Step 8: After assembling a portfolio of written and video testimonials,
plaster them in every distribution channel you have. This is no time to
be shy. Now your customers are your sales force.