Spend all the time you like thinking about it but there is only one.
Attracting new and retaining existing customers.
And it's something you must be doing every single day.
Now, because there are so many other projects and tasks that take our time in business, you must be intentional and focused about this.
It doesn't matter at what time of day you do this, but it needs to be done.
If you do this consistently, without excuses, (aside from some kind of apocalyptic event), you will be amazed at the transformation in your business.
How Should I Be Doing It?
So how do we best do this? Well, it's not achieved by scattering your efforts throughout the day. You take a portion of your day and spend that portion doing what you need to, to start attracting new business.
That could be from your existing customer database, or it could be from converting the prospects in your pipeline to new customers.
How long should this focused time be? That comes down to good old Pareto's law, the 80:20 rule. 20% percent of your focused activity will produce 80% of your results. The rest of the day can be swallowed up by admin, staff management, project delivery, planning, whatever takes up your time,
However, this 20% of your day is sacrosanct. Nothing else gets in the way. To work out how much time that is, take your productive working day, (not the wasted hours when you kid yourself you're working), but those that are producing some results, and divide those working hours by five.
If you spend six hours per day cranking your business machine, then its 72 minutes (20% of 360 minutes), which you round up or down to suit you. For eight hours, it would be 96 minutes (20% of 480 minutes).
Make sure you don't skimp though. If it's 70 for you, make sure you give it 70 minutes of focus. Some people I know do that first thing in the morning, others later in the morning or even that afternoon. The timing doesn't necessarily matter. It's when it is best for you.
What Should I Be Doing During It?
The next question is what? How do I spend this focused time most effectively? To answer that, you need to have some goals in place and this is yet another reason why numbers are so important. Your revenue target is one of them and knowing your lead time to sale is pretty handy to know as well.
This focused time to drive your business forward, so generating the activity you need to make that happen is a good place to start. Now, that's all a bit vague. So let's look at five activities you should be working on and more importantly, why:
As your email list builds, it's very easy not to be talking to them all on a regular basis. We know marketing email works, but it won't if your existing customers only hear from you once every six weeks. This isn't a newsletter either. It is a specific email to them about their particular business. The email must be relevant to them and address a problem they have that you can do something about.
You've heard of buyer's remorse, where people who have bought something suddenly feel remorse at buying it and are thinking about returning it. The Happiness Email is aimed at reversing this. This email reminds the customer why they've bought your product, service, package, whatever it may be, and tells them about the smart decision they've made and how it's going to help them, not only do this, but also that, and then even more they hadn't thought about.
These are emails you send to older customers that you haven't kept in touch with very well. Their message may be "hey, you bought xxx from us last year to fix a problem you had and I wondered how it worked for you. Is there something else we could help you with?". All you're trying to do here is to re-engage with them and re-start some kind of conversation.
Follow Up Emails.
Many books and webinars have explained to you that the fortune is in the follow up. You could massively improve your sales conversion rates by following up prospects who have been close to but haven't bought from you yet. However, we stress that this should be plural. The future is in the follow ups and not just one. We emphasise four or five and not all by email. But it's still being proved every year that email is still a very effective tool as part of this process.
List Building Emails
There are many ways you can use email to build your list. Emailing people who you met at an online or physical network meeting, engaged with on LinkedIn or other social media platforms. You may have recently been to an event where you've collected a handful or business cards and now is the time to strike up a relationship with them and add their details on to your CRM system, keeping in mind the various GDPR rules that are in place.
How Do I Know It Works?
You've noticed here that all these activities involve working with email. It has been proven, even in 2023, that email is still one of the best tools for converting prospects into customers and sales. Many sites are reporting a minimum of 30% open rates with many brands planning to raise their email marketing activity even further this year. They're obviously aware of the effectiveness of email so don't be dismissive of it. However, it's also important to not only build your list but to categorise segments of your data. That's a topic for another blog.
Should I Do It Alone?
We've already talked about these activities being ones that will drive your business forward the most but just as importantly, they should be those things that you wouldn't want to entrust to anyone else. It may not be just about emails. It could be planning your turnover, conversion rates and profit goals, as long as you only do what's required. Playing with formatting, prettying them up and building complex, cool formulas in a spreadsheet are not going to take your business forward. Any planning must be practical, as simple as possible so those plans can be implemented speedily.
Planning those activities is also fine, as long as you know you are delegating them to the people who have the skills to do them well and make sure they know exactly what you want from them. There's nothing wrong with making some brief notes for others to implement and take that strain, as long as you use the time you freed up effectively. However, don't have other people in on your sessions. They will distract you, even if it's unintentionally. This is your time.
When Should I be Doing it?
Now you know what you could be doing with that crucial 20% of your day, your job is to now schedule those slots into your daily diary. Think about when you can grab some uninterrupted time and when you are at your most creative. It works even better if you make those slots to be the same time everyday. For example, if you and your team know that between 9.30 and 11.00 everyday, you are not to be disturbed, then you can get on without any distractions.
So, when are you going to start doing it every day?
If you would like some guidance, direction and support with this, have a look at our monthly Aspirations & Accountability here