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David Fuller: Should hunting customers be banned in your business?Hunting season is just around the corner in many places in Canada.

In northern communities, people rely on moose or deer meat to sustain themselves through the winter.

Rituals and skills of hunting are passed from one generation to the next as families and friends go into the forests. These tracking and hunting skills are passed on during the days and weeks of the hunting season. They take years to master and usually thousands of dollars in equipment and fuel.

Often as business owners we spend much of our time hunting for customers. We’re looking in the bushes for new customers and we’re trying to find the ones who got away.

It takes five to 10 times more effort and money to get a new customer than it does to keep one we have. But how about getting customers to come to us? What if we could find a way for our customers to search us out and be lined up to get our advice, to buy our products?

That would be great.

In fact, you can have your prospective customers drawn to you so you don’t have to hunt for them.

The first thing you need to do to become a customer magnet is know who your customers are and where you can find them. Assuming that you know already what they need, you’re set to begin drawing them in. To do this you need bait, usually something that you’re going to give away for free. In many, cases this is your expertise or you’re going to facilitate bringing that knowledge to your customers.

At one of my businesses, we started by offering educational seminars. Then we started putting on bigger consumer shows in the community. After we outgrew the need for consumer shows, we started a talk radio show on a local radio station. We trained our staff as experts and advertised that so customers would feel comfortable asking questions. When we don’t have the answers, we find them. When we don’t know about a product, we find out.

We created value for our customers and developed relationships so they didn’t want to buy from our competitors.

Attracting customers can be much easier if they see you as the expert. Think about ways that you can become the expert in areas where your prospects engage. By doing this, you’ll have prospects as well as your steady customers coming to you on a regular basis to seek your advice and buy your products or services.

Because hunting (marketing and advertising) for customers can take so much time, money and energy in your business, you want to avoid it if at all possible. If you can discover ways of baiting your customers so they come back to you, you will never starve.

In fact, you can ban hunting in your business and save thousands of dollars each and every year.

Troy Media columnist David Fuller, MBA, is a certified professional business coach and author who helps business leaders ensure that their companies are successful. David is author of the book Profit Yourself HealthyHunt Dave down at dave@profityourselfhealthy.com.

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Should hunting customers be banned in your business?

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