What a challenge these last 3 months have been. Last weekend marked the end of our "3 month challenge" and I think you'll be interested in knowing our result.
Over this period I have painstakingly traced every single transaction: I traced all the orders from existing customers, I traced orders from new clients, I traced their repeat orders and I traced their referrals. I was quite convinced that I would pass that magic 25% increase in sales.
After spending nearly 5 hours double checking all the numbers, I found the increase over the same period last year to be 22.3%, just slightly short of our 25% target. What a shame!
But then I realised that a 22.3% increase in sales in a mere 3 months is actually quite impressive. If we had not set up our "3 month challenge", we would have had no idea how to increase our sales by 22.3%. so here are a few things we learned:
We must force ourselves to be 100% accountable for our actions.
One very big reason we announced our "3 month challenge" publicly, is that we deliberately wanted to put ourselves in places where we had our backs to the wall with a definite deadline to meet, and just had to show results. We were forced to be consistent with our actions every single day.
Because we set ourselves such a challenging goal, even if we fell slightly short of our target, we can still pat ourselves on the back and say: "not a bad effort, keep up the good work!"
Take massive actions
Don't put all your faith in one "killer" method, to bring you all the sales you dream of. Instead, try a few different strategies at the same time. In this, the last month of our "3 month challenge", we have many new orders coming in from the different marketing efforts we have put out... a very exciting feeling. This has nothing to do with luck, but is the compound effect of our massive actions.
Find the one big formula
This might seem to contradict to the last point but it doesn't. Many big, successful businesses have only one or two formulas for attracting customers, not 5 or 10. We're talking about a formula that can consistently and reliably bring in sales. Does your company have one? Nothing else matters if a business doesn't have a reliable sales formula to get people to buy.
3 months might be too short to declare that we have found our formula, but from the feedback we received from the different marketing channels we explored, we know very clearly what we're going to focus our energy on next year. This degree of clarity puts us in a much better position for 2010.
Be your own best teacher
Yes, we can learn many new things from many different resources, we can even hire a coach, but at the end of the day, we're still our own best teacher.
Our unique personal experiences are so vital to our growth. With a deeper, more sensitive analysis of the feedback we receive throughout our life, we can correct our own course because we can tell what works for us and what doesn't. Each person is different in their response to the various challenges and problems that come their way.
For instance I function better with a definite deadline so I announced the "3 month challenge" ; I can analyse a pretty complicated issue and figure out the easiest solution for myself, so I became involved with managing our "Google Adwords" advertisement... I try to understand my own strengths and weaknesses, and set up my environment accordingly, hopefully this will put me on the fast track to success.
This "3 month challenge" is a very special experience for me and I fully expect to learn a great deal from it.
Last but not least
Understand your prospective clients thoroughly and constantly monitor your marketing efforts
Who are your customers? What are they looking for in your service? What are their daily routines? What are their biggest fears and frustrations? What are their beliefs and desires? How do they act on line? What materials and information do they rely on? Where do they shop? What offers similar to yours, have been offered in the past? etc
Until we can find the answers to these types of questions, we donít really know our prospects. And if we donít, we canít develop a dialogue with them, and we canít promote our business to them effectively.
Thatís why we look at every piece of feedback we get. Happily, due to all our different marketing experiments we have received a lot of feedback. This gives us a whole new perspective, allowing us to view our marketing efforts from many different angles, to help us keep improving our sales results.
I know this is a never ending, constantly improving process, and I will share any new findings with you in the new year.
Well, this is the last issue of our e-zine for 2009, and I might have bored you with this very long note, so in order not to further overwhelm you, there will be no feature article for this issue...our first issue for 2010 will be sent on 27/01/2010.
Dedicated to your continuing business success and profits
(C) 2009 David Ji - Advance Printing & Signs