How to get an advantage on businesses in a recession

By Som Mathur, PowerSites Marketing Analyst

Why do so many businesses in a recession struggle to get by?

It’s not because of bad luck, a lack of funds, or even a drop in sales. These are symptoms, not causes. The big reason is the lack of willingness to adapt to change.

Many businesses don’t bother to look for changes in their customer base or their market. In fact, many of them don’t even know how.

The more you know about your customers, the better.

By adapting your business, you can get ahead of the curve and even possibly increase sales in a downturn. It’s not as hard as you think either …

If you track just two simple metrics, you can get all the information you need to make it through hard times. You might even thrive in a market that was hidden before.

So what are the two metrics to track?

  1. Sales
  2. Repeat Sales

That’s it.  These metrics give you the best chance for surviving a recession, and put you ahead of 95% of your competitors.

Sales tell you where your marketing efforts are working and on what demographics. Repeat sales tell you who your best customers are. Focus your marketing efforts on getting more repeat sales.

Many business don’t keep even the basic info (name, address, email,  products/ services ordered) on their customers when they get orders.

It’s harder for some business to get customer info, like fast-food restaurants. Still, they can use contests, prizes, short surveys, and similar tactics to get that info.

Either way, do what you can to get background info on your customers. This includes getting your customer’s name, address, number of orders, products/ services purchased, email address, and phone number.

The more info, the better. If you can’t get this info from all of your customers, try for at least 10% of them.

Use that info to get a clear picture of who your repeat customers are. They are the ones that bring you the most money. Then contact them and find out the reasons why they buy from you and not someone else.

Don't let this happen to you.

Take that information to gear your sales and marketing campaigns to appeal to those repeat customers, or turn some more one-time buyers into repeat customers.

The longer you track both metrics, the easier it will be to see which customers are leaving or staying when there’s a downturn. Then you can change your marketing and sales strategy to appeal to your best customers and keep your sales up.

There are sales-tracking software programs available, too. They can you save you a lot of time when tracking and organizing your sales data. In fact, you can get most of the functions you need by using Google Docs, absolutely free.

The best part is that your competitors won’t figure out what you’re doing, so you have a special competitive advantage.

Don’t just hunker down in a downturn. Get the customer info you need to take evasive action.

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