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Business owners and executives who want to increase profits often seek newer, hotter media techniques or the latest in mobile technology.

But, more often than not, the most effective strategies have far less to do with tech than they do with the simple talent of connecting effectively with your customers and prospects, to plug the leaks in your sales, marketing, and product creation systems.

Here are three key ways you can connect more effectively with your audience, to increase your profits.

1. Make marketing magic

When you decide what to buy, chances are good that you look for proof that the product or service works—and so do your customers and prospects. Giving them that proof is the fastest and easiest way to improve your marketing.

The reality is that if you aren't offering at least 25 testimonials, at least five case studies, and real statistical data showing that 90% of your customers are satisfied or 95% would recommend you, you're missing an opportunity to increase your revenue by as much as one-third.

And if you think these missed opportunities occur only in small companies, think again. I've consulted with $100-million companies that lacked such proof because they hadn't put a system in place to gather testimonials, case studies, and statistical data. Without a system, it just doesn't happen. But that system can be very simple: A satisfaction survey can let you build all three forms of proof easily and inexpensively.

And because so many companies miss the opportunity to use effective surveys to gather testimonials, build case studies, and measure satisfaction, doing so offers you a big opportunity to differentiate yourself in the marketplace.

2. Send sales soaring

When visitors come to your website, knowing exactly who they are and what they need brings an enormous increase in your conversions. Why? Because once you know what problem brought your prospects to you, you can offer specific information about how you can solve their problem—and the more specific your follow-up message, the more effective it will be.

One of our clients skyrocketed his conversions by putting an online quiz in place that automated the process of getting to know prospects. Knowing who your prospects are, which ones buy from you, and why... also lets you laser target your marketing—to find more prospects like the ones who are already buying from you. Those simple steps can bring additional increases in your revenue, by as much as one-third.

3. Keep customers coming

I have a friend who worked with Fortune 500 companies for years. In an industry where 80% of the products failed, he created nothing but winners—so much so that the company earned something like $1 billion. His secret was simple: He asked customers what they wanted, and then created it for them.

If you don't know what product or service your customers want NEXT; what elements to include in that product, to maximize sales; how your customers want the product or service delivered; what they'll pay; and when they're satisfied with your products or services, and when they're not... you're missing another opportunity to increase your revenue by as much as one-third.

Far too many businesses fail because they create a product that they "know" people want, only to find that no market exists. You can avoid that fate by simply asking your customers the right questions. And the added benefit of doing so is the power of being able to say in your marketing, "You told us you wanted this, so we created it for you." They'll feel invested in your company and commit to its success.

Make it happen

How do you make all this happen, with the potential of doubling your profits? Simple: Start a conversation with your customers and prospects using surveys and quizzes.

That does not mean you should send out a survey that virtually screams, "Give me the information I need to make more money." Your surveys and quizzes need to build a connection with your customers and prospects instead of destroying those relationships—as far too many surveys do.

How do you achieve that connection?

  • First, show your audience "what's in it for them." Tell them that you'll put the information to work for them by creating products they want and improving your customer service.
  • Second, give them an incentive. Healthcare practices can offer a report on "10 Ways to Avoid the Flu This Year" or a free cup or coffee in the snack bar; businesses could provide a chance to win a gift card, in exchange for feedback. Your patients, clients, or customers will feel much more valued and invested—and you'll get far better response to your surveys.
  • Third, show them you're listening. Report back them on the survey results. Show them how you've acted upon those results, whether it's fixing a problem in your customer service that they identified or planning a new service offering.
  • Fourth, do a good survey. Begin with a friendly introduction. Craft your questions carefully and make them about the customer, client, or patient—not about you. The difference between asking whether the doctor explained things clearly and asking whether the patient understood what the physician said is a subtle but important shift that places the focus squarely on the patient, instead of the provider.

Those are simple steps from which dramatic revenue increases can emerge.

Continue reading "Three Key Ways to to Help Your Business Find '2X' Profit Growth" ... Read the full article

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image of Jeanne Hurlbert

Jeanne Hurlbert, PhD, is a co-founder of MySurveyExpert and consults in strategic survey research and market research.

LinkedIn: Jeanne Hurlbert