Asking for the Sale

A recent survey of consumers and retail sales outlets has shown that one of the top 3 reasons that a consumer chose a particular product or service was that the sales person asked them to! Not only that but 67% of customers bought from such a store even though they thought they could get the product cheaper somewhere else. Sounds simple but do you ask your customers for the sale?

Over the years the perception of the salesperson has diminished. When you mention the word ‘salesman’ often people conjure up images of pushy door to door peddlers, slick used car salesmen or even those annoying telemarketers. They don’t always think about the friendly local butcher, Joe at the corner shop or even that fantastic lady who runs the local self storage centre where they keep their kids stuff. These people are primarily involved in sales, but they are often more personal and friendly than the old-fashioned push for the sale philosophy of the 80’s and 90’s. These days selling things is all about relationships, understanding your customers needs, particularly in self storage which is often necessary at times of change or crisis in a person’s life. However sometimes sales people get too caught up in the relationship side of things and forget that they still need to sell the product.

Basic human behaviour studies show that people need a reason to do things. From a very young age we start comprehending consequences for our actions, and from that moment we start considering things before we do them. Our decision process does not always appear rational, and it is often complicated with emotion and conflicting needs. Everyone at some point has found themselves looking for a reason to do something, essentially trying to justify a decision they have already made, whether it be buying a new plasma television, or skipping the family BBQ to have a quiet day at home. Sales is all about justifying your customers needs to buy your product rather than your competitors. Creating a relationship is a very important process in selling self storage, but it is all to no avail if you do not ask for the sale or get the close.

Very few customers will just come and say, that all sounds fantastic when can I come in and sign up for my unit, despite the fact that you have answered all their questions, the centre and unit meets their needs, and the price is within their range. They need you, the salesperson, to ask for the sale. If you say “so does that all sounds OK” and they say “yes, that sounds great”, then the very next thing you say should ask for the sale. “That’s fantastic, I can reserve the unit now if you want to give me your credit card details” or “let’s go back to the office and complete the paperwork then”. This gives the customer two choices, either agree to the purchase, or come up with a reason that the unit or deal is not right, which you can then address and ask for the sale again! It is not about being a pushy salesperson, rather it is about completing the process and giving the customer the final reason to store with you.

If you don’t ask for the sale then the customer could quite easily leave your centre, or hang up the phone thinking “that place was great BUT maybe I’ll see what else I can find”, as they are still trying to justify their decision.

They then contact your competitor and they offer the same product, maybe even at a higher price, but at the end of it ask for the sale. The customer then has a reason to purchase, if they don’t take the sale offer they need to come up with a reason why. Studies show that as long as that price is within their range, they will accept the sale, even though they know they could get the product cheaper somewhere else. At worst they say to your competitor, well I can get it for cheaper down the road, and then your competitor has the opportunity to match your price or justify the increase, either way they are likely to still get the sale.

Storage is not a traditional impulse buy; generally people really have a need for the product before they contact you. They may have that need and then see your ad in the local paper and realise storage is the answer to their need, but they still have an initial need to store their goods. This means that once they have contacted a least one storage centre and obtained information such as price, access and so on, they are either ready to buy or looking for some sort of alternative, like dad’s shed! SO if they are ready to buy, asking for the sale is crucial, as they will store with someone, and once they hang up the on you or leave your premises, chances are they will not come back.

You do not need to be pushy to ask for the sale, just a little bit assertive, and most people will respond to this in a positive way. Remember they are looking for a reason to purchase from you to fulfil their genuine needs for storage. SO after you have discussed their needs and explained how you can meet them use positive language such as: “so if that is all OK, would you like to place a deposit”, or even “so if this all sounds OK, when do you think you will be moving in”. Any statement that requires them to make a decision on your offer. Avoid using questions that allow them to be indecisive, like “so what do you think?” as it is significantly different to “so this unit would suit your needs then”. The classic response from the indecisive customer who is still looking for that reason to buy is “well I’ll think about it”. Lead them down the path of decision-making and give them the reason to buy now.

Most customers will be reluctant to ask you for the sale. They may be thinking that if they hold out they will get a better deal from you, they may just be a little insecure about finalising the deal, whatever the reason, chances are if you offer them a deal they will take it, and if they don’t you have the opportunity to find out what part of the deal is no good. If you find out that self storage is really not the solution to their needs, then that’s fine and you can let them go fairly comfortable that they will not end up with one of your competitors. If they come up with some reason why your business does not suit them then you have the opportunity to address these issues. All of this will come about simply by asking for the sale.

No customer should leave your centre, or hang up the phone without you making them an offer for self storage, or ancillary services if that is what they are after. You don’t need to be overbearing or pushy, and this certainly does not replace the need to get to know your customer, and understand and address their needs. It does complete the process though and is a crucial part of any sale. Make sure you and your staff are completing your sales process by asking for the sale and you will notice the difference!

Slipstream Marketing

Slipstreaming is the art of getting behind someone or something else in order to conserve your own power and drive yourself further. For instance, if you drive down the highway directly behind a vehicle that is bigger than yours you will use a lot less power.

That’s why migrating birds like ducks for instance, fly in formation. It is claimed they can fly eighty percent further this way than they could on their own. “The slipstream of a moving object is a region of reduced pressure or even suction (negative pressure), exerted in the neighbourhood of the object and in the direction of its movement and caused by its movement through a medium. The term ‘slipstreaming’ is most often used in relation to objects moving through air, although not necessarily flying. If a following object moving at the same speed can position itself within the slipstream, it will require less energy to maintain its speed than if it was moving independently, because the front object blocks a significant amount of air resistance. So ends the science lesson!

Why am I telling you all this and how could it possibly relate to your self storage business? You can use this exact same principle to slipstream your marketing and promotional efforts through a method known as slipstream marketing.

In simple terms, slipstream marketing is the gentle art of positioning your business behind somebody else’s promotional efforts, publicity or event to give your own marketing efforts greater power. One good example of this is a campaign that ran for the well-known car rental firm Avis which used the phrase “we’re number two, so we try harder!” Avis positioned itself behind the market leader and established a powerful psychological alignment. Instead of working to displace what is on top of people’s’ minds, you can tie yourself to it and harness it, rather than trying to oppose its momentum. Anything that has captured the public’s attention is a candidate to slipstream – not just market leaders or big business. Celebrities and events of all kinds are hot candidates for slipstream marketing. Even sporting events.

For instance when I was National Marketing manager for the electronics firm Sharp, I staged a slipstream marketing coup based on AFL football. There was a player around at the time that looked like breaking the long-standing record for the greatest number of goals kicked in a season. It was the talk of the town, especially in the states that keenly followed AFL. We offered a prize of $100 000 to be split between the player and his favourite charity if he could break the record. This immediately generated a huge amount of publicity in the local media. But here’s the really tricky part… Unbeknown to the media and the public, I took the odds on him breaking the record, which was something like 25 to one, and insured our loss for a paltry $4000. So, we not only slipstreamed a major topical event – with a little creative thinking – we did it for a fraction of the cost. We effectively achieved a $100 000 promotion for $4000.

People I knew used to say to me, “I bet you’re hoping and praying that he doesn’t do it!” Little did they know, I was actually hoping and praying that he did, because this would have generated even greater publicity at no further expense! Just for the record, unfortunately he didn’t manage it.

So how could your storage business benefit from slipstream marketing? There is an endless variety of things you can slipstream: personalities, icons, slogans, music, advertisements, news events, pop culture phenomena, movies, television shows, commercials and sporting events just to name a few. Piggy back onto anything that’s controversial, topical or in the news. The opportunities are all around you. All it takes is a little imagination and some creative thinking.

Peter Thorpe
Peter Thorpe
http://www.thenet.com.au

Introducing Australia’s first self storage REIT

In December 2013, National Storage launched Australia’s first successful initial public offering (IPO) in the self storage sector. National Storage REIT (NSR) is the first independent, internally managed and fully integrated owner and operator of self storage centres to be listed on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX).

The establishment of NSR brought together the following assets:
– 28 freehold self storage properties and businesses;
– Long term leasehold interests over an additional 10 self storage centres;
– Management rights and a shareholding interest in an additional 24 self storage centres owned by Southern Cross Storage Group (an investment fund co-owned by NSR and funds managed by US fund manager Heitman);
– Two additional freehold properties acquired immediately after listing; and
The National Storage operating platform, providing fully integrated management services to all 62 self storage centres across Australia.

The formation of National Storage REIT has been an important development for the original shareholders of National Storage, and the Australian self storage industry generally.

National Storage Group
For National Storage’s original shareholders, the IPO was the culmination of over 19 years of hard work, growing the business from a single centre in Oxley, Brisbane to a portfolio of 62 centres across Australia. The IPO also represented an opportunity to reinvent its business model, having explored a variety of different ownership structures during its history.

The Nation Storage Group was established in December 2000, following the merger of Stowaway Self Storage, National Mini Storage and Premier Self Storage. The union consolidated over 30 years of industry experience, creating a network of centres with the capacity to deliver tailored storage solutions for domestic and commercial needs across Australia. Since then, National Storage has enjoyed partnerships with a number of private and institutional investors, undertaking eight tranches of acquisitions to grow the business to over 60 centres.

Managing Director of National Storage REIT, Mr Andrew Catsoulis, acknowledged the range of business structures and partnerships he had managed in the past provided a solid understanding of what the business needed for the future.

Over the past twenty years, our experience has shown a successful, national self storage business needs a number of key ingredients. These key factors include:
– A full internalized management structure
– A strong freehold ownership base for the majority of assets
– Flexible ownership options to accommodate a variety of development and acquisition opportunities
– An experience operational and management team, to sit under an independent and highly credentialed Board of Directors to govern and provide guidance

The new National Storage REIT provides us with all of this and represents an incredible opportunity to grow the business in the future” he said.

In the future National Storage will be able to offer a suite of storage related services, all designed to add to its bottom line revenue growth, including exit strategies for owners via acquisition of mature centres, management with take-out options for start-up or immature centres, leasehold with options to acquire and greenfield development services.

Importance of the NSR IPO for the Australian self storage industry
The establishment of National Storage REIT is an important step forward in the development and institutionalisation of the self storage industry in Australia. The self storage sector is a vibrant, exciting and highly underrated sector of the property investment market in Australia. It provides capital backed assets with solid returns, is generally resistant to economic downturns and is ever-evolving.

These attractive investment features have been well recognised in the USA and more recently in the UK, where storage real estate investment trusts have consistently outperformed many of the traditional sectors of the property investment market. Unfortunately, in Australia the lack of independent, high quality research by institutional investment analysts has meant that with the exception of some boutique investments by ‘brave’ institutional private equity investors, the market has not been able to attract a broader base of high quality institutional investors as seen in the commercial, retail and industrial property sectors. To an extent this has meant self storage as an investment sector has been ‘off the radar’ for many such institutional investors.

The advent of National Storage REIT has challenged these market perceptions and changed the face of storage investments in Australia. For the first time institutional and sophisticated retail investors were afforded the opportunity to invest in a liquid ASX listed storage specific vehicle as part of the National Storage REIT IPO. Several of Australia’s largest REIT fund managers invested in the float, with a number of international institutional investors also supporting the National Storage REIT.

This is an important milestone for the Australian self storage industry as it represents a change in mindset and recognition that in the future, well-managed, well-structured storage offerings do have the potential to gain widespread institutional market acceptance.

The National Storage team is focused on delivering investors an attractive income stream from its diversified portfolio, with potential for income and capital value growth through increasing rents, increasing occupancy, expanding existing centres and acquiring or developing additional centres as well as via the provision of management acquisition and development services to the storage industry generally.

Five Key Factors
National Storage identified five factors fundamental to the success of the IPO:

1. Good Advice
Having top quality advisors in place meant National Storage had the best team possible to enable it to structure and successfully execute the transaction. This meant that when the going got tough (as it certainly did) National Storage had a strong team and support network to find solutions to complex problems.

1. Right Structure
It was important to understand the market’s concerns and to structure the deal to accommodate these legitimate issues. One such concern included the presentation of the transaction to the market – it was important to recognise the IPO as being the next logical step in the growth of the business rather than as an ‘exit strategy’ for the original shareholders.

3. Alignment of Interests
We had to make it clear to investors that our interests as shareholders and managers were totally aligned with the interests of investors. This meant for the original shareholders long-term escrow arrangements, distribution clawbacks, and minimum threshold returns payable to new investors before original shareholders would participate in their own right. Whilst onerous, these restrictions clearly demonstrated the commitment of the team to the transaction and afforded the investors enormous confidence when making their decision to invest.

4. Clear Achievable Goals
Having a clear plan with attainable goals was essential for marketing the offer successfully to investors. The goals of National Storage REIT include the delivery of an underlying return of 8% in year one, organic growth from occupancy and rate per square metre growth, using its substantial balance sheet capacity to make accretive high quality acquisitions, and the delivery of superior value from a fully aligned, totally integrated storage platform.

5. Honesty and Hard Work
A key factor in presenting the IPO to the market was to be credible and not to try to be something National Storage was not. National Storage has an incredible team, and without the dedicated and determined efforts of each person this transaction could not have happened.

Mr Catsoulis is keen to share his enthusiasm for the opportunities that lie ahead for National Storage REIT and the sector in general. Reflecting on the transaction with a modest sense of accomplishment and a realistic take on the challenges of operating in the listed environment, he commented;

“by retaining our integrity, our sense of humour (which was vital) and a never say die attitude, National Storage was able to achieve something quite unique. The future represents a myriad of challenges and opportunities, and whilst no doubt daunting in some respects, we at National Storage are keenly anticipating the new and exciting road ahead”.

WebStor releases new marketing dashboard

WebStor, Centreforce Technology Groups in-house web division have just released their custom SEO/SEM dashboard for 2014.

The dashboard is available to existing SEO and SEM Self Storage customers and brings together key analytical information about the performance of their websites including link position, competitor analysis and ranking. Combined with custom analytical reporting the marketing dashboard also provides opportunity for input by the customer.

Access to features in the Marketing Dashboard is controlled by the SEO/SEM plan that is being used by the customer. One of the major features is the keyword rankings and visibility report which demonstrates a websites visibility by search engine – it’s essential that websites have good visibility on major search engines and site visibility is controlled by many factors.

The Marketing Dashboard gives users the opportunity to view their keywords and also change those keywords for their websites.“We looked at a number of dashboard products for customers and we found them to be too confusing” Dallas Dogger, CEO said. Our internal brief to our developers was to develop a dashboard that was easy to use and easy to read and one that did not confuse customers with a whole range of information not relevant to the website” he said.

The dashboard provides real information that website owners can use to determine the effectiveness of not only their keywords but how effective their link building campaign is. It is easy to compare the performance of the website month by month using these key factors.

For our premium customer’s, comparison information is provided on competitive websites which is paramount to fine tuning special offers to be competitive in the marketplace. The Marketing Dashboard is part of the suite of products that WebStor offer including website design, graphic art, professional photography and SEO/SEM services.

WebStor are responsible for the creative content and hosting of some of Australia’s leading Self Storage sites, like Capital Self Storage, Storage Plus, Elite Self Storage, My Self Storage Glen Waverley and many more.

For more information please contact Dallas Dogger at dallas@centreforceit.com.au

Vanuatu: The happiest country on earth?

Voted the happiest country in the world in 2006 and 2008, there are worse places you could think of to start a new storage business than Vanuatu. Lloyd Hately of Vanuatu Self Storage certainly thought so when he opened his first facility (comprising 12 units) in the capital of Port Vila in mid 2012. A relative newcomer to the industry Lloyd found himself enjoying the extra time afforded by the business.

1. What is your background and what do you most enjoy about your current role?
I previously worked in the structural steel and building industry, however I find that “self storage gives me more time to play golf”. Having terrific staff, a good office manager and a supportive construction crew really helps.

2. How has your facility developed?
Since we opened we’ve built 16 more units with another 16 (6mx3m) currently under construction. In the future I will be looking to expand the existing site rather than opening another facility.

3. How do you advertise your business?
I started a local radio advertising campaign which has been fairly successful. Once the construction on our new units is finished I’ll step this up along with newspaper advertisements.

4. Have you noticed an impact with the global economic downturn?
The private sector in Vanuatu suffered pretty badly with the global financial crisis. Usually we have lots of Australia and NZ (ex) patriots buying land here, however that dried up completely. It’s starting to turn around now which is good.

5. What opportunities do you see in the industry in Vanuatu?
Self storage is such a new market in Vanuatu. We are the only purpose-built facility in Port Vila – there’s no one else here offering this kind of service. We had an initial rush with our first lot of units as there was a definite need out there.

6. What do you see as the challenges for the industry?
Creating awareness is a challenge; it’s important to let people know that we are here and we are good value. Most people in Vanuatu aren’t flat or unit dwellers and have big back yards (which they can fit a shipping container in), so they haven’t really seen a need for self storage. We are seeing more customers who have taken the shipping container route and have had stuff ruined though.

7. What are the points of difference in your market (as opposed to Australia/NZ)?
Generally speaking the business models from Australia and NZ don’t work here as we have a much smaller market. We also have a different demographic; fewer private storers and more commercial customers such as retail, business houses, embassies and NGO’s.

We don’t offer specialised storage such as wine or boat storage as there’s no demand for it given that the majority of our storers are commercial.

At this stage there’s no need to price discount as self storage is such a new industry here.

Kennards Self Storage Secures its 80th Centre with Opportunistic Wellington Buy

After falling into receivership in 2012, Storage King Wellington (New Zealand) has finally been sold by the Receivers, with Kennards Self Storage successfully claiming it.

Kennards secured the purchase of the property just prior to Christmas after a second marketing campaign run by Colliers. The Receivers and Colliers first attempt to sell the asset was in July 2012.

For Australian-based Kennards, the Wellington acquisition gives it a 9th New Zealand location and is the company’s 80th across both countries.
Located at 19 Hutt Road, Thorndon it is 2 km’s from Wellington’s CBC and enjoys strong exposure to the motorway. The storage centre has 1,100 spaces and trading at 67% occupancy.

“This is the best storage location in Wellington” explains Sam Kennard, Managing Director. “The fit out quality is high and it enjoys a superior location. We are excited by this addition to our network”.

Kennards re-branding will be done immediately. The company also intends to undertake significant refit of the existing self storage units.
“Currently there is a mismatch in customer demand and actual size mix at this property. We will invest to rectify this so occupancy can grow to an acceptable level” Kennards says.

In addition, the property has expansion potential for a further 2,000 square metres of gross floor area. Kennards paid $5.8 million to secure the property. The sale process was run by Richard Findlay and Tim Julian of Colliers International.

Kennards entered the New Zealand Self Storage market in 2008 with the acquisition of a portfolio and a couple of independent operators. Kennards Self Storage serves the North Island with centres in Auckland, Tauranga, Hawkes Bay, Palmerston North, Wanganui and now Wellington.

This acquisition just prior to Christmas concludes a very busy year for Kennards. In November, they acquired the Depot Storage portfolio of four storage centres in the Sunshine Coast and North Lakes. This was a $17.25 million transaction, adding 12,600 square metres to the groups rentable space.

Earlier in the year, Kennards completed construction of a new centre in Klemzig in Adelaide’s north eastern suburbs and also opened in Frenchs Forest in Sydney’s north.

In addition to the 6 new properties, Kennards also expanded numerous existing locations, combined, this resulted in an increase its total available space by over 37,000 square metres in 2013 calendar year.

In 2014, the growth plans include new centres in the Sydney suburbs of Pymble and Macquarie Park, as well as a second location in Wollongong.

Kennards Self Storage remains a private family owned and operated business.

The Ultimate Retirement Question

How much money do you need to fund your retirement? In the past this has been a difficult question to answer but as analysts, academics and superannuation/investment specialists have put their heads together to crunch the numbers, things have become a little clearer. It’s no surprise that it all depends on your life expectancy, work plans, investment returns and desired lifestyle – basic, modest or comfortable.

The Association of Super Funds of Australia (SFA) has released an updated ASFA Retirement Standard that is considers the gold standard for the planning of retirement dollar amounts. It is updated quarterly to take into account matters such as inflation, changes in living standards and evolving spending patterns. Costs considered include communications, energy, food, clothing, household goods and services, health, transport and leisure.

Basic:
This could be defined as living on the Age Pension. Without including supplements, the basic Age Pension payments currently top out at $19 076.20 annually for an individual or $28 761.20 for a couple. That’s just $367 per week for an individual or $553 per week for a couple.

Modest:
A modest lifestyle, it says, requires a budget of $22 641 annually for an individual or $32 603 for a couple, which is not far above the Age Pension. This enables only basic activities and does not allow private health insurance, regular travel, purchase of a reasonable car, good clothes or a range of electronic equipment.

Comfortable:
This type of lifestyle does include the above and in addition an occasional economy-class international holiday, an occasional renovation of a kitchen or bathroom, the ability to entertain family and friends at home. It requires $41 1169 annually for an individual or $56 317 for a couple.

Importantly, both the modest and comfortable budgets assume the outright ownership of a home and the relative good health of the individual/couple.

Lump sums required at retirement to achieve these goals are relatively low for the modest lifestyle, coming in at $50 000 for an individual and $35 000 for a couple, as most of the funds will come from the Age Pension as long as the individuals qualify. However as the population ages is it worth asking whether you want to rely on the Age Pension?

The lump sum required for a comfortable lifestyle, assuming 7% return and receipt of part of the Age Pension, is $510 000 for a couple and $430 000 for an individual. The figures assume a retirement age of 65, with payment projected to run out when the person or couple are in their early 90’s and living on the Age Pension only after this date. Of course, final income relies on investment returns, life span and whether the investor would like to leave any money behind in a will. Discuss your specific needs with your financial planner in order to help ensure that your retirement lifestyle is everything you hoped for.

This article has been prepared by Commonwealth Financial Planing Limited ABN 65 003 900 169, AFSL 231139 (Commonwealth Financial Planning) a wholly owned, non-guaranteed subsidiary of Commonwealth Bank of Australia ABN 48 123 123 124. Commonwealth Financial Planners are Representatives or Authorised Representatives of Commonwealth Financial Planning.

Information in this article is based on regulatory requirements and laws as at August 2013, which may be subject to change. While care has been taken in the preparation of this article, no liability is accepted by Commonwealth Financial Planning, its related entities, agents and employees for any loss arising from reliance on this document. This article contains general advice. It does not take account of your individual objectives, financial situation or needs. You should consider talking to a financial planner before making a financial decision.

What are your staff and customers saying about your business?

When the television show ‘Undercover Boss’ screened in Australia, business owners watched eagerly to see what the outcomes were each episode, with the usual scenario where the staff were fabulous against all odds as a result of which they received a reward or promotion. There were cases though where the ‘Undercover Boss’, uncovered some unsavoury work practices or lack of resources, impacting on productivity.

As owners and operators of businesses with a lot fewer employees (sometimes only yourselves or one other), to go undercover may not be an option, but let me ask you before you began your business or even now after you have established your business did you do a little undercover work by checking out what your competitor did in their business?

Many owners and managers do, I have spoken to many CEO’s over the years who all admit to checking not only their competitors but also their prospective employer, getting the low down on the business before they sign the dotted line and getting a personal idea of how the staff interact with customers.

Providing Grass Root Knowledge
As an owner going undercover may not be a practical option so let’s look at other research methods in measuring the ROI on the intangibles.
– Suggestion/feedback cards
– Customer surveys
– Staff surveys
– Focus groups
– Mystery shopping
All are means of measuring the ROI on the tangible, but more importantly the intangible.

Oops has been providing research services including ‘Mystery Shopping’ services for close on twenty years. Using our own proprietary software ‘OARS’, collecting real-time data that is with the client within 24 hours, thanks to cloud technology and employees Australia wide, we are able to offer a product that it tailored for every business in every industry that is benchmarked.

The foundation of all business is the service that is provided to your customer and it’s the feeling that they have before, during and after the transaction. No matter how good the product or facility might be, if it is delivered with disdain, or an uncaring and unfocused service manner chances are there won’t be a sale or certainly not a repeat sale.

Research shows that there is a buying cycle that differs on products as well as for people, your job as a business owner is to figure this out:
– Who is your target market?
– What does your brand stand for – what do you want your business to be known for?
– Are you and your staff passionate about the business?
– Do your values underpin the organisational culture?

Without passion and commitment you are not going to be any different from your competitor.

People are our business – without customers coming through the door there is no business and without staff choosing to work in our businesses there is no business. The human element is the difference between your business and your competitor. How do you find out how that human element interacts with your customers?

There are a number of key indicators in your business that need to be analysed and the top three are: hiring and firing, analyse marketing impacts/trends and communication with your client base. Take a moment and ask yourself these questions and consider whether your business needs to be analysed or perhaps your competitor.

Hiring and Firing
What are the core values of your business and do they underpin the organisational culture of your business? Do you have an interview and induction program when hiring staff? Do you need to make an adjustment to your organisational culture?

Analyse Marketing Impacts/Trends
You have all heard the numbers bandied around on how we are bombarded daily with advertising. Businesses marketing their products and services whether it’s on a billboard along the freeway or the ‘inbox’.

Repeatedly staff and management are told; you need to immerse yourselves in social media such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, blogs, e-zines, YouTube clips and podcasts or do you use newsletters, published articles, the local paper, direct mail, sms or even flyers? Whether you do some or all, more importantly is doing it right consistently and then measuring your marketing returns.

Surveying your current customers is a great way of finding out what their perceptions are of your business and of your staff, feedback on your marketing and where your strengths and weaknesses are.

At OOPS our clients have been able to forecast their growth and add to their product mix from what they have learned from the surveys and facilitation that we have conducted for them on their behalf.

Communication with Your Client Base
Just about every business has a website, that is looked at with wonder when it first goes up but then is promptly forgotten by many managers as they depend on their ‘web designer’ to review the site on an ongoing basis. When conducting Mystery Shopping reports for our clients on their websites we find; photos and links that don’t work, incorrect phone numbers, managers names that no longer work there and outdated product information.

Marketing is a constant changing process in business, as are your customers. They may be the same demographic but the way they find out about your facility has changed and websites and apps are the ‘first impression’ of your business.

Through appropriate research and analysis (whether it be mystery shopping, focus groups, surveys or internal audits) you can gather data and in doing so establish a strategic competitive edge.

Engage your customers, don’t just serve them.

Michelle Pascoe OOPS
Michelle Pascoe
Owner of OOPS

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