Now, I am the first one to be aggressive and try new and different marketing and sales techniques to gain new customers, retain present profitable customers and to increase my profits. But when I find something that works, I will use it over and over again - and, of course, make changes to make it work better.
In the summer of 2005 General Motors (GM) found their sales and profits decreasing - most of the country was in an economic downturn - and decided they needed to be more aggressive to attract customers. They created a sales program that sold a vehicle to anybody at the price a GM employee would pay. USA TODAY reported on June 29, 2005 that it appeared to have boosted GM sales 20% to 30%.
Fast forward to the summer of 2008 and once again General Motors finds itself in a slowing market. Sales and profits are down. So they revived employee pricing. I am sure their thinking was, "If it worked once. It will work again."
By the way, the idea for employee pricing grew out of an employee's suggestion.
When sales are slow in my businesses, I always go to two places. First, my customer list. After all it is much easier and a lot less expensive to sell to people who already know me and like my products and services. The second place I go is my scrap books. I, and my father before me, keep detailed records of every sale and promotion we ran.
I will find the ones that worked in similar economic circumstances, sometimes tweak it a bit, and usually find I have success.
If you have not kept scrap books of your past sales and promotions, start now. You will be able to rely on them in the future. Of course you will remember some of the promotions that worked for you in the past, but many of the details get lost unless you have it written down.
So what do you do if you have not keep scrap books of your past promotions? There are two other places to find ideas that worked in your industry for your products and services. One is other businesses like yours. Living and operating my businesses in central Pennsylvania, I found I was the leader in marketing and could not find very many different ideas that I had not tried from other businesses in our area. So I subscribed to the newspapers from Detroit, Los Angeles, Orlando and New York City. I found what worked for others in my industry also worked for me.
In my retail and wholesale businesses I also kept another set of scrap books of ads and promotions - my competition's. Wouldn't you like to know what promotions and ads your competition is going to run before they run them. Most businesses market the promotions each month of the year that they did the year before. They have their anniversary sale the same date each year. They start a summer promotion approximately the same date each year, etc.
In the retail business, if you have not kept a scrap book of your competition's marketing, all you have to do is go to the newspapers they market in and look at their archives. In my wholesale business I found my supplier sales representative could always help me discover my competition's sales and marketing plans. And most manufacturers introduce new products close to the same time each year.
Make sure you include all the cost, time and money, and all the operational details in your scrap book for each promotion. It will help you lower your cost and increase the productivity (profit) of your promotions.
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