Thursday, February 12, 2009

Letting Others Promote Your Sewing Machine Repair

By David Trumble

What is it that makes or breaks your business? While there may be several different factors that relate to your business, patrons are among the most important. Without them, the business goes broke. So, how do you get new customers?

Your business is all about getting customers to buy what you offer. If you repair sewing machines, you must get clients to bring you their machines to service. If you sell widgets, gadgets, or whatnots; you will always need new customers. Servicing and retaining customers follows, but only after you get them.

In 1992, I started a sewing machine repair business out of my garage. It is a real business grossing over one and a quarter million dollars last year. The foundation, however, is simple. Get, satisfy, and keep customers.

The first challenge for your business is getting patrons. While you can spend thousands of dollars advertising to attract clients, there is a far better way. Simply, the better way is to let others do your advertising for you. One patron attracts another. While it may sound simple, it is often a bit challenging.

Leverage your marketing by working through other people. Reduce your costs, while you increase your return on promotional investments.

Step one, just ask. Yes, you can just ask your satisfied customers to give you the names and information of all their friends that might be interested in your services. You can even bribe them for their referrals. Once you get the names, you reach out to them with special offers to become your patrons.

There are three basic challenges with traditional referrals. Customers do not like giving them. Often you feel awkward asking for them, and therefore fail to do it consistently. Tracking referrals can also be a challenge.

A home based repair business depends on customers feeling neighborly and welcome, but not pressured. I got a few traditional referrals, but then I discovered a slight variation that really worked great. I printed up 500 GIFT CERTIFICATES for $5 each. When I completed a sewing machine service, I included a stack of five gift certificates. I explained, if you will sign your name where is says Authorized By, I will credit you for $5 every time one of these gift certificates is redeemed by one of your friends. That way their next service could possibly even be free. I also told them that if they needed more certificates, I had plenty and they were free.

To make this work, the existing patron must understand three things. They are giving away a real gift with real value. Their friend must redeem the gift by becoming your new customer. They will, themselves, receive credit toward their next purchase from the business. In this way, you get the best kind of referrals, the best kind of advertising, and the best possible results.

People know other people. People influence other people. People in groups are especially vulnerable to the influence of the group. Therefore, plug into groups of people that can promote you and your business. Sewing clubs, quilt guilds, library societies, schools, and church groups as well as many other groups offer opportunities to reach people through groups. Offer special seminars or demonstrations. Give away token gifts, but spread the news. Get people excited and they will broadcast your information to others.

Are there other businesses looking for new customers? Of course. So, get together with one or several of those other businesses and cross promote. Give away each others gift certificates or sales coupons. It is amazing how inexpensive advertising is, when other businesses are adverting to their customers for you.

When someone buys a sewing machine from Walmart, where do they get help learning how to use it or getting service? You can be their solution. Why not let Walmart help you build your business. Sometimes you can make inroads with managers, but you certainly can enlist the help of the workers. What you want is referrals. What do you think the Walmart worker might want? What does your prospect want.

As a sewing machine repairman, I have discovered a great way to let others promote me. I made a list of all the quilt shops and fabric shops in my area. I contacted the owners and explained what I do. I offered to pay them to help their clients by allowing them to conveniently drop off their sewing machines at their shop for sewing machine service. Once a week, I stop and pick up the machines. It may be one or five, it does not matter. I service and repair the machines and return them. I pay the shop $5 and charge the client $95. The shop collects for me.

To get the biggest return on your advertising investment , empower others to market for you. Get others to promote you. Let your customers sell for you. Everybody wins. - 16651

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