Graham McGregor is a marketing consultant.
OPINION: Here are three sponsorship strategies you could use in your business to increase your sales.
The milkman sponsorship strategy that increased sales by 500% and made a milkman a minor celebrity in his area.
The crazy dentist referral strategy that allows a dentist to work three days a week and earn twice the income of most dentists.
The accountant referral strategy that produces new, high-quality accountant clients every month.
Let’s take a look at each SEO strategy.
The dairy SEO strategy
Several decades ago I heard of an interesting milkman in my town.
Here is some context:
For a long time, you could only buy milk from the milkman or the local dairy.
Then supermarkets were allowed to sell milk and sales of milk and milk products for many dairy people dropped as many people decided to buy their milk when shopping.
However, there was one milkman who took an interesting approach.
He bought a round of milk right after supermarkets got their approval to sell milk.
He knocked on the door of every house on his milk rounds and personally introduced himself.
He would tell each person he encountered something like this:
“Hello, I’m John, your new milkman. Here is a list of all the products I sell and how much they cost. You can buy milk tokens from your local dairy. Now, while I’m here, can I ask you something? If you order milk, cream or yoghurt etc., where would you like me to deliver it to you? Would you like it delivered to your mailbox or would you prefer it delivered to your back door or front door? There is no additional cost and it is part of the service.
Now, if you lived up or down a long drive, having your milk delivered right to your doorstep was very convenient. Anything you wanted he wrote down in a notebook, and he wrote down your phone number at the same time.
Many customers really liked it and started telling their neighbors and friends about this new slag.
About a month later, the new milkman had a problem with his milk truck that caused him to delay delivering his milk for about three to four hours.
So what did he do?
He got his family involved and they borrowed three neighbors’ phones, and he also used his home phone to call all of his customers. (This was before cell phones and the Internet.)
They told each customer that they had a problem with the truck, so the milk would be delivered about three or four hours later than normal. His customers were amazed that the milkman took the time to do this and told many of their friends what he had done. The end result was that the milkman’s milk sales increased by 500% within six months of resuming the dairy round.
He always sold the same product (milk, cream, yogurt, etc.) at the same price which you could buy more easily in your local supermarket.
However, what he did differently was a little unexpected added value. This added value was enough for many people to recommend his services to several of their friends, and it increased his sales by 500%.
How do you apply this strategy to your business?
It’s simple. You simply give unexpected added value to all your customers.
It could be as simple as sending them a letter and attaching an inexpensive scratch-and-win lottery ticket with each letter. In the letter, say something like this…
“Hi John, I just wanted to thank you for being a customer. I really appreciate your business. Best wishes, [your name]
PS: You will notice that I have attached to this letter a scratch and win lottery ticket. This ticket gives you the chance to win up to $10,000 in seconds. Now I hope you win big (and if you do, I’m definitely free for lunch ☺). If you’re chatting this month with any of your friends or colleagues who you think might be interested in what we have to offer, just send them to us and I promise to take very good care of them.
Imagine if you sent a letter like this to 100 of your customers by good old mail. It might cost you around $250 to do it. Maybe $1.50 for shipping and $1 for a scratch-and-win lottery ticket. Do you think some of these customers might mention your company to some of their friends or colleagues?
An appliance store uses this strategy very well. About two weeks after buying a major appliance, they send each customer a beautiful plant. It comes with a note thanking them for their business. This appliance store isn’t the cheapest in town, and this value-added strategy costs them about $10 per customer. And it generates thousands of dollars in referral business every month as customers tell their friends about their unexpected added value.
How will you use this strategy in your business?
The crazy SEO strategy of dentists
Paddi Lund is a dentist based in Queensland, Australia. He took an unusual approach to becoming a dentist.
He made his phone number confidential and removed all signs indicating his business was a dentist. And he only allowed people referred by existing patients to become new patients in his dental clinic. In other words, he was now a referral-only dentist.
Paddi did something very interesting with each new patient he took on. When he first met them, Paddi explained how he worked and what he did. He then said, I only allow people to become patients if they have been referred by an existing patient. So, after using my services, I will ask you if you could introduce two people you know who might be interested in what I offer. Do you agree?
Do you know what most patients say to Paddi in response to this question?
They ask if they can refer more than two people!
How do you apply this strategy to your business?
You don’t have to make your phone number private and remove all your signs.
All you do when first meeting new clients is explain your approach to SEO.
You say something like, “John, I prefer to work primarily by referral in my business.” This way, people who have enjoyed being customers can introduce people they know who might also like what we offer. After we worked together for the first time, I would like to ask if you could refer a few people you know to my company. Do you agree?’
Most people will say yes to this approach, and you now have permission to ask for referrals from many of your existing clients.
The SEO strategy of the accountant
I met an accountant many years ago while selling seminars. The accountant had a small conference room he rented right downtown, and I found this conference room to be ideal for people who worked downtown.
I spoke with this accountant, and he shared his strategy for getting new accountant clients by referral.
He had a very simple offer that he explained to all his clients and contacts.
If someone referred someone to his accounting firm, he sat down with the referred person and explained what he could do for them. After the meeting, he would give the person he was talking to, as well as the person who had referred them, a double movie pass valid for one year with his compliments. He gave this double movie pass to both people (the person who was referred, plus the person who referred them.) It didn’t matter whether the person became a client or not. Each person still received a double movie pass.
If the person who was referred became a customer, the person who referred them also received a $200 Westfield shopping voucher that could be used at hundreds of local stores in major malls.
The accountant found that about 35% of the people he was referred to became paying clients and typically spent at least $2,000 a year on accounting fees and advice for many years. Its cost for a double pass for two people was around $60. He got about one in three referrals to become a client. So, with the $200 voucher plus $180 in double movie passes for six people, it cost him $380 for a new customer.
This has been very profitable for him and he has won dozens of new clients every year thanks to this approach.
Which of these three recommendation strategies could you test in your own business?
Graham McGregor is a marketing consultant. You can get his free marketing guide “The Plan B Sales Solution” at www.simplemarketinganswers.com