Leaky bucket?!

Sometimes a business can be represented by a leaky bucket where there is water going in (new business) as well as water going out through the hole (clients leaving). Your objective is to keep the bucket full of water and to make it overflow if possible. However, every business has a hole in their bucket and it virtually impossible to plug the hole. (The hole doesnt represent unhappy clients by the way!).

There is a multitude of reasons why today’s live client can become tomorrow’s lapsed client – the economy, budget cuts, personnel changes, relocation etc etc but do your best to ensure that the leak is as small as possible, maybe by using contracts or client maintenance programmes.

Anyway, I digress. The danger is to see this whole bucket, water and leak scenario as a short term situation. If you truly believe in winning new business then sometimes the best way to proceed is to assume that every client is vulnerable and that new business is a constant need.

Also, no matter how busy you are at the moment, you must sell for tomorrow and this is where I feel marketing plays a vital role. I have experienced a great deal of prospects coming to me as a knee-jerk reaction to hitting quiet times in their businesses looking for a quick fix with a tiny budget. (this is not meant to offend anyone, but merely point out that distressed purchases come with unrealistic expectations and that planning in advance can make all the difference). If you wait until you are less busy with time available for marketing, there is a good chance you will be too late.

In business, it is not unrealistic to assume that you will lose up to 20% of your billings per year and therefore have to bring in a minimum of 20% per year to stay still. In addition, year on year 10% of your clients will vanish from your list and 40% will spend less.

I have written a number of articles over the last 2 years about winning new business which will help you achieve your goals, but ultimately my suggestion is to plan ahead, be realistic, be proactive and, if need be, to engage the help of a marketing professional.

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