The No-Money-Down Marketing Plan:
Six Ways to Improve Your Marketshare Without Spending a Penny
By John Haskell, a.k.a Dr. Revenue
The economy is nothing short of "lousy." Business is really tough. Customers
are canceling events. A local party and event rental company asked its team
what they could do to create an adequate amount of revenue to survive the
The group had the benefit of being together for a number of years. They
wrote up a marketing and sales plan every year for the last three years.
They also recognized planning is the launching pad for success. Without a
plan, they would not have any chance to survive. Together, they came up with
a strategy to attack new markets and meet new people. The CEO increased his
involvement with the sales team and with customers. The results were
immediate. After making a three-hour trip to a military base, the CEO closed
a big deal because the sergeant in charge of the event was so impressed the
owner came to see him.
As your organization braces itself for tough times, how can it can it boost
revenue without breaking the budget? Here are some steps to building your
own no-money-down marketing plan.
1. Write a revised marketing plan and execute it.
Assuming you have a plan in the first place, go back and review every
element to see how it fits into the current environment.
If you don't have a plan in place, move fast to create one.
2. Uncover your opportunities.
Do you have certain products that stand out? Do you have particular
financial strength so you can help your customers through hard times? Do you
have other services can you offer? What other competitive strengths do you
The starting point for all business planning is "opportunities." What
opportunities still exist in the market for your company? Check out your key
competitors who are weak and whose customers may be feeling uncertainty or
doubt. The word gets out during bad times. You don't want to badmouth
anyone, but you can certainly point to the solidity of your company, your
long history, your repeat customers, etc. Sowing the seeds of doubt about
competition's ability to deliver, to service, to respond is part of the
3. Develop new terms and conditions for doing business.
Now is the time to look at ways to exploit your opportunities with new
thinking. For example, your customer may not have the money for inventory,
but you know they can sell much more if they have goods in their stores.
What can you do? One answer that may work to your advantage is
"consignment." By putting goods in your customer's stores without asking for
payment, you make it possible for them to sell more of your product. You may
be able to force the customer to drop competitive merchandise in return for
this major support. Work out terms and conditions to protect your investment
and make it profitable for you.
4. Don't accept "no," "We never did it before" and the big one, "Our systems
won't allow it."
If you let the finance people or the "naysayers" stand in your way, you will
not succeed. Just because you have never done it before doesn't mean it
won't work. Systems are there to serve the company – not prevent progress.
There is always someone who can figure out how to make a program work within
the confines of IT or other systems. As a leader, you cannot allow "no" or
other objections to stand in the way of a program that has great upside
potential. These are times when leaders must be bold.
5. Promote your company's major skills.
Your company does certain things very well. Is your technology particularly
good? Are you great promoters? Do your people relate to customers especially
well? Look at your company very honestly and figure out the one or two
things you do best. Then promote these to your customers and to your own
You may not be perfect, but if you are better than competition, promote it!
If you have skills that make a difference for customers – promote it! If you
are universally loved by customers – promote it!!
6. Go back to lost customers.
When business was good, losing a customer may not have seemed important. Now
that the market is significantly smaller, the customers who have survived
are much more important.
All it may take is a simple "we are sorry" … sometimes it may take much
more. You must do whatever it takes to see those past customers who are not
buying, and find ways to win them back.
Price will be important, but it is not the only thing. There are other
valuable tools you can bring to the table. Start by asking every salesperson
to name the one potentially significant customer who used to buy, but now
isn’t. Then work with the salesperson to figure out a tactical plan to get
business back from that customer. If you do get some business from them, be
sure your company handles it perfectly. Then go back and get more!
This No Money Down Marketing Plan is the starting point for survival in
these difficult times. Get going now so you can put these tactics to work to
help your company increase its marketshare now.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
John Haskell, aka Dr. Revenue®, is a professional speaker, seminar leader,
marketing and sales consultant, and author of “Profit Rx.” As a former
CEO/COO of divisions of Fortune 500 companies and as president of The
Professional Marketing Group, Inc., he consistently demonstrates the value
of written marketing and sales planning. He helps his clients write and
implement marketing and sales plans, and his “Dr. Revenue Marketing and
Sales Clinics” result in immediate sales and marketing focus. For more
or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.