The key is to cut expenses while still growing revenue.

Are you struggling to meet payroll and make ends meet in general? It’s easy to understand if you are. Times are tough!

But a lot of what’s going on at your company has to do with how you see these times and what you do about them.

My dad, strangely enough, actually looked forward to these periodic slowdowns, which I thought was weird. But he looked forward to them because he knew that only the strong would survive and only those with a long-term outlook would thrive.

He realized that if we only had good times, the business would get sloppy. Meaning it would become too easy to take on too many unproductive people and let opportunities slip away because we’d be too busy to capitalize on them.

He felt that it was the periodic tough times that presented the greatest opportunities to go back and sharpen the axe. For him, that meant fixing the broken or missing systems, training those worth training and letting go of those who were undermining success and/or the positive team chemistry.

In these tough economic times, you too need to learn to sharpen the axe and move quickly to cut the unnecessary overhead as you also strive to squeeze every opportunity you can to grow your revenues.

Although it’s easy to get in a cash squeeze as expenses outpace revenues, you need to prudently cut expenses while at the same time grow revenues if you seek long-term health and prosperity for your company. Slashing expenses only is dangerous!

There is some good news in this bleak economy. Your weak competitors won’t survive these turbulent times. My dad knew this and these are actually the times he got aggressive and made key acquisitions at bargain-basement prices. He was very focused on growing revenues.

That’s why I want you to begin changing things at your company by energizing just these four things so you get cash flowing again at your company right now:

1. Sell more service agreements since they’re the only way to generate money when you’re not working at a customer’s home. They afford you a chance to earn potential business when you visit the customer to perform routine maintenance because they reveal legitimate opportunities to upgrade his or her comfort and to make energy-saving suggestions. Selling service agreements (or including them in your install price once you’ve built it in) allows you to sell big-ticket items at a more premium price.

2. Do more of the profitable service work that gets paid at the time of service by following a proven sales system. And make sure your techs are well-trained on your operations manuals to minimize callbacks. Callbacks are always frustrating and a money drain; they aggravate customers and keep you from doing other profitable work. Also, callbacks provide customers with the perfect excuse to ask for refunds, reductions or their money back. 

The first step to mastering the callback issue is to track when callbacks happen and why. Then, you can set up the corresponding sales, operational and technical training that sends your callback ratio plunging.

3. Terminate employees who continue to prove they’re not good. Even in the best of times, you know you have tolerated employees by looking the other way because you had no one to replace them. Now, you can upgrade your team and invest the time and energy in training the right people

Hire good people who are willing in the first place. Then, make them great with great systems. These people will figure out how to make customers happy and make you money.

4. Create more calls by doing the following:
  • Send direct-mail pieces to your existing customer list. No one is more likely to buy from you than they are. The trick is to have a compelling offer that gives those customers a reason to respond to your “call to action” and fill it with customer testimonials.

  • Send direct-mail pieces to targeted potential customers. Get them to touch the piece three times in rapid succession. This piece will only have traction if it has a compelling offer, a call to action and a load of customer testimonials. The testimonials are even more important here because they don’t know or trust you yet.

  • Call existing customers by energizing the creation of the outbound CSR who is trained with scripts that leverage your direct-mail campaign.

  • Then, use the same technique with your outbound CSR for the potential customers who are receiving your direct-mailer. But make sure to check you’re allowed to do so.

  • Do a shoe leather campaign. This means get out and knock on doors in your ideal customers’ towns and streets.

  • Energize the full spectrum of acquisition to get your phone ringing again. This can be as simple as acquiring inactive phone lines of competitors that have recently gone out of business and having them ring in your office. Or you can go all the way to buying a competitor, shutting its doors and handling its calls with your own staff under your own roof. I promise you you’ll make more money with those calls than the company had ever been able to do as a stand-alone business.
Take these steps to cut expenses, get the outstanding money in and grow your revenues and you’ll soon be more than a company looking to survive, you’ll be a company that thrives.

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