Establishing customer buying patterns with some market research to start working on sales projections
You may remember that I mentioned having a crystal ball would be really useful to be able to predict your sales over the next year. In fact this isn’t necessary if you are willing to play detective! Going on a fact finding mission will allow you to start to define how your business is going to take shape. You need a several pronged strategies:
Join a professional association that has regional group meetings and go and when you are established in the group ask the questions in number 3.
If I book a course of treatments what discount do you give?
Is it common to book a course of treatments?
How quickly can you see me?
I’m new to this - do people usually come weekly/ fortnightly/monthly?
How long it took them to get established
What successes they had, what failures
Their clients buying patterns;
Come as one offs or on an occasional basis
Any seasonal fluctuations
Hints and tips
Repeat this several times with other therapists
Think up your own questions to ask also. Once you have completed this task, I guarantee you will have a clear idea of how your potential clients are going to buy from you. You will also be able to work out exactly how many clients you are going to need to fulfil your goal. At the beginning of this plan, I gave this example:
By the end of year one, I want a full clinic of 20 hourly clients per week, paying £50.00 an hour and working 46 weeks per year.
Having done my market research, I know that I will get approximately 30% of my clients coming weekly, 30% coming fortnightly, 30% coming monthly and 10% coming as one off’s or on an occasional basis.
If this was the case you would need:
|Type of client||Number each week||Total number of unique clients required per annum|
|Ad hoc (twice year)||2||52|
This is an illustration only. You need to come to your own conclusions about how many clients you want coming on a regular basis and with what frequency. However if this was my business, I would look at the figures above and say, “Hold on a minute. I only need 40 regular clients for the whole year, that’s achievable, but the 52 adhoc, that seems like a lot of work to get them. Let me rethink my percentages”.
Research shows that it costs a lot less to keep a customer than get a new one. Next time we will look at how to get repeat business.
Happy business planning!
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- Sally Hansen -
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