Doing business, in Nigeria, has never been more competitive as it currently is. With a constant rise in price, year on year, as influenced by the stiff economic situation; business owners and brand marketers are forced to be more tactical and innovative in approach or suffer revenue drop month after month. The situation is such that there are too many products but few buyers.
Having a good share of this lean market, thus, must be greeted with some aggressive marketing spree while ensuring to offer quality goods and services. In this review, we will consider a notable number of strategies that can help businesses – especially SMEs – stay in business in times like this when the market becomes so volatile and easily gets frustrating.
With market tested contributions and business insights from Ifede Kehinde Oluwaseyi, CEO, Kenny-D Collections, a Lagos based maker and distributor of quality handmade footwear, wears and bags; we cut into the important beats, necessary, for brands to leverage on in the view to resist the harsh economic realities as occasioned by unfavourable economic policies and the drastic fall in the amount of money in circulation.
Tap into digital space
While the place of effective and consistent marketing in times like this cannot be overemphasized as customers are constantly finding different brands to choose from, it is important that every business deploy or strengthen its marketing prowess to its advantage. Businesses no longer have a choice to be exactly selective on platforms to promote their businesses. The more, like it is often said, the merrier.
For Kehinde, she noted how, beyond the fundamental face to face marketing engagement, her team has been deploying social media platforms to market and boost sales. With her kind of products, she acknowledged how real conversions are made on a daily basis from Facebook Ads and Whatsapp showcase.
According to the female CEO, “When you are consistent with marketing, your customers will surely find you.”
Are you building up relationships?
Going by the rate of how businesses lose customers to market competitors, and how it is becoming rather difficult to sustain clients beyond 1 or 2 cash-out transactions, brand managers must come to terms to business realities or endanger the business lifespan of their enterprises. Increasing one’s customer base, today, has gone beyond the rendering of quality services or having quality products on stock.
The reality is such that customers are babies and must be treated kindly to own them. In doing this, a lot has to go into customer relations.
A good-customer-first relationship mindset has made Kehinde assume her clients and customers as her friends and family –deserving to be cared for and taken seriously. In ensuring that one delivers a top notch service, she recommended that there must be room to accept criticism and complaints.
While illustrating this point, she mentioned are readiness to entertain complaints on shoes returned for adjustment. On this note, she advised brand managers and business owners to develop a relationship that transcends beyond the market station with customers in order to have them at heart and work towards their satisfaction. For her, the result, so far, has been encouraging.
“I take my customer as friends and they enjoy the special relationship I keep with them. In the case where a customer only want to ask for prices, I make sure I build a relationship that will make them pay for it later by checking up on them -however moderately – to remind them about it.
“I do not flair up on complaints. I retrieve them and do necessary readjustments. With this approach and manner, they trust me and generously make referrals.’’
Honesty is a virtue
It is often argued that doing business in Nigeria cannot be complete without an element of dishonesty. The argument being that: customers do not tolerate honesty when played with all sincerity. And, that outright sincerity might not be to a business owner’s disadvantage, when religiously practiced.
Kehinde disproved this and stated the contrary. According to the female CEO, a business manager can be honest and still convert regardless of the situation. She shared some bad scenarios with us and how compromising was never an option.
“During very ugly times when clients’ stocks are delayed or extended against the given time, I call them to discuss the situation. Most times, a job gets delayed to ensure the piece comes out exactly as expected.
“I know how difficult times like this are. And, I know how unfaithful some might become to their clients. And, instead of communicating, they either they ignore calls for a long period of time or rush the job, delivering poor stocks.”
Kehinde, in her remarks, further encouraged business owners to imbibe a honest business culture, noting that clients would not only trust you but, with time, reward your honesty where the least is increased referrals.
Retaining existing customers
It is one thing to increase one’s customer base in order to increase revenue; it is another thing to professionally ensure the retention of existing ones. From effective interaction to regular updates on promotions and new offers, business owners are in the web to devote sufficient time to this end.
In a fast paced marketing space like Lagos, where everyone is an option and the competition is huge, just anyone can be displaced at the least expected time.
A piece of advice from Kehinde, to emerging entrepreneurs, is taking cognizance of the fact that anyone operating within the business space is not indispensable. And, that to be reasonably established, it is necessary that one taps into the emotions of one’s clients by being their go-to store.
Playing the card open with them, and helping them have the best is key to making businesses endeared to customers. To sum up, one must learn to be loyal –never over-promise but can over-deliver.