written by: Zanne Lamb-Hunt
Sharon Lopez, a small town girl from the corn fields of the Midwest, went on to graduate from William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. She then joined “one of the big five audit accounting firms” and accumulated years of management consulting experience.
Eventually creating a corporate niche for herself that was focused on CRM (Customer Relationship Management) IT systems, Sharon had the task of “helping Fortune 100s build a profit through IT.” She is now the owner of her own marketing consulting business as a local franchisee of Money Mailer.
Drawing on her vast professional marketing experience, Sharon shares some valuable tips on how to grow your own business.
1. Have A Good Customer Acquisition Strategy.
A business should never say they’ve got enough customers, all the customers they can handle or that they only work on referrals.
“Twenty percent of people move on a daily basis. How are you going to replace that 20% of your businesses?”
“The way to acquire new customers is to constantly be in front of them with some sort of marketing. Direct mail, TV and radio are the three best ways.”
2. Build Brand Recognition
What makes your business unique? Is it a special product or service? Do you have a special guarantee of your product? “The customer needs to know these things!”
“You need to constantly be reminding your customers and being in their minds because customers buy when they’re ready. You need to build that brand recognition with your customers so you’re creating the need. Then, when they’re ready to buy, you’re right there in front of them!”
3. Understand the Value Of One Customer
Once that customer comes in the door, there’s the opportunity to make a loyal customer who makes steady, repeat purchases of your products or services.
“Say I’m a pizza place. If I get my customer in the door…most people buy pizza 3-4 times a month. If I’ve got a family, I’m spending $50/week on pizza! That equates to $200/month! One new customer to me is over $2000/year!”
“If I could bring you just 10 new customers at $2000/year that would be HUGE for your small business!”
4. The Offer! Have A Catch to Get Those New Customers In the Door
Sharon tosses out an interesting marketing tidbit that most people probably don’t know. “Most household purchasing decisions are made by the woman.” Successful marketing begins with knowing the target audience and Sharon knows it all very well!
“The offer is going to compel me to act. It’s going to determine whether I take action to try this new restaurant that just opened up down the road. I know nothing about it. I don’t know if they have good food but guess what?”
“Buy one – get one free? If I can save $15 on a dinner for my family, I’m going to be compelled to act.”
5. Make Sure Your Product Is In Front of The Right Audience
“Who is my ideal customer? If I’m a pizza place, my ideal customer has two or three kids. They come in — they buy pizza, they buy coke, they buy the desserts.”
“If I’m a car wash, my ideal customer has 2-3 cars! They own a home!”
“All of these components are things to think about when I want to get my offer and my brand in front of my ideal customer.”
Career Change Came With The Kids
“I started having kids and my life changed,” Sharon confides. “This 80 hour a week traveling nationwide and internationally just wasn’t working for me.”
She started investing in Real Estate, along with her husband. She became a Yoga Instructor and ‘changed my life to scale down that Corporate job and move more into Sales.”
At the same time, Sharon was dealing with “some real eye-opening lessons” and “figuring out what’s important in my life.”
Along Comes Money Mailer
It wasn’t easy to walk away from a high income level, expense accounts and all of that. “But, I’ve always wanted to own my own business.” In fact, Sharon’s original life plan included going to college, working a corporate job for a few years and then doing her own thing.
Knowing her kids were growing up and wanting to be there for all of their experiences along the way, Sharon opted to purchase a Money Mailer franchise. It provided the opportunity to “grow a business, be with my kids and lead the lifestyle that I want to lead all at the same time.”
Now, instead of helping Fortune 100s to turn more profits, she’s using her experiences to help small businesses succeed. She’s dedicating her knowledge and her efforts “in my local community — getting to know my neighbors…my local business owners…and really helping them to be profitable.”
Sharon Shares the Biggest Challenge
Sharon doesn’t miss a beat when asked to share the biggest challenge of making the switch to owning her own business. “It’s the lure of having a j-o-b.” It’s leaving behind the security of a steady, potentially high-income paycheck and taking a risk on something new.
But, the call of Entrepreneurship won out! “I’m basically saying that I’m going to do my own thing. I’m starting with nothing but life’s too short. Take a risk now. I think I’m still young enough. I’ve got the energy level. I’ve got the motivation. I can always make a different choice later.”
Sage Advice for Everyone Who Is Starting Out…
Sharon’s advice for anybody graduating from college would be ‘follow your heart. Listen to your intuition, and your gut, and do what you love to do because life is way too short.” That’s great advice, even for those are thinking about a mid-life career change.
“The money will come. If you are a smart, successful person, you will find a way to be successful at whatever you do.”
And, as a Yoga Instructor at the local ‘Y’, Sharon helps with that, too! “My students come in and they don’t realize that their mind is the biggest stumbling block to their success. I can help them quiet their minds and envision success!”
Sharon Orders up A Special App! Who’s Got This??
When asked to recommend an internet resource or app that her business can’t do without, Sharon says that she hasn’t found it yet.
“Being a small business owner, I need an app that is going to allow me to be in touch with my future customers and treat them like kings!”
“This is leaning on my CRM background and my past life. That is key! To be able to have information about my customers at my fingertips — I would love to have an app to do that!”
Sharon’s Business Is To Help Grow YOUR Business!
Contact Sharon at Money Mailer now to put your business on the track to success with the most modern integrated direct marketing and media solutions. She has helped Fortune 100s to turn a bigger profit. Imagine the outcome when you put her expertise to work to do the same for your small business!
Sharon Lopez 703-626-3168
Content provided by Frederick Advice Givers Podcast #024