Secret Weapons Of A Hunter & Gatherer

I LOVE Fall. The changing seasons remind me that whatever has been – like a long, gorgeous summer – will come to an end and something else is coming. This time of year also reminds me of the family of squirrels that lived on my street growing up – running, gathering and hiding nuts for a future bonanza.
As a Business Owner, every year comes with seasonal slow-downs that impact cash-flow and profits, but taking a lesson from the squirrels, I can fight against them, minimize them and sometimes eliminate them entirely. When it comes to combatting seasonal slowdowns, here are a few of my secret weapons…

Secret Weapon #1: Always, Always Look BACK First

I look at last year’s performance – in terms of transactions, sales and ticket average. I also look at profitability – was there something that increased or decreased my profit? I look at these in comparison to previous years so I can get an idea of overall performance. I consider past promotions and marketing activities. I look to discover hidden clues and insights to help guide my planning. If there are any anomalies, what happened? This information is critical to have a baseline for your planning.

With this information, I then ask myself – where do I want to be this upcoming season? What do I want to repeat? Do I want to increase profit? If so, decide how much. BE SPECIFIC. As in, REALLY SPECIFIC. Forget writing a round number like $6,000. Decide EXACTLY how much. Maybe the number is $5,546.18 – the cost of the vacation you want to take or the cost of new carpet in your home. Whatever it is, a specific number matters.
With this specific number, work backwards to determine HOW to get there. Maybe you get there with a menu price increase, maybe it is a promotion designed to get a higher check average, maybe a promotion to increase customer visits.

Remember, there are only 4 ways to increase sales:

1) Get new customers
2) Get existing customer to visit more often (increased frequency)
3) Get customer to spend more (higher check average)
4) Increase the number of customers served (this is only applicable when you have line-ups)

Which one are you going to use to achieve your SPECIFIC profit goal?

Secret Weapon #2: Empower Your Royalty Rewards® Coach

I consider my Royalty Rewards® Coach (Tina Hernandez) to be a part of my marketing team.
I rely on her to see things that I don’t see, to remind me of what was (and wasn’t) successful in past years, and to give insight and suggestions based on that past performance. I highly value her suggestions for new programs and ideas. I trust her advice on national trends (she has performance data for thousands of promotions run by hundreds of businesses across North America). I share my total sales by month, provide insight into sales peaks and valleys and make clear my SPECIFIC profit goals for each specific time period.

I meet with her regularly and give her time to carry out our projects. During my coaching calls I don’t expect the answer immediately (even though sometimes an immediate solution is given), I share my goals and schedule a second meeting to give her time to research my database and find the right answer.

With this relationship, this sharing of information, Tina is able to produce the best results possible for me. She is able to custom design a marketing calendar to help me meet MY goals. She is totally invested in my success.

Are you leveraging the expertise and service of your Royalty Rewards® Coach? They are dedicated to your account, ready, willing and waiting to help you accomplish your goals. Schedule a call with your Coach today and don’t forget to bring your Cash Creator Calendar™. A new season is coming – PLAN and ACT accordingly.

Secret Weapon #3: Leverage The Point Bump

One of my favorite marketing campaigns is the “Point Bump” Campaign. It’s my secret weapon against seasonal slow periods, and I schedule it multiple times each year when I expect slumps.

Let me explain how it works. The Point Bump Campaign allows me to target a group of customers, based on their last visit date, who are shy of earning an Award Certificate and ‘bump’ them up to receive one. For me, (with an Award Threshold of 200 points) a good target group is customers who are approximately 75 points away from an award and haven’t visited in 45 days. Why is this a good target? First, we know these members like us insomuch as they’ve already visited and earned over 100 points. BUT, they haven’t visited lately and might be on the verge of forgetting about us. And so, the point bump will get us back on their radar. It will ‘bump’ them up, issue an award, and you can even send an email that explains what you did in a logical way. 

My Award Certificate Campaign produces the highest redemption rate of all my Royalty Rewards® program campaigns – as high as 67% redemption rates. (And it probably works the same for you too). Why is it so high? Unlike other campaigns, Reward Members have EARNED this Award. It’s not just any promotion that was just sent to them. They worked for this. They’re invested in it and feel that much more obligated to redeem it.
Also, my check average is $9.74 higher (not including the promotion) when an Award is redeemed. You see, this is “free” money to them, and my guess is they feel entitled to a treat and order more food and drinks for themselves. I’m not sure exactly why this promotion gives these results, but I know IT WORKS.

I often use the point bump when I need more frequency from my customers and a higher check average. For instance, I’ll have my Coach bump 250 customers (not just any customers – as I mentioned above, I usually bump customers that are within 75 points and have not been in in 45 days.) I’ll bump them so that the visit happens in January – for me, this is typically a month with lower visits and lower check averages.

3 Secret Weapons. Yours for the taking. Happy Planning!

Bent Hansen, Owner of Los Gringos Locos. Longtime Newsletter Contributor and Royalty Rewards® Merchant since 2008.