While the economy is going through what may appear to be turbulent times, businesses are faced with the very monumental dilemma of whether they should close shop, expand, or adopt a wait and see approach.
After all, “one day is one day” as the popular modern day adage goes.
Should a business contemplate expansion, they then may also wonder if it is the best thing to do and how to manage it in the case that they decide it is.
Businesses which grow do so even in seemingly hostile climates where the competition is in limbo due to a seemingly flaccid economy.
This is what separates the boys from the men, the dominators in the jungle from those competing in the market place.
Research has shown that six out of every eight business clients are single transaction wonders. The two who return do not remain for more than three transactional activities in the same year. So when you do the math, sales is a leaky bucket and one is always looking for more customers.
Maintaining at least 35 percent of the existing clientele base and making sure they return for three transactional activities will mean your revenue will grow at a minimal 30 percent per annum. Not bad, especially in such turbulent times. The question of how to achieve this logically arises. In order to achieve this, a business has to keep customers or clients coming back, turn most if not all its inquires and prospects into sales, increase customer retention rate, and inquiry-to-sale conversion rate for direct selling.
Contact inactive customers and ask if anything is wrong. Call them up, visit, or write them, and communicate the fact that you are concerned and you’re contacting them because you want to know why they are no longer doing business with you. Whatever is wrong, you want to know. If they have a problem, you want them to be aware that you are supportive. You are there to help in any way possible.
If they have a problem with you, you want them to know that you stand ready to correct it — and to guarantee that the problem will not recur.
By taking the time to contact all of your inactive customers or clients and communicating with them, you will have enormous positive impact on them and their buying relationship with you.
Make sure you’re delivering higher than expected levels of service. The first question you have to ask yourself is: What does my customer or client ordinarily expect to receive when they do business with my firm or my competition? The key here is the word ordinarily, because your challenge is to take what everyone ordinarily does and make it extraordinary, either by vastly improving upon it or by adding to it.
Communicate frequently to nurture your customers or clients. Your challenge and your biggest opportunity is to keep those customers constantly connected to you and your business or practice — to keep them constantly thinking about how good you are, how you value them, and how much you care about them, their well-being.
How much they enjoy, desire and value the products or services they acquire from you. Keeping that connection alive and flowing will ensure that you maintain a good number of customers to keep you afloat and attain growth, even when times are not very conducive to it.
Increase the sales skill of your staff. It is the staff that make the sale. When selling, there are two schools of selling thought. One is technique-based, the other is strategy-based.
If you have to choose, I would always recommend you choose strategy over technique. Strategy is the big picture, the intent, what you’re trying to accomplish, the big strategic purpose or basis behind everything you do.
Technique-based selling is a little more manipulative. I advocate for a consultative or advisory form of selling. That means that you’re leading , guiding, educating, and directing your customers. When new upgrades come to a particular product with health benefits, it is your responsibility to engage them and direct them so they get maximum benefit from the process.
Another option for increasing sales skills involves identifying and transferring the selling skills of your best producers over everyone else in your organisation and adding a dedicated sales manager.
Clearly your best bet is to learn from what works. Your sales executive who meets his targets has a working formula, so learn from it.
Qualify leads better up front, because most businesses and professional practices who have a lot of leads and prospects coming to them never stop to consider what a lead or prospect costs them to acquire.
Quantity does not matter in lead generation, it is about quality and convertibility. As they say — cheap is expensive. Having too many prospects who do not purchase will cost you time, money and other resources. So quality in this case refers to your prospects’ capacity and their level of desire to buy your product or service.
Somebody could desire your product or service but not be motivated to buy it right now. You get people motivated by modifying the selling strategies you use to generate that lead or prospect. For instance, when you run advertorials, make sure they contain information and inducements that tie in very specifically to your product or service and the benefits it provides.
Make irresistible offers always. It can cost you a small fortune to attract each new customer or client. However, it costs you very little to resell to those customers or clients over and over again.
Consequently, you have an enormous incentive to do whatever is necessary to make it easy and irresistible for them to start or resume a purchasing relationship with your business or practice immediately, not some time in the future. You do not want to make it difficult. You do not want to give them a reason to think about it. You do not want them to put off making their initial purchase with your business.
So everything you do should be geared to making it easier, more attractive, and appealing to do business with you.
The way to do that is to make it harder to say no than to say yes. Eliminate all the hurdles prospects have to jump over. Make it more irresistible than resistible. Make it much more appealing than unappealing to do business with your organisation.
Always give your customers or clients reasons why. Your prospects will always ask: Why should I buy from you? Why should I buy this product or service over someone else’s? Why should I buy today? Why should I spend this amount of money? Why should I put my faith in your professional expertise, your company or your manufacturer? If you can help them understand and appreciate the reasons why, your customers or clients will strongly bond with your business or practice.
This is because, unlike your competition, you are willing to take the time to explain how things work, how things are created, how your people are trained, how they go about doing what they do. It is a very powerful habit.
Robert Gonye is a Business Growth Expert and Influencer. He writes in his personal capacity. Comments and views: [email protected] Twitter @robert_gonye. The views given herein are solely for information purposes; they are guidelines and suggestions and are not guaranteed to work in any particular way.