Achieving, maintaining and (hopefully) growing sales in any company rarely comes easy for many sales people and business owners.
It requires constant time, effort and focus to deliver to and retain clients whilst balancing the winning of new ones to replace customers lost and winning new ones to afford rising business operating costs. Hopefully after all that, shareholders and employees will earn some bonus remuneration for their year-round efforts, whilst the company can with some luck retain some profits to save for a rainy day such as market downturn next year and greater still, to invest in improving working conditions for valued employees alongside increasing resources for growth.
Few people can permanently fix your sales and customer retention challenges through a few paragraphs of text, however I can certainly provide some pointers from my own experiences in a range of companies large, medium and small to improve sales and customer service. It is my hope that you will read on and make time to act on the advice provided, which if executed effectively will ease your worries connected to achieving enough sales to make ends meet, and, if desired, to achieve some sustainable, profit growth!
A great starting point is to list out some key ways that you can improve sales and the length of time customers remain loyal to you. Below you will find ten methods to help you get started, and you’ll find some recommended steps to boosting results in each area.
Once you have read through this blog, I strongly encourage you to plan a short meeting with key colleagues. Together you can discuss and pick 2 or 3 of the below topics to bring you the best and quickest results. Then set some performance growth goals for those 2-3 priorities, and focus on implementing those with clear actions initially over a 3 to 6month period. During that period keep reviewing progress to stay focused and assess ways to continually improve the results from your efforts. Once you feel you’ve achieved close to your potential from those initial focus areas, then you can revisit the list below to pick out the next best 2-3 priorities.
- Improve sales results – maybe an investment in some specialist sales skills training to include presentation and relationship building techniques could boost results? Do ensure you use providers that are credible and have had success helping others in your position in a similar marketplace
- Grow the average customer spend – develop your knowledge on value add packaging and needs based selling methods
- Increase how often customer purchase from you – learn about and develop nurturing, relationship sales and after sale servicing methods. Then, importantly draft a regular activity planner to pave a clear path of action to improved successes
- Improve your brand positioning – do not assume you know best and remember that markets, competitors and customers do change over time. Keep checking that you are driving the right actions by talking to your customers and researching prospective new customers in the wider marketplace. Don’t forget to take action to put those new insights to good use for boosting your sales!
- Develop customer referral incentives – there are many creative and innovative ways to do this. Run a mind mapping session with your colleagues to brainstorm ideas. Maybe offer some prizes for the best campaign ideas to get those imaginations whirring!
- Improve your unique selling points (USPs) and improve your product or service offerings to stand out more from your competitors – pick someone in your team with a flair for research and task them to look at the offerings and marketing efforts of your competitors, to then put forward a range of ideas for how you can do better than the rest
- Refine your ideal customer profile – as part of this, make sure you understand which are your most profitable products with the shortest sales funnel and lowest cost of sale. Then look for trends across your customer base in terms of regions, age etc to prioritise those perfect customer prospects
- Improve the quality of your marketing and lead generation activities – this can be a very broad and fast-changing topic with the constant evolution of digital technology in business and lives. Don’t try to be a hero in becoming an expert in all of these things. It is ok to hire people who are already several years qualified and trained. You don’t always need to hire someone full time when you seek the right expertise, so it doesn’t have to be expensive. There is an army of capable, reliable part time marketing professionals out there, and you can also look at the freelancer community
- Talk to your sales team and better understand what motivates them to tailor their remuneration to drive their motivation levels even higher. It starts with talking to them, listening and taking action!
- Here, last but not least of my sales pointers for this article: keep your customers! Many but not all companies have marketing and sales strategies. Far less of them have a customer strategy, and that is a significant missed opportunity. You did all that work winning those customers in the first place which is the hardest bit. Keeping them is statistically much easier, yet so often under resourced or even overlooked! The starting point is to draft a plan or dedicated to customer service within your broader company business plan. Your customers deserve it and so do you!
Good luck with this and do let us know how you get on.