Successful people are not people without problems. They are simply people who have learned how to solve problems. That is especially true when you are trying to grow sales at your company. To increase your numbers, you must realize that every customer has a problem— they need something. It is your job to connect their needs with your products or services.
In his book “The Mastermind Marketing System,” Jay Abraham explains that there are only three main ways to increase sales:
- Increase your customer base. You need to know how many people are buying your products or services, how often they buy from you, the average value of a sale, and the frequency of their purchases. That will help you determine the lifetime value of each customer. Once you establish the lifetime value, you can decide how much you can invest in marketing to cultivate new customers.A word of caution here. While growing your customer base will result in increased sales, customer acquisition is more expensive than customer retention. Once you have invested the time, effort and resources to onboard a new client, do not waste the potential of this new relationship. Keep your customers happy.
- Increase the frequency of your customers’ purchases. Anytime two parties conduct business, one party assumes the risk. When you remove the risk to the customer, you own the transaction. For example, Domino’s Pizza created the 30-minute guarantee back in 1984. They promised a hot pizza at your door in 30 minutes or less, or the order was free. Their willingness to assume all the risk not only increased their sales, but also improved their overall share of the market. They ended the policy due to abuse and lawsuits, however the standard for delivery times still holds today.At EZG Manufacturing, we boldly tell our customers that if they are not completely satisfied with a piece of our equipment, they can return it for a full refund. Our no-risk guarantee gives customers confidence in their purchase. As a result, sales have soared at the company for many years.
- Increase the size of the customer transaction. A great example of this is at wholesale warehouse clubs like Sam’s Club, Costco, and BJ’s Wholesale Club. Their business model revolves around selling items in bulk. So instead of selling one roll of paper towels, they offer you a discount if you are willing to purchase 12 rolls.If a good customer is willing to use you for doing their brick work, would that same customer use you to install air barriers, caulking, concrete or other trades you can specialize in?
Know What You Are Selling
Abraham further explains that when a consumer purchases a drill, they are actually buying a hole. The customer does not care how they get the hole. They just need a hole. Most customers are looking to make or save money when they purchase from you. Once you find a way to increase the value they get from you, it is likely they will be willing to use that extra cash to invest in your products or services.
Do you offer free estimates, free inspections, or free advice in your area of specialties? I spend several hours each month writing articles to benefit current and future customers from my knowledge of building successful businesses in hopes that when they are making their next purchase, they will consider using my company over the competition who is only selling a drill.
Consumers do not base their decision to do business with you solely on your product or service. Your business, along with its reputation and your practices are critical factors in their decision-making process. They know they have options, so if they are going to spend their money, they want to do it with a company they can trust, one that is reputed for quality, and one they believe will find a solution if there is a problem.
Therefore, when you are making your sales pitch, amid all the facts and figures, remember to include testimonials from past customers, references, and a list of your successful completed projects. That is the brand value you have to offer.
Keep the Customer Happy at Virtually All Costs
A couple of months into installing the block, stone, and brick on the high rise Hilton Convention Center Hotel in downtown Columbus, Ohio, we discovered the production on the stack bond brick work was significantly lower than we estimated. We had only progressed 30-feet high and had 145-feet looming above to top out the project.
To keep up with the schedule, we worked up to 50 people seven days a week and had to eat the overtime. To identify the productivity issue, I spent a Sunday laying brick with the crew. I quickly learned that the crew was doing everything possible to increase production, but their speed was drastically hampered by the required installation of four-inch insulation, wire ties, and hurricane clips.
When I returned to the office, we updated our job profit forecast and realized that this project would go from an expected $1 million profit to a $400,000 loss. We made a plan to finish the job with a happy client regardless of the financial pain our company would endure. Today, because of that business decision, they remain one of our most valuable customers.
Capitalize on a Loss
The information you can learn from a former customer can have infinite value. It may seem awkward or uncomfortable, but it is important to find out why customers are no longer buying from your company.
Ask these questions:
- Did you have a bad experience with someone from our business?
- Were you displeased with the quality of our product or service?
- Were there safety issues with our product or service?
Of course, not every customer will need your product or service long term. If they no longer use what you sell, inquire about their last transaction with your company. Was it a pleasant one? Take the opportunity to ask for referrals.
Most importantly, make sure you focused on solving the customers’ problems. If you do this, you will have satisfied customers. Happy customers buy from the same companies over and over again.