Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘expert advice’

Issue 1 “We have those sales figures Steve, I just need to go through the paperwork and tally them up…”

How can you boost sales? There are many options, however two obvious ways are: review your current sales process, and develop your sales staff.

The issue

So I arrive at my new clients premises to do the exploratory meeting and see if I can help them boost their sales. First step? Review the process.

In response to a question like “So how are sales going at the minute?” I often get wordy answers which talk about results in a very general way. I enjoy hearing the owners’ perspective on it; it’s good to get a feel for their industry & business from their point of view.

However it’s when I start asking for specifics, “What volume of enquiries are you getting?” that I regularly get a response along the lines of: “We have that figure Steve; I just need to go through the paperwork and work it out…”

The response

It’s been said before, but I’ll say it again “if you can’t (or in this case don’t) measure it, you can’t manage it”

If you’re already tracking your enquiries – great! Be mindful here; are you only tracking this in terms of knowing where your valuable marketing budget should be spent? This is crucial of course, but it would be useful to know how effective you are with each of those leads wouldn’t it?

There are many ways to measure sales effectiveness, but here are some basic measurements that can help build a picture of your current business performance:

  1. Sales
    • a. Sales by number (volume of sales)
    • b. Sales in good old pounds sterling (value of sales)
    • c. Sales Conversion rate = ‘Total Sales’ divided by ‘Total Enquiries’
  2. Sales’ Cost
    • Cost of an Enquiry = ‘Total Marketing Spend’ divided by ‘Total Enquiries’
    • Cost of a Customer = ‘Total Marketing Spend’ divided by ‘Total New Customers’
    • Total Cost of a Customer = ‘Total Costs’ divided by ‘Total New Customers’
  3. Sales’ Value
    • ‘Average Worth’ of a customer = ‘Total Revenue’ divided by ‘Number of Customers’
    • …it’s also worth looking at the average lifetime of a customer.
    • ..and the most popular product choice.

N.B. The above calculations should have specific timeframes. To use the most obvious examples: Weekly, Monthly, Quarterly & Annual.

Interesting to note, often well established companies struggle to provide these figures, though the reasons be different from a start up business: perhaps they have too many measurements (can’t see the wood for the trees) or simply with the passage of time their ‘Key Performance Indicators’ are no longer ‘Key’ anymore!

So you want to boost your sales? You need to lead your salespeople! Current frontline sales-relevant figures are the first step!

Action: Does this relate to you & your business? If so, based on the above, what will you STOP doing, START doing and CONTINUE doing today?

Related Articles: This is the first in the series: “Boosting sales: Things my new business clients say to me” which follows this introductory piece ‘Your new business is exciting isn’t it!? DON’T talk about it!’ See it here: Part 1 Part 2

startupdonutbannerbutton728x90

Bookmark and Share
Advertisements

Read Full Post »

In the last post I raised the idea that hearing about random aspects of your new business start-up is not necessarily what the customer wants.

Which depot the product has come from, or indeed difficulties in setting the service up, are unlikely to be helpful features! Giving unnecessary background info could even be detrimental to selling your fantastic product/service – loose lips sink ships, as they say.

The worst examples of this type tend to be around those features that aren’t developed. You know the ones: “our delivery service isn’t quite set up currently”, or “24hr functionality wasn’t ready for the launch date” etc. As a customer, isn’t it great to hear about something that you want, but can’t have yet? Of course not!

Simple steps to fix

  1. Ask questions about them, their use & their situation
  2. Then talk about what they can have (not what they can’t)
  3. Get to the sales decision, and regardless of the outcome
  4. NOW you can let them know about upcoming developments.

If they’ve already purchased, great! If not, you’ve made them aware for future reference. As a brief aside it’s probably a good idea in this case to get the customers details and contact him when the service he wants is up and running!

Okay so in truth, I’m not really saying don’t talk about your business at all. Local people are often interested in local businesses, especially new ones, and it IS a good way to build your relationship with your customers. Chatting enthusiastically about yourself and your business is great for developing that rapport.

The real point I’m trying to make here is to differentiate between background chit chat (optional) and the sales process that you will need to walk your customer through to solve their problem (obligatory!)

ACTION: Does this relate to you & your business? Based on the above, what will you STOP doing, START doing and CONTINUE doing today?

startupdonutbannerbutton728x90

Bookmark and Share

Read Full Post »

Whether your business is large, small, new or been around the block a few times, every penny in your marketing budget has to work hard and give you a return.  Remember though that doors opened through your marketing now may lead you down a profitable path in the future, but not yield a financial return just yet.

Marketing doesn’t have to cost a fortune and there are many effective marketing activities that you can do that won’t cost a penny yet will point you in the right direction to get your business to where you want it to be.  Here goes …

  1. Put yourself in their shoes – where does your target audience go?  do?  read?  listen to?   Don’t waste time and money being where they are not.
  2. What is your USP? – what makes you different from your competitors?  Don’t just be another face in the crowd.
  3. Be an expert – write articles and get them published.  Register on http://www.expertsources.co.uk and http://www.findatvexpert.com.
  4. Sell the sizzle not the steak – highlight the benefits of what you do and not just explain what you do.
  5. Freebies – offer a free consultation/trial session/product.  Let people experience what you will do for them.
  6. Testimonials – if you have happy customers, shout about them.  Third party endorsements are worth their weight in gold.
  7. Case studies – these are expanded testimonials and allow you to show a problem you helped solve.  The media love these.
  8. Social networking – set up profiles on, e.g. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, UKBusinessForums, and start connecting.  They’re free.
  9. Network – people buy from people so get out there and meet people.  There are loads of networking groups out there.
  10. E-mail signature – include your contact details and a short sales message or link to something you want to promote at the end of each e-mail.  This can be automated.

The best thing to reduce your marketing spend is to Stop & Think before you commit any money.  There may be a free or cheaper alternative … effective marketing does not have to cost a fortune.

Bookmark and Share

Read Full Post »

In the last few months I have received numerous requests to run workshops and comment on how to cope in a recession. This is what I have been saying.

 

1. Don’t do gloomy
No one wants to listen to a moaner.  The circumstances might be different, but you don’t have to be miserable. If you are, you’ll run out of clients and friends, fast. If possible, do not use the R word.

 

2. Don’t invoke a higher power
Bad performers love a recession because they can claim it’s nothing to do with their performance – it’s the economy, apparently. Bad people are bad whatever the economy is doing.

 

3. You only need one girlfriend
Wandering about complaining that there is no work is like saying there are no women in your town. You only need one girlfriend or piece of work, so go and find it.

 

4. Good companies do the right things all the time
There is no difference between the things companies should do in a recession versus what they should be doing in any other circumstances. If you have to ask what to do differently in a recession, then it’s probably too late.

 

5. Sometimes things go up, and sometimes they go down
So what if the economy is different at the moment? What do you expect, perpetual good times? Your success is entirely in your own hands.

 

6. Nip into the gap
You need to be dexterous enough to nip into the gaps that other people miss. Three examples follow.

 

7. If they want to save on their agency costs…
Go in for a one-off project. Forget retainers and sweep up what’s left. They save money and you gain income.

 

8. If they have fired a lot of people…
Propose a cost-effective shot in the arm. The remaining staff will be low in morale and wondering if they are next. Suggest something that helps them out.

 

9. If their income has plummeted…
Then they need new selling angles, a renewed business effort, and galvanizing of the troops. Propose your versions of these.

 

10. Stop talking about it and get on with something constructive!

 

Bookmark and Share

Read Full Post »

I have been amazed over the last weeks how many very skilled people have been willing to give me their time, as I develop a new project that is way ‘out of my comfort zone’.

This very exciting website project has meant a steep learning curve for me, and requires all sorts of expertise in areas that I only know about in theory.

In a funny way it reminds me of the Hollywood saying “Be nice to people on the way up, because you will meet them again on the way down.” Being able to call on advice from top people that usually consult at £450 a day, and to be offered their interested support, makes me feel pretty humble… and lucky!

Let’s hope I can repay the favour somewhere down the line.

Read Full Post »