Driving Growth through Sales: Outwit, Outsell and Outlast Your Competitors
Maximising Sales Opportunities
Do you really know your customers as well as you think you do? When was the last time you analysed their buying habits?
This week we will talk about how to maximise sales opportunities. Too many business owners fail to recognise the opportunities available with their customers and therefore rob themselves of more sales.
One of my clients the other day said, “My regular customers are not buying from me anymore, I just don’t know what the problem is.”
I asked, “Have you evaluated your customers’ habits lately? Have you asked them what they need from your business?”
The answer was as expected; a firm “No.”
Selling is all about making sure that you keep up to date with customer trends and habits, and that your customers get the products they need. My client understood that her business was not doing as well it used to, but she had no idea as to the root cause of her problem.
Here are signs that indicate you need to pay more attention to maximising sales opportunities:
- Your customers are buying from competitors.
- Your testimonials have decreased.
- Your customers only buy one product.
- Your customers are no longer taking your calls.
- Your blogs and social media updates go unnoticed.
- Others have told you that you are not maximising your sales.
- You have a high customer turnover rate (no repeat customers).
If you identify with any of these signs, all is not lost. There are still ways to improve your business. Here are ways to maximise sales opportunities:
Every business owner should conduct an analysis of their client base on a fairly regular basis. Display the information on a chart. (See figure 1). The chart should have an x and y axis, with the x axis displaying your customer name and the y axis displaying all your products.
Evaluate what each of your customers has bought and colour it on the chart next to their name. For example, in this chart we can see that Customer A has only bought product A, Customer B has only bought product B and customer C has bought all products. You can maximise your sales opportunities by educating your customers’ on the products they have not yet bought. These customers are already on your database so they are sold on your value, you just need to use the information from the chart to open an opportunity to sell them more.
This is known as cross-selling. Cross-selling is one of the most effective ways to increase sales. Food outlets do this so well. Have you noticed how, when you order a meal, they ask, “Would you like some cheese with that?”
They do this to cross-sell their other products to you, but they do it so naturally it seems more like a reminder of what you really want, rather than a manipulation to make you feel obliged to add the extra.
When cross-selling, make the suggestion about the other product as soon as a customer has made a decision on an initial product. You have nothing to lose, and the worst that can happen is your customer walks out with only one product.
Upselling is another method to maximise your sales; but entails really knowing your customer. If your customer orders a product and you know for sure that they can afford an upgrade you suggest it to them.
Most times customers are conservative buyers, they will go for the least expensive product, but you can encourage them to buy-up by selling the benefits of the upgrade.
Upselling should not be confused with cross-selling. Cross-selling involves meeting your customer’s needs, whereas upselling has more to do with selling an upgrade that your customer does not really need, but would be happy to have. For example, in the fast food example above, upselling would be, “If you go for the double size instead of the standard size, you receive 10% off your pizza.”
The salesperson wants to upgrade the pizza from standard to double to get more from the customer. The customer does not really need the upgrade, but would be happy to get the 10% off, whereas adding the cheese is something a customer might need especially if the pizza is very bland.
Maximise on Seasons
Is your product only available during a specific season with low sales during off-peak season? Planning for the seasons can help to keep stable throughout the year.
How do you plan for seasons?
What you need to do is start selling early. Create a buzz for your product during the off-peak season so that when your season comes around people will be rushing to purchase.
Another method is to reduce the price of your product during the off-peak seasons. Most clothing outlets do this, with people flocking to purchase winter clothes in summer.