Last week we looked at the various ways we could increase the number of clients or customers. This week we will have a look at how to increase the number of sales that we make to those clients or customers.
Sure it’s great to have say 100 more customers, but stop and think about it for a moment – how much greater would it be if each of those customers, not only bought a product or service from you, but came back on a regular basis to purchase from you again and again. Now that would be a fantastic occurrence, I am sure you would all agree!
Obviously, whatever it is that you offer, be it product or service, it has to be the same or preferably better than your competitors. Taking this as a given, one of the quickest ways to increasing the number of sales is of course to make it as easy as possible for your existing customers to do repeat business with you. For me, that means reminding my clients from time to time about some of the products or services that I have to offer and I do this by means of sending an e-mail. By doing this I not only remind my customers of the product or service that I have on offer, but it also assists me with the building of a strong, sustainable relationship with my customers and this in turn builds customer loyalty. Understand though that the quality of my product or service can never be brought into dispute and must be maintained at the highest possible standard.
Some of the customer service areas that perhaps need to be checked on, on a regular basis to ensure that they don’t fall between the cracks are (but not limited to) listed below. Remember too that the simpler the process, the more often it just gets disregarded and the more often it is the most critical one that is required. So check yourself on a regular basis to ensure that you are doing all that can be done in these areas.
• Do you have a turn-a-round time to respond to requests or calls or e-mails. If not, here is an ideal opportunity to implement something. Make sure it is realistic though – putting a policy in place that states for example that you will respond to e-mails within 10 minutes of receiving them is not clever and will put you (and your staff) under tremendous strain, but putting a policy in place that the phone will be answered by the 3rd ring is a great thing. Think about what you want done and put realistic policies in place.
• Do you ensure that your client contact details are current and kept up to date. Again, here is an opportunity to make sure that this is done on a regular basis.
• Is the product or service that you offer consistently of a high quality, good value for money and readily available? There is nothing worse than seeing an advert for a particular product or service or something on special and then you get there and there is no stock. It makes me really grumpy and if it makes me grumpy it makes others (being your clients) grumpy too!
• When issues are decided at meetings or policies implemented or instructions given, do you follow up to ensure that those policies or instructions have in fact been implemented or processed? Make sure that each decision or instruction is implemented correctly and followed to fruition. No matter how many decisions you make or how many policies and procedures that you may have, if they are not implemented or if there are no consequences, the decisions or instructions or policies and procedures mean nothing and are in fact worthless.
• Billing – now this is one of my shortcomings – make sure that your invoices are raised timeously and not only on time, but that they are accurate. I am often caught short at the end of the month in terms of cash flow because my invoices have gone out late. Be careful with this.
Finally, think about what makes you use or seek out new suppliers. Whatever it is, make sure that you don’t do the same thing or you will lose your customers for the very same reason.