Those who generate higher sales and better earnings secure both the future of their company and that of their employees. For this reason, entrepreneurs should always deal intensively with the following questions:
1. How can you achive higher sales prices?
Whoever succeeds in increasing his prices at the same cost automatically increases his profit. However, many delay necessary price increases because they believe they will otherwise lose customers. But a business is not an end in itself: at the latest when your own costs rise, they must be passed on. Alternatively, rebates and discounts can be reduced. Some suppliers even miss the fact that they give too high discounts to their customers. For example, if a customer has reduced his purchases over the last two years, why should he get the same discounts? If you offer a customer a 3% discount in reflex terms, you should try offering them a 2% discount in the future as a matter of course – at least for new customers. Of course, certain customers always react very sensitively to higher prices or reductions in discounts. In this case one should consider whether one does not accomplish a qualitative customer exchange over the next months and years. Because who does not appreciate the achievement of the offerer, will go with high probability sooner or later anyway to the cheaper competition.
2. How can the average order value be increased?
Frequently, just talking to customers is enough to successfully sell these suitable additional products. Whether this is the coffee for a roll, the books for sales training or the insurance for the car. That’s why it makes sense for all employees to have ideas as to which products and services they offer which suitable supplements. In practice, it often doesn’t work to say that one and the same product can always be offered separately for all products, because many customers perceive this as a sales pitch – and therefore usually block it spontaneously. In addition, employees in sales are deprived of their individuality and responsibility if they have no flexibility at all in additional sales.
3. How can new customers be actively acquired?
Active customer acquisition means that salespeople visit potential new customers on their own initiative. For example the area manager, who goes also times into business, where he did not have so far yet or the salesman, who calls with entrepreneurs, with whom he had so far still no contact. Salespeople often shy away from this method because they might be opposed to it. But who has an outstanding offer, is morally obligated to address not yet customers. It is also not about winning everyone as a customer. It is much more important to start at all and to give more people the chance to say no to a purchase or appointment.
4. How can new customers be acquired passively?
If customers are looking for a solution, they usually use search engines first. Who is not present here on the first result side, has hardly chances that the customer inquires. Every entrepreneur should therefore ask himself whether he shows enough presence in the market. Because customers can only buy from those who know them – or find them for the purpose of inquiry. Unfortunately, potential new customers are also often sold. For example, because the website of the provider does not appear professional enough, the reception on the phone is not professional enough (“Mr. x is not there – can you please call again?”) or the promised written offer is eternally waiting. Therefore: Where is there still room to go in order to be able to make an even more professional appearance in relation to the competitor?
5. With which companies should you establish a strategic cooperation?
Some inquiries and customers simply do not fit the company offering them. Almost every supplier has this problem. So why should one, after having come to the conclusion on the basis of the needs analysis with the customer that one does not fit together, not pass these on to more suitable providers or colleagues in a targeted manner? However, those who only pass these on to certain colleagues because they receive the highest recommendation commission from them do something wrong. Recommenders are responsible for ensuring that the customer is most likely to achieve his or her goals with the other company. If the recommended company doesn’t work so well after all, this also falls back on the recommender. This can lead not only to bad word-of-mouth propaganda, but also to bad reviews on the Internet. Cooperations can also function in such a way that for example a craftsman recommends another craftsman of another trade to the customer, so that he gets the order. If both work hand in hand, they can be very successful by this method alone – even if they are hardly known to the public. If the contact to the customer is good, then recommendations are almost self-runners.
6. Which advertising measures should be further developed?
In most cases, it is not possible to determine exactly which advertising has brought something in the end – and which has not. It is therefore good to try out new channels in advertising as well. Nevertheless, self-criticism must also be reflected upon: Which trade fair participations brought concrete results? What advertising campaigns did most customers come through? What absolutely has to be changed in the next campaign or action? Are there certain customers who are already fans and enthusiastically recommend customers? If not done yet, they should get a big thank you at the latest now. But also here questions help: Why do they recommend so actively? So what does the provider do right? How could even more customers be persuaded to recommend enthusiastically?
7. Which employees need to be coached?
Even today, business is done between people. Even if some purchase transactions are only carried out digitally, customers often come into contact with people at the latest when they have questions – or have to complain. Salespeople must also have good ideas when, for example, the store is full and the stress level rises. This applies to sales representatives in the field if the critical customer is to be won for an order or the service employee who finds other prerequisites for his work during assembly, as originally planned. Words are fleeting. Once they have been said, they cannot be retrieved. For this reason, employees must always be able to present themselves professionally to customers. Customers often transfer the image of one employee to the entire company. If the salesperson is good, his offer and his company are usually also good. If he is unprofessional, everything else is often not worth the order – at least in the customer’s image.
8. Which markets that have been untapped for a long time promise new potential?
Often the map still has white areas. So where are there customers who might be an ideal match for you? Where could sales partners contribute to opening up new markets? A look at competitors can often help to inspire them. Where are they also active? Why? What measures could be taken to strategically forestall them?
9. Which additional products and services should be included in the portfolio?
It makes perfect sense to regularly and completely examine one’s own service portfolio. Which ‘hits’ and ‘bums’ are included in your own portfolio? What is the reason for this? Why should the previous products and services, which are not running, show any signs of improvement over the next three years?
10. How can good existing customers be even better retained by the company?
Interestingly, many providers focus on acquiring new customers. This is also good. But: Often the existing good customers feel neglected. They can’t understand why new customers get special conditions or exclusive gifts, for example – but they themselves don’t get anything for the long-standing good cooperation. In some industries, this has already led to customers immediately giving notice as soon as they have become customers, only to be generously accepted again elsewhere. But can something like this be right? The best customers of a company are the target or desired customers of its competitors. If providers neglect their best customers too much, they are very open to attempts by competitors to entice them away. Therefore it must be considered, how these good customers can be bound voluntarily. Voluntarily because this is based on sympathy and trust. Of course, “adhesion contracts” are also conceivable. But if customers are too disappointed by their suppliers, even sophisticated contracts are useless. And should the customer be there until the end of the contract, albeit reluctantly, he will in the meantime be highly motivated to tell others about the poor quality of the supplier’s work.
Whoever wants to generate higher sales in 2020 has many opportunities. It is important to focus on one or two things – and to drive these areas forward with commitment. In case of doubt, with external help, so that these projects not only remain mere wishes, but are actually achieved as goals.