I find myself getting into this type of conversation a lot. I ask a businesses owner or manager “What is the main source of your business right now?”
I get a shifty flick of their eyes followed by very similar responses:
- “I guess, it’s repeat customers….”
- “Well, I run ads in local papers sometimes….”
- “Hmm, the brand name above the door does it in most cases….”
- “I think, it’s probably the Golden Pages….”
They are fooling nobody – except maybe themselves
Straight away, I’m trying to work out what process is in place to measure sources of business because any business owner or manager that is focussed on those metrics can quote them off the top of their head.
I love to hear “30% of my business is repeat trade, 50% is walk-in business because I have a great location and the rest comes from different marketing and promotion campaigns that I run at different times of the year”. There’s no sand slipping through those fingers. Having spent a little time with them, that’s the level of focus that clients of EzSales develop throughout their teams.
Before we can establish the likelihood of your success in new promotional activities, we have to understand where your current business is coming from. I do not want to start pushing your promotions away from a successful source. In fact, the main reason I’m asking the question is to work out where you are spending your money and to see if we can take some of your current marketing spend and make it work more productively for you through other channels.
Sales ends up being a numbers game, so you have to be on top of your numbers. You need a system that tracks every enquiry and qualifies the source of that enquiry. This will drive your actions too. If you see that most people are coming to you for goods or services because they were recommended by a friend, then the likelihood is that they have received a little bit of pre-selling. They are already disposed to like you and your products or services because a trusted friend has recommended them to you. If you’re not measuring the volume of business that you get through this channel, you could become complacent when it comes to customer service.
Equally, it has become expensive for businesses to continue to pay for premium listings with the golden pages. If you were to stop doing that and spend the money in a different area it could be a risk. If you assume that all calls you are getting for new business enquiries are coming from your Golden Pages listing, perhaps asking the question from a caller about where they heard about you could go a long way to establishing whether that it truly the case or not.
When building a cohesive sales strategy it comes down to a simple approach:
A) Know where your sales come from (Measure and report)
B) Identify if your competition are winning sales from you through other channels and if it is possible for you to compete in that space (I see no reason why not)
C) Work out what business will churn of it’s own accord once your product or service quality remains consistently high – take that as a baseline of business in the bank (My guess is that any figure you list as business in the bank will be a fairly low one in current market conditions)
D) Look at what costs will go behind driving business through other channels and break out your sales and marketing plan accordingly (This will make you focus on the return you get from the money you spend behind every activity)
E) We’re back to Point (A) – Measure sales and report
F) Rinse and repeat (Don’t lock your strategy in stone, but don’t change too often either. Review the success of your activities and identify the impact in positive revenue growth)
I suspect that if you haven’t run this simple exercise recently in your business, then there’s a good chance that you are spending money from your sales and marketing budget without knowing what return it’s delivering to your business. It’s money you’ve spent in the past and each year you pay it again. Don’t get upset, get focussed.
By stepping back and looking at your sources of our success, we can learn what activities are fruitless. Cut them out and increase effort and focus on the areas of your sales and marketing plan that give you the highest return and you’re well on the way to a successful strategy.
At EzSales we have simple, cost effective solutions. We make it a priority to get the necessary systems and structures in place throughout your business to deliver measured results. These bring focussed strategies that WILL increase your sales and will increase your PROFITS.