Business owners are human – this we know. It’s amazing how much business (and therefore, revenues) we can miss when three things are not present in our company.
First, there are replicatable business processes, such as a revenue pipeline. This particular process tracks a sales opportunity from when it was just suspected of being a sales opportunity, into a true sales lead, into a prospect, and to a customer or client. Many businesses are missing out in one stage of this pipeline (or funnel… whatever you wish to call it) or another. Some companies are tracking the hotter leads, but losing those who could be a prospect down the road, when they are ready to buy (rather than when you are ready to sell.) I remember a colleague of mine who was working with a very successful timeshare company. They found out that the timeshare company never followed up with prospects who gave them a “no” once they’d come in and heard about their offer. Instant money on that table – all they needed to do (and did) was to start following up in a “drip system” to reconnect later this year and next year.
Secondly, there are investments that need to be made into customer-facing employees. Watching Zappo’s Tony Hseih on CBS Sunday Morning reminds a business owner of the importance of employee attitude, and the effect on customers (and company growth). Don’t simply do a new employee immersion program – your employees need more. Your culture carries through the organization and finding ways for employees to shine – while helping customers – is invaluable.
Finally, Your company and its products and services need to be memorable – otherwise customers won’t remember you when THEY are ready to buy. How can you keep mindshare? Follow up with them about their industry (yes, not yours, but theirs). Talk to them about what will help them grow their business. Periodically, let them know about new services or products that could be of value for them (if they truly could – if not, don’t mention them). Buy your best customer your favorite business book, or theater tickets for their family, or something else that will let them know you are thinking about them.
It doesn’t take lots of extra money to do most of these things – it just takes solid planning and execution. What have you done to stand out? Drop me a note with your ideas and I’ll push them out to others. You can post a comment or write me through Score More Sales. Lori Richardson is on a “Fabulous 50-50-50-50” tour around the U.S. and parts of Canada. If you know of a town she should visit, or a local expert she can co-present with, drop her a note. Set your big audacious goals and post them for the world to see – then take action on them. More on Lori and the tour at Score More Sales.