Increase your sales – It’s simple, Part 1
At the risk of sounding obvious, there are only two ways to increase your sales:
Source: Jeff Schmidt, RAB
1. Sell more to your current customers.
2. Find new customers.
While selling more to your current customers is a simple solution, it’s by no means easy. It requires focus, effort, communication, and value. It’s shameful to admit, but I have actually witnessed sellers calling current clients near the end of the month and saying words to the effect, “I’m short of my goal. Our station needs to make the number. Can you help me out by buying a little more this month? I’ll make you a great deal.”
This is NOT an acceptable way to increase the billing from your current clients. Sadly, it may work once or twice, but the long-term impact on your image and relationship with the client can be extremely harmful.
How do you sell more to your current customers? Here are some thought starters:
1. Dig deeper: Create relationships in more departments and look for more problems to solve. If you call on a car dealership, most people stop at the New/Used manager. Go to HR for recruiting, parts and service, financing and insurance, etc. In any category of business there are multiple “profit centers.” Develop relationships with each one. Banks have departments for consumer lending and regular savings/checking accounts, but they also have a commercial lending department and even a community service department, among others.
2. Bring ideas: Remember Rule No. 1 of buying: People do NOT buy products or services; they buy what the product or service DOES for them. For example, people don’t buy a mattress. They buy a good night’s sleep. They don’t buy a Rolex to tell time. They buy it for the status it brings them. So focus on what your product or service DOES for the client. What problems can you solve? What ideas can you bring to help their business improve? Focus on the customer rather than your product and you will find opportunities. You’re not selling “spots,” you're solving client problems.
3. Communicate consistently and regularly. It’s sad how often we sign up a new client, but in our panic to grow our billing we ignore the clients we have and focus all our attention on generating new business. You need a consistent repeatable process to stay connected to your current clients. This can be hand-written thank you notes, articles of interest, ideas, promotions and opportunities. In advertising, we tell clients they need to generate a “frequency of 3” to be on the radar for potential business. Are you communicating with your current customers frequently enough and with enough value that they think of you first when they have a problem?
4. Get results for your clients. Nothing motivates better than achievement. Satisfied customers continue to do business with you. If you’re solving their problems, getting success for them, why would they not want more?
To grow your business, you either need more from your current customers, or you need more customers. Simple. So why aren’t we doing it more? Ideas sell better than sales people. Be consistently looking for ways to help your current clients grow their business. If they see you as a partner in their success, they will give you a greater opportunity to do business with them.
Next week, we’ll focus on getting new clients.
Jeff Schmidt is the SVP of Professional Development for the Radio Advertising Bureau. You can email him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Other ways to connect: Twitter: @JeffreyASchmidt; LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/schmidtjeffrey.