This month’s theme is Strategic Selling. Today’s blog is about mindset and how to make it strategic. Consider some of the following ideas and think about how you might put them into practice.
To be successful at getting your current customers to spend more with you, you must increase the “perceived value” of what you offer. You must become more strategic and educate your customers so that they desire your products/services more than they currently do.
To make this happen, you must first increase your “self-esteem.” You must believe that you are different, better, special and highly valuable to your customers, even worth a premium price. You must fight the “I am a commodity” mindset with every fiber of your mind, body and soul. The day you believe you are in a commodity industry or business is the day you begin to die. If you are similar to your competitors, you must break out from the pack. For example, create an added presence to what you are offering. Think about taking your performance to a higher level, maybe offer a money-back satisfaction guarantee, provide on-going education seminars for your customers or consider packaging/bundling other products or services with yours. Dare to be different and more valuable.
Here are some other ideas to increase the average purchase size and frequency of your sales:
- Raise your prices, if you can. Educate your buyers on the superior advantages, benefits and results you provide them and explain “the reasons why” you need to raise prices – increasing manufacturing costs, customer-service enhancements, better guarantees, better ingredients, etc.
- Up-sell. If your client/customer can achieve better results and greater satisfaction, educate them on buying a higher-end product/service. Do a better job of assessing their needs, matching products/services that will give your customers the optimal buying experience and satisfaction. You will increase your profits and customer fulfillment. Auto dealers are masters at getting customers to buy car models with the higher-end feature packages (i.e. leather interior, better stereos, etc.)
- Cross-sell. If you have multiple product or service lines, communicate and educate your customers/clients on the full spectrum of your solutions – services, products and expertise. Continually ascertain your customers’ challenges/problems and match up with the other solutions you offer. CPA firms, for example, cross-sell their audit clients on tax and consulting services. Banks cross-sell their checking customers on investments, mortgages, lines of credit, credit cards, etc.
- Bundle better. Consider packaging complementary products/services together. If a customer is going to buy a gas grill, for example, offer a complete package of cooking utensils, mesquite wood chips, barbecue book, grill cover and apron. By saving your customer’s time and helping them to buy a more “complete solution,” you can probably charge a premium for this “barbecue in the box” offering. At the very least, they will have bought more than they otherwise would have – you made buying easy.
- Offer volume or frequent buyer discounts. If you can get your customers to buy more and buy more frequently, reward them with incentives, discounts, extra level of services, etc. Since you have maximized your cash flow, be willing to reward customers with a few extra perks. Bookstores and airlines have “frequent buyer” programs. In addition, video stores and coffee stores give you a free serving when you buy a certain number of times.
- Offer other products/services that will complement what you already sell. Ask the question, “Who else sells something that goes before, after or along with my customer’s purchase?” For example, if you sell computer products, consider selling “technical needs analysis” services on the front-end or installation and computer training services on the back-end. Be sure it makes economic sense to add such services to your business.
- Communicate with your customers often and give them buying ideas/solutions via mail, phone, email, newsletters, in-store displays, etc. For example, as fall approaches, a hardware store owner may use direct mail and in-store displays to communicate the need to seal coat and fill in cracks in driveways. The owner can sell customers on the benefits of taking action by packaging all the supplies together (sealant, crack filler, broom, gloves, removal cleaner, “how to” booklet, etc.) and offering a single-solution price.
- Conduct special events to educate your existing customers on additional service/product offerings. Do this in an informative manner and in a way that has “their best interests” at heart. Hold a “sneak preview” for your new products, services, models, etc. Hold exclusive events for your best customers. An upscale luxury auto dealer might hold a wine and cheese party with a musical quartet to unveil the newest car models.
- Endorse other people’s products or services to your client list and get a cut of the action. For example, if you are an upscale jewelry store, consider offering elaborate vacation packages to your customers via an upscale travel agency. Mail offers to your customer database, endorse the travel agency and their offering, and receive a set percentage of any revenues generated. Instead of adding computer training to your computer store, form an alliance with a reputable training company and negotiate for a “cut of the action” for introducing/endorsing them to your customers via email, direct mail, telemarketing, etc. To maintain the goodwill of your customers, make sure you do your “due diligence” and introduce only high-trust, high-integrity and high-value organizations to your customer base.
Don’t attempt to do all of these at once. Simply consider one, two or even three of these practices, focus your energy and make a specific implementation plan. Give it time to work. Monitor and evaluate the process of how the approach evolves and make sure you don’t give up on them too early in the game. Don’t hesitate to email or call if you have questions. Good luck!