How good is your bottom line? I’m talking business bottom lines, naturally.
If yours is in shapely, profitable form, Bravo!
But what if your bottom line is shaky, even though you’ve got many of the successful business bases covered?
You’ve got a life-enhancing product or service, a solid business plan, a workable budget, and a great team, and still, you’re struggling to keep your head above water.
Somehow, despite your best efforts, your beautiful, heart-driven business isn’t attracting the customer love and the steady (or better still stellar) sales you need to be buoyant (or better still blooming.)
Fixing a wobbly bottom line once you’ve laid your business foundations often involves building stronger, deeper connections with your customers.
These lovely humans are at the heart of your business, so focusing on them makes perfect sense. Find out how they tick, how they see you, and how you can offer them even more value for money.
Learn more about your customer, and you’ll be better placed to serve them, better placed to make sales and better placed to build profitable relationships in every sense.
5 modest but marvellously effective ways to make more sales
1. Focus on why people buy from you
Ask some of your loyal customers the ‘why’ question. Chances are their answers will be very revealing and perhaps not at all what you expected. Obviously, the quality and usefulness of whatever you’re selling will feature.
But maybe the clincher’s your lightning response to urgent orders, megawatt smile, quirky business name, eco-friendly packaging, willingness to tell them helpful stuff for free, the dogged way you hunt down that obscure thing they need, your blue walls – blue is their favourite colour. Who knows what you’ll learn and how that might help you do even more much-appreciated stuff for current and future customers.
Of course, some customers may love you for what you don’t do. You don’t ask about their day. You don’t invite them to try a free sample. You simply sell them the thing they’re after with zero fuss or fanfare. This is what some customers value the most.
Think about why you shop where you do. Is there anything you value in your experience as a customer that your customers might value more (or less) of?
2. Be genuinely present with customers
Giving whomever you’re with your undivided attention works well with everyone, customers included. As well-intentioned humans, we mostly try to be present for the other person. But the truth is we’re often a little or a lot distracted.
Two questions can help you focus on your customer ‘ ‘how can I be of service to you?’ and ‘what more can I do?’ Asking these things and listening attentively to the answers are solid steps toward building strong relationships.
3. Focus on your existing clients.
It’s much easier to sell to existing customers than to create new ones. And yet we often take our existing customers for granted. What can you do to add value for the people who already love and trust your business? How about an exclusive offer or an extra item or service to thank them for their loyalty? If you have their addresses, you can also craft a friendly ‘non-salsey’ email to former customers offering these things. Humans almost always love to help. Don’t be afraid to ask current customers if they know anyone who needs your products or services. Have a referral process that rewards both parties. Perhaps a small gift for the referrer and a first purchase discount for the new client.
Before you go ‘Urk! That’s so not me,’ I’m not suggesting you mimic Mcdonald’s famous ‘would you like fries with that?
Use your intuition and the intell you’ve gathered by asking the ‘why’ question to chat to selected customers about their bigger business picture. Because maybe you can help them achieve other goals.
For example, coffee and conversation with one of my social media management clients led to brainstorming ways to go beyond being more ‘digitally visible.’
The result? A plan to host a series of community taster events and a press and radio marketing campaign to promote them.
5. Put your reviews to work
Reviews, aka ‘social proof’ are pure marketing gold.
Current clients love to see their sound choices vindicated. Potential clients pay attention to independent views from people like them looking for answers to the same or similar questions.
So, scatter reviews or review snippets across your website pages and create a page called ‘Customer love’ or ‘Testimonials’ or ‘Kind words’. Include them graciously and gratefully in your socials
If you struggle with asking for reviews, reread what I said in point three about most humans being hardwired to want to help.
Tell contented customers how vital word-of-mouth recommendations and referrals are to your business.
Make it easy for them to give you a review.
Give them the URL link and some short instructions on leaving a Google or Facebook or Linkedin review.
Craft a friendly unpressured email request for reviews for your website. Prompt people by listing the things most clients are interested in:
Were you reliable and easy to work with?
Did your product or service meet their expectations?
What was the best/most surprising thing about working with or buying from you?
Would they recommend your services?
Genuine customer focus makes for meaningful relationships
Decide you’ll make doing business with you an entirely wonderful experience. Focus on your customers by being attentive and responsive. Surprise and delight them by being proactive. Ask what else you can do, offer new or different or extra things you they’d appreciate. Invite them to be part of your success by sharing their positive experiences of your business.
In short, build enduring relationships with loyal customers who’ll keep coming back. Create connections that will deepen and evolve as your business grows.
Need help to become that memorable business that people rave about?
Check out Demystify your Marketing. It’s my marketing mentoring program that maps your customer’s journey and prepares you to connect with them at every point along the way.
Over to you
Have a favourite way of connecting with your customers or a question on how to sharpen your customer focus? I’d love to hear it.