There isn’t a business alive that doesn’t want more customers. That may be a bit of hyperbole. There are companies who are growing so fast that they need to onboard customers more slowly, but business is supposed to be about earning customers and getting sales. In fact, most businesses focus solely on growth. They measure success by year-over-year growth in sales. That growth is most often achieved by getting more customers.
The Answer Isn’t Always More Customers
You want to grow your business, but setting a goal to simply get more customers won’t always get you there. Some customers cost more money than others, or waste our most valuable resource, time. Although it goes against every one of our sales-hungry instincts, there are customers you are better off without, especially if you are a small organization with limited resources and manpower. You can’t afford to waste your employee’s valuable time on customers that don’t maximize your net earnings. So how do you avoid that?
The first step is to understand who your best customers are. To do that, you need to actually know your customers. Using a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tool can simplify this by allowing you to quickly determine who your best customers are. Depending on your business, some important factors may differ, but no matter your industry, your best customers are the ones who buy from you the most frequently with the fewest complaints.
Really Know the Top 20 Percent
It is an old sales adage that the top 20 percent of your customers produce 80 percent of your business. That adage endures because it is accurate. Your best customers are always the most certain route to more frequent, faster sales. With that in mind, in order to maximize your business you will have to do something that may cause you some anxiety; ignore customers that are nearer the bottom of your customer list.
For the purposes of this exercise, which is to increase sales, you won’t totally ignore the lesser customers. In order to go after better customers you need to understand the traits and purchasing behaviors of your best customers and your worst. Using your CRM or other sales tracking tool you can determine the makeup of your best customers. How do they breakdown by age and gender? Where do they live?
It is especially important to review their purchasing habits. How often do they purchase and what do they purchase frequently? What products or services do they purchase together? What did they best respond to? …Email marketing? …Facebook advertising? …Direct mail? …Cold calling? Conversely, we should look at your worst customers with the same exacting eye.
Before we continue, it’s important to define “best” and “worst” customers. Your worst customers are not simply the ones who do not purchase frequently. If you haven’t nurtured them you don’t know their potential. You may very well have customers who have purchased previously who forgot about you because you forgot about them. Worst customers are the ones who don’t purchase often, yet suck up a tremendous amount of your time responding to their concerns and needs.
Answer the questions asked above and you begin to create a picture of the customers you are looking for and what they respond to. If you aren’t using a CRM to simplify this task, you need to check out SAP’s affordable digital CRM. You already have all of the data you need about your better customers, you simply need to analyze that data.
First Steps in Converting a Concept Customer
Now that you’ve created a picture of our target customer and their behaviors, how do you convert them into new customers? First and most obviously, you need to reach them. That means using all of the tools you used to get your best customers and find others who look like them from a data perspective. In simple terms you need to use your lead generation system to bring in leads that look like your best customers. Once you have those leads, you need to convert them, in the fastest way possible, into customers who are willing to give you their money for your offering.
A big step in quickening the pace of conversion is to set a timeline that creates a sense of urgency. You may combine this with a promotion to entice the potential customer to purchase, but you must create a limited timeline for the promotion. You must also commit to not overworking tired leads. If you’ve cold-called, sent three emails, and reached out on social media to no avail, it isn’t a hot prospect and you need to move on. You set the pace. That doesn’t mean you won’t continue to nurture that prospect, but move them to the colder lead line and focus you best efforts on the ones who are more responsive to your efforts.
Language is Critical
Sales language and exactly how to ask for the sale has bewildered business people since the beginning of trade. There is an art to asking for the sale without being overly pushy or gauche, and it doesn’t have to be overly complicated. First, put yourself in your prospect’s shoes. You know exactly how it feels to be sold to, so respect their time and be succinct. Get right to the point of how your product or service can help them. If it helps them be more productive or ups their ROI, lead with that. Now is not the time to exercise your English class prowess.
This next piece of advice may seem obvious to the extreme, but you must ask for the sale. Too often businesses spend all of their energy generating and nurturing sales leads, but shy away from the most important aspect of the entire process, actually asking for the sale. If you’re on a call, just ask for it. If you’re emailing, have a link anda Call to Action. If you’re selling through your website make the point of purchase area obvious and easy to navigate. Ask for the sale or you will never get it.
If You Fail
If you follow the process thoroughly and still aren’t converting fast enough, it isn’t time to give up. Instead, it’s time to reassess your process from beginning to end. Go back and make sure that you were accurate in creating your best customer demographic. Make sure the leads you are generating match those target customer types. Review your language and then test, and test again. Here again, your CRM can really accelerate the process if you’re tracking it as you go. What did prospects respond to? What failed when it came to language and promotions?
You can continue to refine the process, moving the leads who didn’t convert into your nurture channel and continuing to focus on the hottest potential customers. Like anything you do, focus and discipline over time will dramatically alter your results. If you want to learn from one of the greatest sales minds working today, watch the recording of our webinar with Anthony Iannarino, Top 3 Challenges Small Sales Teams Struggle With…Solved.
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