How to get more out of your sales strategy
Despite all the marketing tools at your fingertips you don’t exactly want to have constant marketing and searching for new customers on your mind, so this month’s edition of the ACCELERATE series focuses on how you can drive ongoing sales and keep your loyal customer base.
While your business grows you’ll need a coordinated and structured sales strategy that’ll allow you to make good decisions about what’s right for you in terms of which jobs you need to take, what you can and should turn down and when you can start investing in growing your business.
Your sales strategy should have:
- Clear priorities – where is the low-hanging fruit and how can you grab it?
- Simple outcomes – what should happen if you do what you say you will?
- Guidelines – how should people act to get where you want to go?
- Goals – after doing all the above, where should you be in a year, or three years’ time?
In order to create a sales strategy using these components, start by looking at your past 12 months or so of trading and answer the following questions:
- How much revenue did you make?
- From how many contracts?
- If you have a team, who was the strongest performer and why?
- What was your best and worst feedback (pick a few examples)?
- What was your best job in terms of benefit to your business?
- Did you improve on the year before, if so what made the difference?
- Are you in a better or worse place than you were 12 months ago?
I know this is a lot of information to consider but it’s a great way of painting the picture for your future using your past performance. This review of your company can also give you an idea on anything that needs adding or removing from your company in order to streamline your plan of attack.
Also, being talking about this with any of your current or future team will also allow everyone to be ‘singing from the same song-sheet’ going forward and could also open up a potential for delegating some responsibility.
Pitching and quoting
After understanding the improvements and strategy your company can make it’s time to start selling again. You’re expecting new work from all the marketing and good reviews you’ve had so where do you stand now?
Agreeing a price for your work is always a balancing act to ensure you give a fair and competitive price to win the business so your customers benefit from your expertise and experience, and also give you a fair return for your efforts.
Additionally, customers don’t want to be handed extra costs following your initial agreement so factoring in circumstances such as broken equipment or extra hours before a job will help avoid those dreaded expenses lists on top of the standard bill.
Using your sales strategy can help you recognise when you have the right approach or indeed when you’re stretched too thin. Your sales strategy will help you to maximise the value you create for customers and for you and guide you towards and adjustments you need to make along the way.
Change the perspective
Also, think about what it is that you sell to your customers. And, like the largest brands around, you have to take it one step further than the surface level of what you sell - instead of selling locks you’re selling home security, instead of plumbing you are selling comfort, and so on.
Adding this small change of perspective along with your competitive but capable pricing will give you a better chance over the competition for those harder to win contracts, but also understanding and communicating with the client over their vision lets you take that extra step.
Upselling is a delicate but effective way to increase profits after the initial sale, but if you are doing this, you have to realise not every job is the right opportunity for it. In the instances where this is appropriate you can offer services such as:
- Higher quality products and materials that give better profit margin
- An extended service with ongoing support
- A new aspect to the job, or extra work not mentioned in the pitch
- Work on other projects being carried out by the same client
Using this “foot in the door approach” can lead to a future string of jobs with the client along with the potential for a few simple ways to increase revenue but it’s important to remember that it’s not always appropriate.
While your services and pricing can often get you in the room to pitch for a trades job your customer service is often the thing that keeps you there, offering a personable and positive experience for your customers can help build a rapport and open the door to a future of loyal custom.
Along with being positive and polite at all opportunities you can also add some standard practices to maximise your service. These include: offering knowledge so the customers aren’t confused, providing warrantees to ensure quality of work, and checking back in with the customer after the contract to maintain your relationship.
Okay, I know that’s a lot more information than usual so I can’t blame you for feeling lost at points (you wouldn’t be the only one!). If you wish to delve deeper into your sales strategy or just make sense of the information you’ve just received, please access all the resources you can from the homeservefoundation.com.