We are still seeing businesses struggling with the ongoing effects of the slow economy. Times are still tough for a lot of businesses out there and the key is to continue to market and sell your business products and services. But be very careful about competing on price. Discounting might get people in the door, but it can have disastrous effects on your business if you can’t sustain it financially. So how can you sell more without discounting?
But surely the whole economy is Suffering? We say- So What!
As we have been saying to our SME clients “unless you have the lion share of your market then you can always sell more”. What we mean is probably best demonstrated by using the Australia Supermarket industry as an example. Even in times of a downturn in the economy you might be forgiven, if you were Woolies or Coles, for being concerned that your actual dollar sales might shrink. This is because they have the lions share of a mature market. If the whole market shrinks then you have no room to move other than to take sales off each other. However if you are a small independent operator, even during times of recession you still have the opportunity to take sales off one or both of these massive corporates. You don’t own the “whole market” and therefor could always sell to your competitors customers, even if the economy is in recession.
Now apply this thinking to your industry. For example if you are a trade related business, ask yourself “are we the biggest company in this industry?” If you aren’t then you always have the opportunity to sell more, even during the bad times. People don’t stop buying goods and services all together. They do buy less, but they are still buying. The secret is to make sure you grasp this opportunity and ensure they buy more from you!
But how we hear you ask? By having a clear and defined marketing and business development strategy and plan.
A significant proportion of businesses attempt to compete with their competitors using price as one of the main weapons. This should only be done for a defined time and for a specific reason. Other key sales factors and tools are:
WIIFT- What’s in it for them?
Always look at your sales and marketing from your customers point of view. What’s your point of difference? What’s your reputation in the market place? Would you buy from you?
Customer Service is Everything
As the saying goes, under promise and over deliver. If you can exceed the customers expectations with your finished product then you will have a long term customer who will also continue to recommend you to other potential customers.
Largely, there is an inherent assumption, on behalf of most normal customers nowadays, that your price will be fairly close to the accepted market price and therefor what drives customers decision is their perception on how easy it is to do business with you and key things like:
•The additional fees some businesses try to add – extended warranties, shipping etc
•After sales service – The call the next day or week to check if all it ok
•Warranty quality – ever experienced Fisher & Pykel back up service? – now there’s an example of a great customer focused business!
•Returns policy if something goes wrong
•Do yourself and your business a huge favour – review your customer service policy and your customer service program… it will pay huge dividends!
Emphasise the Benefits. Not the price
Highlight your products benefits over your competitors products without mentioning the competitors. More often than not customers will purchase from the sales person they feel they have struck up a good relationship with. If you can portray yourself and your business as a reputable, quality business who deliver nothing less and nothing more than what you say you will deliver then you are well on your way to selling to that customer without price even coming into it.
Marketing and ultimately selling is key to surviving during bad times and even good.
If you are unsure as to how to grow your sales, we recommend you seek professional business advice.
Avegna assists business owners with these issues on a daily basis. We work with businesses helping them to implement real world, practical changes in their business to ensure their continued growth and success. For further information on how we can assist you in your business please email us on firstname.lastname@example.org