A couple of years ago I was in a meeting with a client when he asked me what I thought of his “Sales Prevention Manager.” After a delayed reaction and in the middle of his next sentence I started to giggle, and then do one of those suppressed snorting laughs that suddenly overcomes you in the middle of church.
“Sales Prevention Manager.” When I gave that some thought I realized how many times a day we run into businesses and companies that probably have some stellar performers in the sales prevention management role.
So I thought I’d make a list of just a few sales prevention strategies to avoid during a time when every sale counts:
You can’t take it with you – This is an actual policy at one of our local restaurants. Every day they run specials (which are reasonably priced and NOT give-a ways). But you’d better not order more than you can eat – because they won’t let you take it home. What is up with THAT? If a dozen hot wings are say $5.00 and I want to order four dozen, eat one and take the rest home – what do YOU CARE? This restaurant would obviously rather make $5 than $20. Besides, more wings mean more beer – so what’s the problem? There is nothing worse than creating a policy that stops your customers from giving you money.
Salespeople who don’t sell – Since when did a sales person become just a warm body? Sales people are there to sell and help customers choose the product and/or service that best meets their needs. There is a reason why the things we sell are called “OFFERINGS.” We are supposed to OFFER them to people; actually present them as a potential targeted solution to a customer need. Maybe it’s the self-service culture we’ve become accustomed to, but maybe it’s just plain oversight of the obvious opportunity to sell more. The first sale to a customer is a significantly lower margin than each additional sale. If each of your customers just bought one more thing – how much more money would you make?
Gift Certificates and coupons that don’t work – If someone takes the time, effort and energy to come to you and offer you money using a gift certificate or coupon, TAKE IT. If the gift certificate is expired – take it anyway? It’s a gift certificate. That means you’ve already taken and had their money. Chances are good that they are spending more money than the gift certificate is for which is money you didn’t have before. You can argue a policy or you can take their money and increase your sales. It’s up to you.
How to be sure you are getting every sale:
- List all your customer policies and ask yourself the question “Are these making it easier or harder for customer to give me money?”
- Take a look at all your offerings and look for simple ways that keep people from buying or buying more. Is your phone number and web site listed on every page, at the bottom, at the top, in the copy?
- What are your customers purchasing? Are there products or services that they may not have considered that would improve their purchase and purchase experience? If they are buying clothing – are there accessories that can go with it? If they are buying services – are there complementary products that they can use to enhance the service experience?
- Create product and service bundles and train your sales people on what things could go together. Up-sell, cross-sell. Just Sell. It also makes sense to hire sales people that like and enjoy your product or service so that they can enthusiastically share their combinations and experiences. New research shows that people are more likely to purchase based on recommendation than advertising.
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About the Author: Ivana Taylor has spent over 20 years helping industrial organizations and small business owners get and keep their ideal customers. Her company is Third Force and she writes a blog called Strategy Stew. She is co-author of the book “Excel for Marketing Managers.”