We're all interested in ways to increase profits. But, all too often, business owners look in the wrong places for the answers while an abundance of extra profit is being lost right under their nose.
They just don't see it leaking away, day after day.
Let me give you a real life example.
Some time back, a client came to see me with a marketing problem. He was the owner of multiple tile showrooms.
He said the market was hardening, his competitors were undercutting his prices, and he was starting to lose market share. "Chris, I want you to come up with a new advertising campaign. Something catchy and gimmicky that will get our sales up, and fast".
My response wasn't what he expected. Instead of talking gimmicky ideas, I quietly asked him: "Alan, what's your sales process? How does business come to you now? How much of your business is 'walk-in' traffic, and how much starts as an enquiry over the phone?"
Perplexed as to why I was going down this line of questioning, he told me that the market is extremely price focused, and people typically shop around for prices over the phone before they go into a tile showroom.
I asked another question "What percentage of those enquiry calls actually convert to a visit to your showrooms?"
Well, that question really set him off! "Twenty percent would be being generous!" Their average conversion rate was a real bone of contention he had with his staff.
"Alan, what's YOUR success rate in converting callers to sales?"
He fired back, "Look, I run a twelve million dollar business with multiple stores. I hope you're not suggesting I answer the phones!"
I assured him that this was not my intention. But I still pressed him for what happens when he DOES answer the phone. "Well, I reckon I get about 80% coming in to buy. But I've been in the industry for a long time. I know my products backwards. And no one has my knowledge in that area."
Perhaps you can see where I'm going with this.
Here was an experienced and intelligent businessperson who'd come to me convinced he needed a 'catchy' new ad campaign. But he was looking in completely the wrong place for a solution! What he really needed was something different altogether.
Look at the numbers.
Alan was getting 80% conversion to a sale over the phone. His people were averaging 20%.
His team's conversion to sales was haemorrhaging badly. My next question really blew the lid off his problem for BOTH of us "Alan, how many people across all your stores take these sales enquiry calls?"
"FORTY!", he answered. He had forty people taking his phone enquiries at a devastatingly low 20%. It meant every time someone in his team picked up the phone, he was losing 60% of his potential sales.
And HE thought he needed an ad campaign!
By training his people to convert, not at 80%, but just 40% I showed him that he'd immediately add some FIVE to SIX MILLION to his turnover. Without spending anymore on advertising.
No matter what your business, there's an indelible lesson to be had here.
Review your advertising by all means for increased profit opportunities. But always look at your current sales PROCESS first.
Ask yourself these searching questions:
- Do you actually know what your average 'conversion rate' is? I don't mean 'guess it'.
- Do you accurately measure it?
- Do you measure it for each individual? There's great wisdom in the saying, "What you don't measure, you can't manage".
- Do you have scripts to maximise the success of your individual team members on the phone, and in face-to-face sales situations?
- And do you have a follow up system to follow up sales that didn't happen right away?
- And a system to develop ongoing communications with your prospects?
- Do you have a programmed approach to ethically re-selling existing clients?
In each of these seemingly innocuous questions is hidden the potential for an avalanche of new sales and profits.
But it IS hidden.
You won't see the opportunities unless you dissect your sales process and identify them!