many business people have been reporting sales as "below expectation".
It's not that the situation is critical, or worse than last
It's just that sales have "tapered off", and what was looking
like a good year now promises to be bit "ordinary". It's time
crank up the sales machine to finish the financial year on a strong
When sales taper
off this way, it is easy
to blame the drought (in Australia, but not in New Zealand!), the
Government, interest rates, the most recent election, or something
else. Sometimes, that may be legitimate, but always the
is "What can be done to increase sales, and do it quickly?".
are four ways to do something now to increase your sales performance.
Get Started on Price Pointing
It's been said before - "price is your
most powerful business development tool - ever!" That is not
an invitation to get volume at the expense of profit, but over and over
again we see people who report great gross margin percentages -
but lousy sales. The have sacrificed actual gross
profit dollars by not fighting to get sales, in the mistaken belief
that "matching the market" is not necessary. "We don't have a
price problem" is the usual comment. They do - it just has
not been obvious.
In fact, pricing is quite complex.
If you simply use the manufacturers' recommended retail
price, you have not maximised your sales and gross profit. Do
these four things:
May Be in a Tight Market
and New Zealand, growth rates vary regionally. For
the Australian scenario, refer here to the "Two
extracted from Management Memos October 06. You may be in
southern states and territories where growth is slowing, or perhaps
just your sector is slow in the northern "hot growth" regions.
Zealand, the Treasury estimates (refer to "Half
Year Economic & Fiscal Update 2006" from the New Zealand
growth, rather than vigorous.
In each case, winning strong sales growth for an individual
will require the extra effort described here.
- Check your competitors
the key price points
- Use 'landmark' pricing
up to the market
this looks a bit
hard, the reason is that it is. Get someone to help
you, or contact
The Red Zebra. When your prices are properly
trimmed, you will be amazed at how sales will begin to grow.2.
Review Your Staff Sales Training
Look anywhere, and you'll see it. Bosses saying how
"Xname" is 'really
good with customers'.
You'd hope so, wouldn't you? Otherwise they need to
up in the back room - away from customers until they learn who pays the
wages! But just how significant is being 'good with
customers'? You could probably say that about the local signwriter too,
but then you'd like them to be good at signwriting as well.
So with a salesperson.
If the main job is selling, they need to understand that
skill set and
be good at it. After all, the purpose of the salesperson is
to stimulate someone to transfer money from the prospect standing in
your store, to you. You treat your money very carefully, and
it is hard to get money out of you. So, won't your
salespeople need to know how to go about getting money out of your
sales prospects? Won't they need real sales skills?
Being good with customers is nowhere near cutting it.
When sales "taper off" it's a good
time to re-evaluate the genuine
professional sales skills of your front line people. Then,
remember that sales training is strictly perishable. It needs
to be constantly refreshed. Find a sales trainer,
The Red Zebra.
Focus Your Advertising!
Last month (Increase Your Advertising Effectiveness
we referred to just how much more effective your advertising is when it
is based on a merchandising campaign.
Simply advertising a product or service is nothing more than
institutional brand building. It does not generate sales at
the time. If you want to stimulate sales in the here and now, your
advertising effort needs much more. Your standard approach to
advertising is not good enough. It needs skill and
understanding, creative merchandising campaigns - and a dedicated sales
Keep your ads focussed on the "Buy
Now" imperative of your merchandising campaign. Don't dilute your
advertising. Run just one message - over and over again, as often as
you can afford. Just one offer.
Any more is too many. Don't trust media outlets for
advice - talk to your advertising designer, your ad agency, or contact
The Red Zebra.
Run Your Database!
you realize that your database of previous
customers is like pure gold - if you mine it properly? In
just about every case, there will be at least three times as many sales
prospects there than you have present customers. And you know
they are all users of your goods or services. Of course, it
so much less to resurrect an old customer than it does to generate new
one, so this is a very cost effective way to get more sales. So, why
mine that database to get real sales leads?
Some people do that really well. For others though,
too hard. Databases are notoriously untidy, and need a lot of
work to make run effectively - unless you have made a special effort to
keep your database 'ready for action'.
Don't underestimate the power of personalised
Don't underestimate the task of doing it well. If
you have not done it before, or have had no success, get help.
Run your database to make special,
tailored offers to past customers. It needs a special approach, so get
help, or contact
The Red Zebra.
If you'd like
to find out more about Improving Sales Performance Quickly, talk
to us, or ask us a question here! Remember, there's
charge or obligation, and you get a whole
hour's consultation free. This same offer also applies in New