Concentrate on A-customers
The biggest difference between successful and unsuccessful sellers is their ability to prioritize. The well-known 80/20 rule, which goes back to the social scientist Pareto, states that 20% of your customers generate 80% of your turnover.
Check what kind of customers they are and prioritize this customer group. Hand over the care of smaller customers consistently to the office staff.
Expand your potential
Instead of worrying about new customers, you should rather check which existing customers still have untapped potential. It’s usually easier to win new customers because you already have an edge of trust. So check the following with each major customer:
- How much is your customer currently buying from your competition?
- Why does he buy there?
- How big is the chance that he can or wants to change?
- How can you systematically improve these opportunities in the short and medium term?
Position your services
The more interchangeable your products and services are, the more difficult it is to do profitable business. This rule is so simple and yet so difficult to implement. The biggest problem is that only a few companies dare to choose a clearly defined target group or niche. They prefer to offer a lot of things and make life difficult for themselves, their salespeople and their marketing.
Become better known
Who do your potential customers think of when they need an offer: you or your competition? Only if you are well known and have built a solid reputation can you hope to receive enquiries. These different possibilities contribute to your reputation:
- online marketing
- Customer events etc.
The more clearly you are positioned and the narrower your market is, the easier it is for you to build up awareness with a manageable budget.
Conclude meaningful cooperations
Think about which companies offer products or services that are also useful for your customers. Bundle sales or marketing activities with such vendors. For example, you can place ads in trade journals together or hold customer events. Through cooperation, you achieve greater customer potential and share costs.
Create sales structures
It is becoming increasingly rare for companies to simply let their salespeople “work their way there”. But especially in smaller medium-sized companies there are still many companies that do not have a systematic sales concept and controlling. But simply measuring sales is not enough!
Work out which procedures lead to success and transfer them to the entire sales team. Check whether the requirements are met and support your employees systematically in the implementation.
Orient yourself on clear goals
One – not new – rule is, “Miss it or forget it.” This is definitely true for the sales management. Only if you are always in a position to assess how well your team is on the road to success can you intervene in good time before you miss your sales targets. To do this, however, you need to check a certain range of key figures.
Increase your sales activities
To a certain extent, you can also proceed according to the motto “Much helps much” in sales. If your employees call more potential customers, they will get more appointments, write more offers and make more deals.
However, you need to know exactly which activities lead to sales. If necessary, distribute the tasks in your team differently so that there is more time for sales-relevant activities.
Ask for recommendations
You are wasting opportunities if you do not ensure that your good work is also useful to other customers. Make sure that your salespeople consistently ask for recommendations. You can even do this with customers who have not ultimately decided to work with you. If the contact was good, it’s worth asking: “You didn’t like the offer, but can you think of someone for whom our services might be useful?
In every industry there are opinion leaders, associations, purchasing cooperatives or similar. If you offer your products through these, you reach many customers at once and thus increase sales activities.
Optimize your sales skills
All your efforts will be in vain if your salespeople are not professional with customers, cannot convince and do not close deals. As a leader, you can actively help your team become better at dealing with customers.
Follow requests consistently
Many transactions are lost because sellers do not follow them systematically enough. Ask your employees to agree on a specific whereabouts for each contact with a potential customer and to adhere to this. At the end of the conversation, the salesperson and the customer must know exactly where they stand:
- What steps and tasks have been agreed?
- Who has what to do?
- By when will this be done?
- By whom and when will the next personal or telephone contact take place?
- Sellers who quickly talk to the customer again after submitting an offer increase their chances considerably.
Train your negotiation skills
A lot of turnover and profit is lost because sellers do not negotiate well. For fear of not getting individual deals, they give too large discounts. Many customers only try how far they can go until they have reached the negotiating limit and often go further than they thought.
Before negotiations, set clear price limits and ensure that these are consistently adhered to.
Make a profit
If you only evaluate your customers according to turnover, you run the risk of promoting those businesses that generate little or no profit. In particular, check your biggest customers to see what revenue you are generating. If you cannot determine this value, at least check the contribution margin. Large customers in particular often reduce their income through high price discounts. If necessary, part with customers who are not profitable.
Increase your prices
Use general price increases regularly to adjust your prices as well. Higher raw material or transport costs are good arguments – especially if your competitors also raise prices. An alternative is to improve products. Some new functions or a revised appearance and thus a new type designation allow you to justify a new pricing.
Charge for additional expenses
Particularly in the service sector, a lot of money is lost by not passing on additional expenses, for example for changes. The customers get used to demanding – without bearing the costs. If, however, you inform your customers in good time about the costs arising from additional requirements, they can decide whether they still want to commission the additional services or not. You as a service provider have either less work or more turnover.
You reduce the customer shrinkage
You will always have a certain percentage of customers who cancel or no longer order. As long as you are at least as enthusiastic about doing new business, there is no problem. But often it is easier to get customers to stay than to win new ones. Keep a close eye on when a customer orders less and then contact them. In most cases, you can win him back through a few conversations and increased support.
Eliminate long-term problems from the world
Time, money and customers are lost if you do not eliminate the causes of permanent complaints. Nevertheless, many companies have such seemingly unsolvable problems. Give them the highest priority before you lose good customers.
React consistently and reliably
This is important from the very first customer contact: only promise what you can keep – and absolutely keep what you have promised.
- Deal with complaints immediately.
- Give realistic delivery times.
- Write down everything you promise your customer so that you cannot forget anything.
- The good impression you can make with absolute reliability is priceless.
Motivate your team
Especially when business is not going so well, it is important that your employees are still optimistic and satisfied. Praise them even if the figures are worse than desired due to the economic situation. Stay realistic about your requirements and celebrate small successes. With a good mood, your employees can simply sell better!