Entrepreneurial Selling

Maximizing Every Sale

Written by Jay Shapiro for Gaebler Ventures

The toughest call for all businesses is finding new customers and keeping them. We all know the value of repeat sales, but how do we fist built the client bank and then keep them happy?

Finding new customers is hard work for most companies.

Once you've found them there is no guarantee that they will come back as repeat customers at some point in the future. It is important therefore to make the most of every sale and these tips should help.

Your local coffee shop, especially if it is one of the national chains, can provide you with a simple look at sales maximization in practice. It starts when the customer is asked what they would like to drink.

  • Is that a medium or large? No mention of small here
  • Cream, marshmallows, flavoured syrup? All incremental to the sales price and there will be different things they offer depending on your drink order
  • Any cakes or pastries with that?
  • Then of course there are all the tempting snacks lined up along the queuing area.
  • A simple coffee order can end up worth three times as much once the sales person has finished with the customer and the customer goes away happy with their purchase.

The moral of this story is that it pays to ask and maybe to assume the customer doesn't want the most basic, entry-level product. It also means that every sales person should be trained to know what to offer with every base product or service and how to do that in a way most likely to be accepted by the customer.

How to implement this:

  • Produce a simple table that shows your core products and the upsell products and optional extras the sales person should be offering.
  • Train all staff to be able to make these offers smoothly and in the most logical way.
  • Then monitor them to make sure they are making those offers, too many sales people are happy to just process the basic sale and move on.

If the price tag on your products is quite high you may have to work on value propositions to be able to show customers why the next product up is actually a better buy. Work on the value that each option brings to the customer rather than the features it may add to the product, people buy to fulfil their own needs.

Some customer will always want the most basic, low cost product you have. Be ready to recognise and accept this, it is better that they leave as happy customers than feel they were badgered into buying more than they wanted. There is a much better chance of repeat business from a happy, well cared for customer.

In a retail environment or on a web site there is a difficult choice to make between having the lowest price on show and promoting the higher value goods that you would rather the customer buy. There is no easy answer to this but many online shops use the 'from xxx' price so that they will show up cheaply in the searches but still be able to promote their higher value goods once prospects arrive at their store.

Jay Shapiro is a freelance writer based in the UK. Jay has a particular interest in the emotive aspects of the entrepreneur's character. "Alongside the nuts and bolts of business, the character of the person is often the ingredient responsible for success."

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