That title doesn’t tell you much about what this article will be about, but undoubtably many of you are looking for ways to improve: sales, customer relations, and similar aspects of your business that seem to be lagging behind what you perceive should be the normal.
Is business slow for everyone right now?
No and never ask that in the face of bad numbers because it sets you up to confirm the worst rather than fix what isn’t working. Somewhere somebody is doing better business than you are and it’s just a matter of what they are doing differently.
Doesn’t it matter which aspect of my business is lagging behind?
Not really. The interdependent nature of your business is like a woven object, if you lift or depress from any side the other sides will pitch accordingly and eventually everything will suffer.
An example, A company with an annual revenue of let’s say 200,000 dollars for 5 years notices a 2% drop in marketing revenue but disregards it because of a 2% increase in volume. While this may seem insignificant on it’s face many things might be happening to cause those fluctuations, and if it remains a trend what will happen is a cap on the volume increase. With no limit to the drop in the marketing revenue this might spell disaster.
Why is this possible?
If you had 200 customers last month and sold them all something (let’s say for $20.00) that was normal, if the next month you had 180 and sold them all just a bit more, ($25.00) that was a small sign of decrease in customers being reached. If this process continues you’ll end up eventually with only 20 customers who can’t possibly make up for the lack in extra customers with more sales.
What if this isn’t related to my problem?
Then you need to look at your problem through a similar set of criteria to begin to solve the actual problem. Perhaps you have an average number of sales per month but haven’t really looked very closely at where they are coming from. This is dangerous because you’ll never be able to predict the trends that are deciding your company’s fate.
Even if I only am selling _______?
Let’s say you are on a beach somewhere selling sunscreen, you only sell one or two bottles a day. I can’t imagine a much smaller business model so bear with me.
You can undoubtably account for seasonal differences in your customer volume, because off season you know not to bother to show up except maybe on weekends.
Chances are there are points along your route that have made you more sales than you might have noticed. In fact there is a pretty good chance that the majority of your sales were closer to the parking lots than knee deep in the ocean.
Now to increase your likelihood of selling more in this model you only need to stand closer to the parking lot more often.
At least that would be a logical first step.
Businesses strategies online are different though aren’t they?
Not at all. Where you are most likely to find your customers or clients doen’t change as much as your likelihood to be in that same place. In fact many pinterest users who sell products through etsy and similar venues have noted that you might forget to keep doing pinterest even though it accounts for a portion of your sales that only looks significant once it is missing.
But I am selling something different, and it seems like nobody is buying.
Look over your past numbers if you ever had success with your product or service. Note the times you were engaged in active selling versus passive selling. Were people talking about related products? Were you recommending your product as a specific solution?
Even through social media high volume sales are possible, in spite of what people say. The trick is to know your customer better than you know your product. When would you be open to a suggestion about what to try?
At one point I sold a few copies of this book just by explaining that scenario. It’s only 13 pages long but entails how to make serious use out of your social media.
So how am I trying to redirect my business focus?
Focusing on what you are doing differently than someone else in your niche is an excellent place to start provided you know they are succeeding. In marketing look at where to direct the majority of your attention and change the language to reflect the thinking your customers are using when they are open to trying something new.
Example, “I forgot my sunscreen and it’s 80 degrees, thankfully slipperyfrog saved my weekend. The individual packets of spf 2000 were non irritating and lasted for hours without reapplying. #SlipperyfrogRocks”
In the above example a non descript ad that would look silly in normal conversation. However if this same silly ad were directed at a beach event, where such things have probably actually just happened, it would possibly grab mentions and even sales.
So go where the customers are?
That is exactly where much of your business should be focused. You’ll know better than I will how you can implement this thinking. Selling books is different than selling services, selling sunscreen is different than either one. But the common understanding to be garnered from all of this is nobody is getting anything done knee deep in the ocean.
Except maybe catching dinner.
Thanks for reading this!