January 30th, 2012 David Finkel (Taxloopholes.com Advisor)
Today is going to be a content rich eletter that goes into 5 specific selling systems you can use to increase your business’s cash flow. I’ll also share several actual case studies of clients in our consulting program who have used various ideas to grow their sales.
My suggestion is that you read through this letter closely and choose one or two selling systems that you think would be most important for you to implement in your business this quarter. Then let the other 3-4 systems go for now.
I’m a big believer that completely implementing one solid idea is worlds better than half doing 3 or 4 ideas.
Here we go…
1. Gateway offers: Every business should have 1 or 2 initial offers that they make to a new client that when accepted lead your new client into the best long term relationship. We call this sculpted initial offer your “Gateway Offer™”.
Your Gateway Offer is the offer that has the highest odds of leading a new client along the most profitable pathway with your company. It’s the first sale that leads to all the other sales.
Most businesses let random chance dictate he first sale. That’s sloppy and bad business.
Instead, over time by properly strategizing and tracking your clients’ behavior, determine which offer you can make that will draw a new client onto the richest purchase offer pathway with your company.
Case Study: Dana Smith, Exalt Resources.
Dana has an HR consulting company that provides comprehensive HR services on an outsourced basis for small and medium sized businesses. Her ideal client lets her handle their payroll, HR compliance, and administer their benefits program. But it’s a tough sell to start there with a new client. Hence Dana has created two Gateway Offers that allow a new business to start working with her at a profit, with a defined upsell process in place to transition many of them into longer term client relationships.
Her two gateway offers are an “HR Risk Audit” that walks a business owner through the liabilities and risks he or she faces with respect to how they are doing their HR function, and an “Employee Handbook Package” that gets business owners an HR compliant manual to help mitigate some of their HR risks.
Both of these Gateway Offers give great value to the new client, are inexpensive, and give Dana’s team a chance to build the relationship with the new client and hence step many of them up into higher value service offerings.
For those of you who are interested, here is a short video with Dana sharing her experiences this past year in the consulting program.
2. Makeup offers: The next time you have a client complaint or a canceled order is a prime chance for your company to make a profit and deepen a client relationship at the same time through the use of a makeup offer.
Here’s how it works. Joe calls in and complains about his order arriving late. In fact, he says he wants to return it. You have a special sales script to handle just these types of calls. “Joe, thank you for telling me about how we messed up. Forgive us for our mistake. I don’t blame you for wanting to cancel your order just to teach us a lesson. If I were you I’d have been even angrier and more upset than you are. May I make it up to you?”
When Joe says yes, offer him some special gift such as a discount or certificate valid toward his next purchase. The key is to try to both close this sale (the most expensive thing that could happen is that Joe cancels and never orders from you again) and put Joe on the path to making his next purchase from you. That’s the power of a makeup offer that has been systematized for your team to use.
3. Reactivation offer: Go back to old clients who haven’t bought in a while to spark them to buy again. This should be a formalized sales system that happens automatically and regularly versus just a haphazard, random decision. Here’s the best part: You’ll typically have three times more success selling to old clients than you will going after new clients. They just need to be asked and given a compelling reason to buy again.
Case Study: Dr. Kimberly Nguyen , Cottage Dental
Dr. Kim as she’s known by her dental patients has built a thriving two site practice in Fullerton California. When she got started in the consulting program , it was clear that one of the fast and easy systems to put into place to increase her practice volume was to create a formalized system whereby her team reached out to past patients who for one reason or another had not come in for a dental visit for 12 months or longer.
As you can imagine, there are people who don’t like thinking about going to the dentist! The system, which Dr. Kim’s team put into place earlier this month, is already showing results.
How can you formally reach out to old clients from your business’s past? It can be as simple as picking up the phone and calling them to see how they are doing and how you can continue to support them and give them value. This is a very powerful and simple technique and will usually generate immediate results in 60-90 days or less.
4. Unconsummated transactions: An unconsummated transaction is any client interaction that started with the client ordering, but then before the transaction closed the process got derailed. It could be a dropped cart from a website order, or a phone order that didn’t go through, or a sales call that got interrupted.
The key is to have a formal process in place, ideally technology driven and automatic, to follow up with that client. For example, you could have your system automatically send an e-mail that says: “I’m writing to apologize that we dropped your Web order earlier today. I want to personally take responsibility for this mistake and make it up to you. Please call my office at 800-555-1212 and not only will I see to it that you get 10 percent off your order, but I have instructed my staff to have a special gift waiting to send to you. This is my way of letting you know how much I personally value you as a client.”
5. Referral systems: Does your company have a formalized process to encourage satisfied clients to refer you more business? Does it have more than one? If your answer is no to either of these questions then you have a real opportunity to increase your sales.
Start off by looking at where your current referrals come from. Is there a way to super-size and formalize what your business is already doing? Look at other businesses, especially outside your industry. Is there any way you can apply and layer in their referral systems to increase your sales volume?
I’ll share an easy example that happened on a call I was on with Marge and Brian Thompson, who own a very successful precision contract parts manufacturing business called L.H. Thompson Co.
They’ve been consulting clients now for about 2 years. In their bi-weekly one-to-one coaching session a while back they shared a compliment about the value they were getting from the consulting program. In our business, we have a simple yet formalized referral system in place called the “The Referral Question.” Here’s how it works…
Anytime a client gives your business a compliment or says how much value they got from working with you, that should trigger your team member to ask the one memorized (and written) referral question you have. In our case the question is, “Thank you for that great compliment Brian. May I ask, who are 2 or 3 other business owners you know who you think would really benefit from working together just like your business has?” Then keep quiet and let them share 2 or 3 referrals.
This is both a simple and professional way to ask for referrals. Try it in your business. (By the way, Brian and Marge were kind enough to share two referrals with us. They had a third but he was a direct competitor but they didn’t think giving me that referral would be a good idea for them. Who could blame them!)
So there you have 5 specific, concrete systems you can immediately implement to increase your sales and your cash flow.
Remember, I suggest that you choose one or two selling systems that you think would be most important for you to implement in your business this quarter. Then let the other 3-4 systems go for now.
Have a great week!