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Increase Revenue in Your Small Business…Then Don’t Focus on Sales

Kelli Hoskins, Master Business Coach

Small business owners focus getting on new customers and making new sales but leave money on the table with their existing customer base.

If your business goal is to increase revenue, I’m guessing the number one thing you are focusing on is how to get more customers or how to get more sales.  This may or may not be the right revenue generating strategy for your business.  Instead, you can make money faster with less effort if you focus on increasing your Average Dollar Sale.

If you have customers already buying from you, whether they are new customers or repeat customers, it makes sense that your sales people focus not just on getting the sale; they focus on maximizing the money they make from each sale.

I am not a believer in sales people who focus only on pushing product.  I believe that it’s a sales person’s responsibility to solve problems for their customers and to find all the different ways they can add value to their customers through the products and services your small business provides.  How many times have you learned that your customers have purchased something that you sell from somebody else because… ‘I didn’t know you did/sold that’?  Advising your customers of your full product and service range is not the responsibility of your outside sales people, it applies to your inside sales people and customer service representatives as well  – probably even more so as they have the most frequent interaction with your customers after the initial sale is made.

There are many ways you can go about increasing the Average Dollar Sale for your business, however for the purpose of this post, I’m going to focus on the top one and two.

First, you must systematically and consistently work to improve your relationship with your customers.  Now I don’t mean the clichéd version – and you’ll know if you’re thinking this way because your immediate response will be ‘We already do that’.  I mean really getting to know your customers on a much deeper level.  And you’ll know if you’re doing this, which is the second priority… ask lots and lots of questions.  Ask questions every time you interact with your customers, even if they are just calling to place or repeat an order, and ask questions about every aspect of their business and their life.

Showing your customers you care by demonstrating a genuine interest in them, their business, their goals, their future, their concerns or their challenges will help you to accomplish two things.   1) Understand what is important to them; and 2) discover a problem or a need that you can help them to resolve.

Don’t just stop here, because asking questions is a skill.  One of the greatest mentors, teachers and authors on the subject of the skill of asking questions is Allan Pease, and one of the best books I have read on this subject by Allan Pease is ‘Questions are the Answers’.

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