Is your business struggling? Sales figures dwindling? If you’re feeling frustrated then maybe it’s time to get back to basics – making small changes and facing your customers with a fresh pair of eyes can make all the difference:
1. Be flexible.
It’s tough out there. The market is increasingly more competitive and saturated. The way we do business and the ways we reach our customers are changing rapidly: multimedia, social media, Apps and more. These changes are coming at an exponential rate too, so it’s important to keep up with the trends and be flexible. What are your competitors doing? What ideas can you use and adapt to suit your business? The sales and marketing strategies you used last year or the year before may be suddenly out-dated, so be ready to embrace changes and go with the flow.
“You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf”
2. It’s not about you!
Get back to basics and remember to focus on the customer! It’s about what they want that’s important.
- Find out what your customer needs and know how you can help them. Always match your product or service to their requirements.
- Remember to always communicate with your customers and ask questions:
“Is that what you wanted?” “Does this solve the problem?” Listen to them and be human! Empathise! Let them know that you’re listening by telling them that you understand. You can deliver the solution they need – explain how! But remember to never over-promise – if you can’t do something be honest about it from the start – your customer will be happy that you haven’t wasted their time.
- Keep your promises and deliver on time. If you do run into difficulties then communication is the key. You’ve got to let your customers know with as much notice as possible.
- Be honest and be ethical – build long term trust with your customers and they’ll come back again and again.
3. Planning and Preparation
Do your research and understand the market. Know what your potential customers want and know their interests. Know where your business fits in, and know what your competitors are up to. What makes you unique? What makes you better? Size isn’t important – it’s entirely about trust and delivering your products & services as promised. Your larger business competitors may have more wide-ranging products but they may not be as flexible as you. For potential customers to trust you you’re going to need to know your stuff; it will put them at ease if you’re really knowledgeable about a solution to their problem. Also it won’t feel like ‘selling’ or ‘negotiating’ if all you’re doing is educating your customer about your business and what you do.
4. Love it!
This is your business-baby – take yourself back to when you first cradled that business idea and were really excited about it. Bring that excitement back and you will generate enthusiasm in everyone around you. If you really love your business it will shine through – enthusiasm is infectious. Your staff and your customers will have more faith in you and your business.
If you have a sales team then always be open and communicate with them – encourage them to love the business too. Always remind them what makes the business special and give them good ethics to work to. Nothing kills sales morale more than having no confidence, trust or belief in the business. If your staff know that they can deliver promises with integrity, and that the business systems won’t fail them, you’ll have a much happier team. Read our tips on leadership and how to be a great manager.
5. Develop Yourself
Only by investing in yourself and your professional development will you be able to keep up with the demands of an ever changing business landscape, so remember to take time out for you.
- Self-help books and autobiographies are really helpful – it’s so important to learn how the most successful people managed to succeed, and also to learn about the mistakes they made and how they overcame them. Read our article: ‘5 Secrets of Successful Entrepreneurs’ to get you started.
- Take courses, have business coaching, follow business blogs online. This way you’ll always be in the know!
- Your energy is used up every day doing what you do best – and that’s running your business. Don’t get bogged down or distracted by tasks that you struggle with – GET HELP! Delegate tasks and hire staff if you’re able to – administrators, accountants – it may seem like an expense but it will pay off in the long run.
6. Modesty and Integrity
We do want you to shout your business successes to the rooftops: how else will your potential customers know how brilliant your business is?? We want you to be knowledgeable, skilled, confident, planned & prepared, but not cocky. There will always be a competitor out there that is better prepared, more knowledgeable and skilled than you – remember this and you will always strive to be your best and keep up, and not be complacent. Remember to be modest and talk about tangible successes, and not brag needlessly – this is the way to earn respect from colleagues, competitors and customers alike.
We want to hear your business stories. Did you ever have to make basic changes to increase sales? Share your successes and failures with us – for the greater good!!