Posts Tagged ‘buyer’

A Business Must Pry Loose Consumer Savings

August 4, 2010

by Doug Smith, President, The Woodhaven Group

It has been widely reported that businesses of all sizes have accumulated cash over the last year to reduce debt and have a cash flow cushion going forward.

Someone else is doing the same thing.

The consumer has decided that saving money is a good and needed strategy for themselves and their families.

The US government reported that consumers saved 6.4% of after tax income for the month of July.  This trend in increased savings has been happening now for a few months.  Compare this savings rate to 1%+ prior to the economic chaos that started in 2008.

Why is the consumer deciding to save more at this point in time?  Here are a few reasons as I see them:

  • It is no secret that consumers are trying to reduce any and all debt they have.
  • Uncertainty plays a major role in consumer psychology.  The consumer is telling themselves that caution is the best strategy and that means saving dollars until they can get a better “feel” on the future of the economy.
  • The consumer is becoming wiser.  Part of what got the consumer and the country into economic trouble was spending on unnecessary products and services as well as houses bigger than were needed.  You can add to that a few vacation homes.  Now the consumer is still spending, but it is on more necessities and less on “feel good” items with no lasting value. Some of the remaining dollars is going into savings.

In spite of this new pragmatic approach by the consumer, businesses still have to generate sales.  The consumer has not stopped buying. They are just buying less and being more cautious.  A company needs to capitalize on that mindset.  Here is how to do it:

  1. Know who your target customer is and channel your available marketing dollars at that customer.  As  a business, you do not have the luxury of using a shotgun approach.  That only wastes cash flow.
  2. Know which of your services or products is most desired at this time by your target customer.  Don’t make the mistake of emphasizing secondary products, styles, colors, sizes, or categories in your offering.  Lead with your strength.  Do research to find out what that is if necessary.
  3. The consumer right now appears to only be buying bargains.  So give them a bargain.  Find a way to promote your most wanted items to the target customer at a price point they cannot refuse. Then cross market and up sell to increase the average sale and bump up margin.
  4. Offer the best guarantee or warranty that you possibly can.  The consumer is not very trusting right now.  Let them know that once they finally decide to buy that they can have peace of mind that their purchase will not be a mistake.  Trust and credibility in the seller is currently an important part of the buyers decision-making strategy. 

The consumer has money to spend.  And they will spend it given a good reason to do so.

It is up to the owner or CEO to give the consumer a valid reason to dip into the increase in savings and spend it with your company.

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Add-on Sales: An Easy Way To Increase Sales and Cash Flow

April 22, 2010

by Doug Smith, President, The Woodhaven Group

Would you like fries with that?  We have all been asked that at the drive up window.  If you said yes then you just participated in an add-on sale.

This is one of the easiest and best ways to increase sales and so many businesses do not have a strategy in place to capitalize on this  easy path to more cash flow.

Why isn’t it used more often?  Some sales people and sales managers believe that attempting to add-on may upset the prospect and kill the original sale.

My experience is that rarely occurs.  Why?  You have either just solved a real problem for your prospect or addressed a need, or fulfilled a desire.  Either way the prospect turned buyer now feels good about you, your company and your product or service.

You have persuaded them to cross an important psychological barrier and make a buying decision.  In the buyer’s mind the hard work is completed and the stress of decision-making is over.

Some tips to maximize the potential of add-on sales:

  1. Don’t attempt an add-on sale until you have a commitment on the core product or service the prospect was wanting or needing.
  2. Make sure the add-on directly relates to the product or service you sold them.  Example:  It makes sense to sell tennis balls with a new tennis racket.
  3. An add-on is still a sale so make sure you explain how the customer will benefit from this extra service.
  4. Track what the most successful conversions of add ons are when offered to a customer.  Don ‘t assume you know.  Test different add ons and let the consumer tell you which is most often preferred.
  5. Train the sales staff how and when to offer add ons.  This training should include scripting, role-playing, and recording on video.  When done correctly, an add-on is a natural extension of the existing sale.
  6. Often when executed well an add-on sale will be sold at full price resulting in increased margin.
  7. Add on sales do not always have to be sold at the point of sale.  They can be as a result of a follow-up contact when thanking the customer for making the purchase.  Internet marketers often do this on the thank you page. Some companies sell the add-on at the time of installation or delivery.  An example might be extended warranty or a maintenance contract.  You should be catching the customer at their highest point of satisfaction.   

A properly executed add-on sales strategy delivers added value for your customer.  For your company it can deliver increased sales, more cash flow, lower marketing costs and more profit.

As an owner or senior manager make sure you commit to this important business strategy.

Someone is going to make that add-on sale to your customer.  

Make sure it is your business and not your competitor.