How can you increase your sales during difficult times? If someone predicted what 2020 would involve, we’d never have believed them. Yet after only a few weeks of slightly relaxed restrictions we find ourselves in lockdown number two.
Despite this, I strongly believe that whatever industry that you are in, and however your business has been affected by Covid, there are things you can do to reduce the impact of these uncertain times.
Firstly, the obvious solutions being that you can diversify your offering and provide a virtual version of your services. You could start running courses, changing from a 1-to-1 offering to a more profitable 1-to-many offering. You could even create a downloadable course as a form of passive income.
But in this post, I’m focusing on how you can build stronger relationships with your customers and increase your sales. And that’s because sales is intrinsically linked to customer services.
Why are strong client relationships important?
What is really the difference between customer services and sales?
Many large telecom companies call their customer services department ‘client retention’. Essentially it’s a department focused on increasing the likelihood of you staying with them.
Build a deeper relationship with your clients and ultimately you will be closer to them and create longer term relationships. This comes in the form of repeat business and referrals from those customers. Happy customers become a revenue stream of their own. And that’s without the cost of advertising, cost of sales and the time associated with taking on new clients.
“People will always remember how you made them feel”
Whilst I’m sure Maya Angelou didn’t have business in mind when she said the above quote, it’s something that’s very relevant to selling. How would you feel if a supplier only contacted you over lockdown to try and sell to you? I have actually experienced this and not only did they present me with a service of theirs but one that was not applicable to my business. I was not impressed.
Difficult times are a unique window for you to differentiate yourself with your clients and prospects by building a stronger relationship with them. Regardless of whether or not you do end up working with them, you’ll be remembered for the way you kept a dialogue going.
It can feel a little daunting if speaking to people fills you with nerves and you prefer to communicate by email. Your clients may be a different age, have different interests and may even be in a different country. No matter. These times are challenging for all of us in some shape or form. For instance, I don’t have children to home-school, but my husband and I have elderly parents with varying health issues – and that’s a constant worry for us. Tap into the humanity we share, and you’ll find a common thread on which you can build a relationship.
Pick up the phone
It’s so easy to ping someone an email. But call someone instead and you’ll make a bigger impact – especially if you have a service-based business. So instead of sending emails to check in, give your customers a call. If they can’t speak there and then, just book in a call for a general catch-up. Few people are in business just for the money… connecting on a deeper level is better for our clients and more enjoyable for us as business owners.
Follow up on your enquiries
This sounds so simple, but you’d be amazed at the number of people who don’t follow up on their enquiries, which can help you to increase your sales!
Here’s a real-life example. I wanted to get my garden landscaped and so asked four landscapers to quote for the work.
One didn’t respond and two came back to me with a standard price on an email. But the other called me to arrange a visit so they could better understand my needs.
It turns out that they all quoted a similar price. So who did I choose?
No surprises – I chose the landscaper who visited me. His visit gave me more confidence in his approach and gave me an opportunity to ask questions. He built a rapport with me and a made a fuss about my cats. (Anyone that likes cats is a big tick in my world.) Joking aside, he was also able to reassure me that the work comes with a warranty and tell me that he offers other services (which I end up agreeing to – cleaning my patio and drive). He also partners with a garden designer who can help me choose my plants and teach me how to care for them.
The other two landscapers didn’t even follow up to ask if I had questions about their quotes.
The thing to remember in all this, is that following up on a quote isn’t just about securing a piece of work. It’s also about the impression you give and a chance to be recommended to others. I live in a new build, and several of my neighbours have booked the same landscaper as a result of my recommendation. It’s a goldmine of potential to any landscape gardener!
You attract what you radiate
Positivity is an attractive trait. Along with gratitude and compassion, positivity creates a good energy that others can feel. And if you radiate positivity, you’ll get positivity back. Not convinced? Read more about the principles of attracting good energy here.
Stay genuine to you and the things you like to do and you’ll emit positivity in abundance. Did you used to meet clients for coffee once a week? You can still do that on Zoom! Did you post social media updates about positive results your clients have seen? Keep at it. People will see your positivity and feel attracted to it. I’ve kept up the things I used to enjoy doing before lockdown such as my Friday G&Ts with clients over Zoom. Not quite the same as meeting in a pub, but something that puts a little more fun into my week and that of my clients.
Want to know more about building relationships with your clients and how to increase your sales? I can help! Book a free discovery call to see how I can help you grow your business.