I took a trip this Labor Day Weekend up Northern California to discuss marketing strategy with a client and help them be the most remarkable among their target market and also a little R&R with the family to see the beautiful Bay Area. As I drove up the 5 Freeway both going north and coming back, there are hundreds of miles of nothing and every so often there is a group of business all fighting for the same travelers who want to stretch their legs and grab a bite. I noticed plenty of businesses with big signs and plenty of traffic and I am sure are booming.
These business areas rely on impulse or gut customers who have split seconds to decide which option to choose from. There were also businesses that had huge signs that were practically empty.
During our trip to SF we visited Chinatown as requested by my eldest son. There were lots of food options and lots of them packed and bursting at the seams with long wait times. And so we had to move from one to another to find one that could accommodate our large group. And I finally found this Chinese restaurant that had delicious options and the most amazing service I have ever experienced in a Chinese restaurant.
I was with relatives and friends who were local so they discovered a new place to eat and this restaurant gained new repeat customers who found them by accident. But unfortunately their presence was not good as they did not stand out from the others lined up and down the street where people were waiting 30-45 minutes 10-15 feet away.
So it made me think about sales and what to do if your sales are falling? Customers are out there but they simply are not coming to you or noticing you.When you notice that your sales are lower than what you feel they should be, you will need to act fast. However, the common reaction is that your business may not be getting enough traffic to your location or to your website.
While that may be true, there are other things to observe prior to spending more financial resources on traffic. In fact, you’ll benefit most from looking at some fundamentals before you consider attracting new customers to your business. One of the most commonly overlooked fundamentals is the location’s conversion rate.
The conversion rate is important because it tells you exactly how many of the prospects and visitors that are converted into paying customers. If you don’t know what this number is then your first action point is to implement a suitable tracking system. Without tracking your results, you won’t know what to do when you see indicators such as falling sales, decreasing profits or steep declines in prospect levels.
If you notice that the conversion rate is falling in concert with the decline in sales, then you have found your culprit. However, the action that you need to take, will have nothing to do with attaining more traffic. You will need to work on your sales process.
You want to find out what is happening on an everyday basis, to cause your company to have less sales than in the past. Do you have an employee that is less productive than they have been in the past? Is there something happening at a particular time of day that causes your buying customers not to come to your location? Is there something happening on your website, that is driving people away? All of these are possible scenarios that would cause your conversion rate to fall. Your job as a business owner, is to act as a detective and find out what the cause of the declining conversion rate is.
Once you’ve narrowed down the problem, it will be time for re-training in basic sales principles. You want your store employees, not only to avoid the mistakes that caused the decline in sales revenue, but you’ll also want them to be on the lookout for opportunities to generate more income.
This may mean that you’ll need to consider some kind of incentive for your employees to go above and beyond their normal responsibilities. If your sales are flat or declining, make sure to ask your employees what the company can do to generate more sales?
Typically if you’re having a motivation problem, your employees will take the opportunity to let you know at that time. Upon asking them the question; they choose not to answer you probably have a different problem. It’s likely that your current staff may be indifferent about looking for sales opportunities.
This will definitely require you to be creative in putting the right systems in place to give them motivation to sell more. Consider using a system that allows for front line employees to benefit when the store experiences increased sales activity.
So starting today, audit your business presence and stand out to attract business to you and then convert those customers, once you have converted them, provide them with remarkable service and products which will gain you loyal customers for life. Make sure all your team members are on the same page and train, incentive or motivate them to represent your business remarkably.