This appeared in print as part of the story “Best Laid Plans” In 2007, the City of Columbia’s visioning document suggested that council...
Selling is a risky affair. What if people don’t buy from you? What if they don’t like what they buy? What if the costs of doing business outpace the revenue coming in?
I can’t alleviate all your worries, but I can give you three strategies to take some of the risk out of selling.
At the end of the day or the end of a trade show, reach out to just one more prospect. When it is quitting time, try one more phone call, send one more email or knock on one more door. Do that every day and you’re contacting 20 additional prospects per month.
Whatever the closing ratios are in your business, and whatever the average lifetime value is for your business, 20 more prospects a month can generate a good return. One big risk in sales is running out of potential clients and seeing your resources dry out. By making one more attempt every day, you are buying some insurance against that risk.
It costs more to get a new customer than to make an existing customer happy. Giving great customer service also decreases your costs of fixing errors and makes reputation management a lot easier.
Taking great care of customers increases their lifetime value to you and means they will refer you to others — and referrals are always the best way to find new customers. Another big risk in sales is customer churn, or the rate at which old customers leave you. If you can’t bring in new customers fast enough to replace the ones leaving, you have a big problem. Making sure your customer service is top-notch removes much of the risk of an upside-down churn ratio and gives you a steady stream of referrals and new business.
Social media is a great way to be found and a great way for current, happy customers to interact with you. People who might be interested in your product or service are all over their social networks. If they find your profile and like what they see, you have a huge advantage over your competition. A favorable comment from a current customer in your social media is every bit as good as a personal referral.
If your social media activities are up to speed, you will be getting new customers that you might not have been able to identify or to approach. Social media will keep people coming into your pipeline, and it provides a great way for happy customers to express appreciation. Social media is a passive source of new prospects: a very nice way to reduce the risk of a shrinking prospect pool.
Selling does not have to be as risky as it seems. If you work on these three risk minimizers, you will see sales grow. So focus on reaching out to one more prospect, giving great customer service and keeping up social media accounts for your business.
Selling is not for the weak or the frightened, but you can reduce your risks — and take some of the anxiety out of your sales program.