SAN FRANCISCO — Invariably, the most common question asked of me is: “How do I increase sales?”
This question is posed by those who are increasing sales at an enviable rate, as well as owners who are just maintaining last year’s figures at a flat trend, and companies that are losing volume from a distant past sales peak.
This column focuses on the easiest way to add profitable sales, which is to train your entire team to provide timely information about your services to your existing customers so they spend more money with you.
“It costs 10 times as much to acquire a new customer than it takes to upsell a current one,” notes an Aug. 18, 2014, Forbes.com article on customer-centric marketing lessons.
Many companies have proven the value of selling more to their existing customers by letting them know what the company can provide to make patrons’ lives easier.
The easiest way to get your team to sell is to train them to ask each and every customer a leading question. This is a proven strategy to grow sales
When a member of drycleaning business consultancy Methods for Management (MfM) Inc. implemented its “Timely Questions” program, sales immediately increased by more than 18%.
A key factor was to provide a physical reminder to the CSRs in the form of rotating laminated questions attached to the register with Velcro®.
Following is an example of a calendar of timely questions to ask every customer. (Be sure your list is adjusted for seasonality in your market. Always provide alternative services questions to ask the customers who already use the primary service being highlighted at the time.)
Here is MfM’s Topical Timely Questions for CSRs to ask Customers and Prospects© (Ask your clients at least one of these questions per visit – every customer):
- Did you know we will meet you at your car with your cleaning? (Call or text when you are on your way.)
- Did you know we clean stuffed toys?
- Do you have ski/snowboarding gear that needs cleaning?
- Did you know we clean pet beds and gear?
- Do you have any area rugs to clean?
- Did you know we clean car mats?
- Do you need any alterations on your summer wardrobe?
- Are your cottons and linens ready for spring?
- Did you know we can make your pillow like-new?
- Would you like to transfer your family laundry chore to us?
- Are your sports uniforms ready for the season?
- Did you know we can care for your delicate lingerie?
- Is your yoga gear in need of attention?
- Did you know we can extend the life of your swimsuit?
- Does your running gear need attention?
- Do your kids need pants/uniforms/skirts hemmed for school?
- Are your sweaters/jackets/leathers clean for the cooler weather?
- Did you know we can clean your patio cushions for storage?
- Have you had your comforters cleaned for the upcoming chilly nights?
- Do you need any of your garments altered by our tailor?
- Are your Uggs ready for winter?
- Are your table linens ready for the holidays?
- Are your party clothes ready for the celebrations?
- Does your Santa suit need cleaning?
A successful anytime default question: Do you need any repairs or alterations done?
For seasonal cleaning, ask before the season begins if the items are ready for the upcoming season; after the season, ask if they are ready for storing.
Train your staff to ask key questions that educate your customers. Your team will become a true sales force!
To read Part 1, go HERE.