The election is over. The holidays approach… and the new year is just around the corner.
Let’s talk about your plan to grow sales in 2017.
Do you have one? How much time have you spent thinking about how you’ll grow your revenue next year?
Because here’s the thing about revenue growth: It’s a proactive pursuit. We must make time for it. Sales might grow if we go through our days and weeks reactively, from one incoming customer inquiry to another. But we can’t plan for this kind of growth. If the right customers call, we might grow. If the wrong inquiries come in, we won’t.
The only logical, strategic, repeatable way to grow is to be proactive and purposeful about your business. So here are four specific actions you can implement to grow your business in 2017. Which ones will you do?
In general, pick up the phone. Call instead of email. Call instead of text. We don’t like to use the phone because we do everything we can to avoid rejection, and rejection on the phone is intimate. It goes into your ear. We’d rather not call, and not know, than call and risk rejection. Want to stand out? Pick up the phone. Default to the phone.
I have to say, it’s somewhat embarrassing how much I get paid to tell people to use the phone. But what do you think happens when we implement systems that double or triple your phone hours each week? Sales have no choice but to go up!
Specifically, make the follow-up phone call: Tom, it’s Alex. How are you? How’s it going with that thing we talked about (or that quote I sent)?
Just like that.
When we follow up, we show people that we’re interested, that we care. We aren’t bothering them, imposing on them, or taking their time. Do you think people get a lot of follow-up phone calls during their day? Do you? Exactly.
Most people don’t get follow-up calls because most salespeople don’t like following up.
Ask for referrals: Tom, who do you know like yourself who would enjoy working with me the way you have?
Then let Tom answer. Be quiet and listen. Blink if you have to. Sing a song in your head if you must. But don’t talk first. Tom wasn’t thinking about your referral for hours the way you’ve been thinking about asking him for it. So let Tom think and come up with a referral for you.
One note here: People love giving referrals, because it makes them look good. To the person they’re referring and to you. So, if your customers would love to give us referrals, then why don’t we ask them for them? Because they would if we would.
We don’t ask because of fear. It overwhelms us. What if they don’t give us one? What if they don’t like us as much as we think? What if I make them uncomfortable? What if I lose the customer!
It doesn’t work that way. People want to help their friends and colleagues and you’re of tremendous value to them. Of course they’d refer you, if only you’d asked. So ask!
Write handwritten notes: Not thank you notes, but personal notes. Thank you notes are easy. But personal notes, which mention something you’ve recently talked about or experienced with the customer or prospect, are truly rare.
I hear from nearly every single person who gets a handwritten note from me about how grateful and appreciative they are. Why? Because people don’t get handwritten notes any more.
Ask the “did you know?” question: Your customer only knows about 20% of the services you offer. Isn’t that tragic? They need much of what you can do for them. In fact, they probably buy it from your competition. And both you and the customer know they’d be better off if they bought from you.
So ask them, “Did you know we also do x?” Ask them. Even if you’ve asked them before, ask again. Just because we’ve told customers we do something doesn’t mean they know!
Now look over this list of techniques to grow your sales. Does it cost a lot of money to execute these techniques? No. It costs no money. Does it take a lot of time? No. It takes mere moments to make each of these communications.
Revenue growth is easy: The more people hear from you, the more they buy from you. Here are five ways for your customers and prospects to hear from you. Which of these actions will you take now, today, and in the new year?
MAKE SURE THEY OPEN YOUR NOTE
Alex’s suggestion for a handwritten note is a terrific idea; one that’s sure to catch a lot of people’s attention. But, if you want to made sure they open your note, there are a couple additional things to remember.
To begin with, address the envelope by hand. Don’t run it through a computer printer and no labels. Write the address and the return address neatly by hand.
Then use a real stamp on the envelope; preferably a nice over-sized, commemorative stamp. No indicias and no postage registers.
It’s amazing how many people sort their mail based on the envelope. Envelopes sporting indicias or postage registers often end up in the trash, without ever being opened. Same with mailing labels or computer printed addresses.
So, if you want even more people to read ― and appreciate ― your handwritten notes, address the envelopes by hand and use stamps.
Alex Goldfayn runs The Revenue Growth Consultancy, which helps companies and sales departments grow revenue quickly and easily by implementing a system of simple communications techniques. To discuss growing your business in this way, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Alex at 847-459-6322. His latest book, The Revenue Growth Habit, was named the 2015 Sales Book of the Year by 800-CEO-Read. Buy it at Amazon.com.