Resell, Upsell and Cross-Sell – Little words that bring in big money

One of the fastest ways to make more sales is to get your existing customer base spending more with you. Having already seen the value and results in doing business with you, your existing customers are not only easier to convert, but also don’t require you to outlay any money in order to reach them.

So how do you keep your customers coming back and spending again and again? By finding ways to resell, upsell and cross-sell your products and services.

Resell – Keep them coming back

Build in a repeat purchase of your product or service so you can continue to resell to your customers. This means finding a genuine, ethical way of getting your customer to purchase your products and services repeatedly, not altering the quality of your products or services so people have to purchase them more often. There must be value for them as well as you.

It doesn’t even need to be the entire purchase again, it could be a specific part or component, a smaller condensed version like a refresher course, for example, or an ongoing maintenance program depending on what is relevant.

Upsell – Increase the amount they spend

The easiest way to upsell clients is to get to know them. Ask questions, find out their needs, their frustrations and what they want to achieve. By doing so, you will have a greater understanding of why they are buying and be able to suggest products and packages that have more inclusions to benefit your customers as well as make it more profitable for you.

If you’re not sure about how to approach your existing customers, you could say something along the lines of “Having worked with you for [x] amount of time now, and knowing you and your business well, I believe [x product or service] may suit your needs better. While it will be a slightly larger investment, I believe it will give you better results/make your life easier/help you achieve your outcome quicker/insert other benefit.”

Cross-Sell – Get them buying more with each purchase

Cross-selling is the official marketing term for “would you like fries with that”. The aim is to get your customers buying related products or services in order to make their buying experience with you all the more enjoyable, beneficial and profitable.

For example, if you owned a furniture store and a customer wanted to buy a bed, then you would want to cross-sell a matching tall boy, blanket box, mirror and bedside tables, in order to sell the whole bedroom suite as opposed to just one product.

If you sell online and don’t do it already, you may want to have a heading with “you may also like” or “customers also bought” and include related products or services under each product or service you feature on your website as a way to cross-sell to your customers.

So before you go out and spend a large amount on bringing in new business, look at how you could resell, upsell or cross-sell your existing customers.

Amanda


How to avoid burnout and burning clients in busy times

When you’re working late nights and early mornings, constantly pushing yourself to work harder, increase your clients, grow your business and meet deadlines, you can end up tired, stressed, overwhelmed, late with your work and can even lose the passion you had for your business to begin with.

So how do you maintain your health and sanity and your clients happiness during busy times? Here are six tips to help you avoid burnout and burning clients.

1. Take regular breaks

When you’re extremely busy taking a break can be the last thing on your mind. Not wanting to lose your place or momentum, you can think “I’m too busy to have a break”. But breaks are even more vital when you’re under pressure.

Even just sparing 5-10 minutes every 60-90 minutes to stretch or go for a walk, can help to clear your head and give you greater perspective, minimise your stress and the potential for burnout and make you more productive and efficient. 

2. Break up your work

Break up your high concentration work with low concentration work and tasks that you enjoy. This simple change can often be as good as a break and you can give your mind the rest it needs to keep working at your peak – without utter exhaustion.

For the best results start the low concentration work or enjoyable tasks just before or just after your break as this will give your mind more of a break.

3. Accept a little imperfection

If you’re a perfectionist, you can often end up adding to your stress by taking up more of your limited time trying to ‘perfect’ your work. Though for your sanity and schedule you do have to let go of your perfectionist ways. Don’t get me wrong, still take pride in your work and ensure it is of the highest quality, it just doesn’t need to be ‘perfect’ all of the time. 

4. Delegate and Outsource

As one person you can only do a limited amount, especially when you are juggling multiple roles within your business. To grow easily and efficiently and save yourself time and stress look for tasks you can outsource.

Build a trusted team of people you can delegate tasks to when you need to. Whether they are employees, contractors, alliances or businesses experts you’ve engaged, utilise their strengths and expertise for areas in your business that you don’t enjoy and aren’t strong in. When you have the right team in place you’ll gain more time and have faster growth and less stress.

5. Know how much work you can handle

One of the easiest ways to avoid burnout is to know how much work you can handle or comfortably outsource, and say “no” or “not yet” to the rest. While it can be tempting to say yes to every client and every opportunity you can run out of time, stress yourself out and risk not meet deadlines or giving poor service which reflects badly on your professionalism.

If you are a serviced based business try booking your work in advance so you don’t have to say no to opportunities. Just explain that you’re booked out for the next week/fortnight/month and give them the option to book your services on the next available date.

5. Build a life outside of work

It’s important to have a life outside of your work and the every day routine. Often when you’re passionate about your business and love what you do, you can view work as an outlet and it can become something you keep going back to in the spare moments you have.

But it’s important to remember that you need time for yourself in addition to time with friends and family, to have fun and enjoy life. Not only will you feel better for it, you will also be more relaxed and work more effectively. 

How do you avoid burnout?

Amanda


How to get testimonials that convert sales

You saying you’re great is one thing, but a customer saying you’re great? That can really help to get sales over the line.

Testimonials and case studies can be incredibly powerful. Not only do they give your potential customers an example of how you could help them, the customer giving the testimonial is doing the sales pitch for you, and chances are what they loved about you will be what potential customers are looking for.

So how do you get more testimonials and make the most out of the testimonials your customers give you? Here are four tips to help you get testimonials that will convert sales for you.

1. Request testimonials after you have delivered value

The best time to ask for a testimonial is after you have given your customer value. It could be saving them money, reducing their expenses or stress, or making their life easier. Don’t make the mistake of asking them just after they’ve signed up, not only will you face more resistance, the testimonial you receive won’t be as specific or powerful.

2. Ask for testimonials in person or over the phone

When asking for a testimonial, always ask in person or over the phone. People are more likely to say yes to giving a testimonial when you have spoken to them, they also tend to send it through quicker.

3. Know what you want from a testimonial and be prepared to give prompts

To make testimonials work in your favour, you need them to answer all of the regular objections a potential customer may have with your business and industry. To do this well, you normally need to provide the customer you’ve requested a testimonial from with a guide of what you want.

It could be as simple as sending them a quick email thanking them for agreeing to do a testimonial and including a sentence like “what we are mainly looking for in a testimonial is how you enjoyed working with us. This could include the level of service, ease of contact, the quality of our work and what you thought of the finished product (plus any other specifics you want to include).”

4. Encourage customers to publish testimonials on a social platform

Once they have agreed to give you a testimonial ask if they would mind giving it to you on a platform like LinkedIn, Google +, Facebook, Twitter or a review site where others will see it.

It’s one thing seeing a testimonial on a website, but seeing a testimonial given by a real person publicly? That adds a whole new level of reality and credibility, especially when you know the person giving it.

Plus with many review sites and LinkedIn requiring testimonials to be uploaded by the person who is giving them, it allows you to increase the number of testimonials you have on these platforms. It also, still gives the you the ability to copy and paste them into your other promotional material easily.

Amanda


Eight tips to generate more repeat customers

Repeat customer sales are the cheapest and easiest business you will ever generate, so it makes sense that more of your time should be spent nurturing and leveraging your existing customer relationships than bringing in new business.

But how do you keep customers coming back and buying again and again? Here are eight tips to help you turn those once off buyers into loyal, profitable, repeat customers.

1. Develop products or services that have a repeat buy

One of the most important factors in getting repeat business is to have products and services that can be bought repeatedly or added onto. Being able to upsell, upgrade, add on or repeatedly sell products or services to your current customers will help you develop a constant stream of income without a large marketing outlay.

2. Get your customers details

It sounds obvious doesn’t it, though you’d be surprised at how many businesses don’t capture the contact details of the customers that buy from them. But the trouble is if you don’t who your customers are how can you market to them and stay in touch?

If you’re wondering how to capture their details, offer an opt-in registration for a free report/checklist/cheat sheet or newsletter on your website, give them free gift or gift certificate for filling in a contact form, include contact details on feedback forms and surveys and/or hold a competition.

3. Send “you’re due” reminders

Keep track of when customers are due for your product or services whether it is a refill, check-up, follow up or replacement.

Think of dentists and chiropractors who let you know when you are due for an appointment, or mechanics and pest specialists who put stickers on your car or cupboards with when you are due for your next service or pest check-up. Think about how you could implement reminders to help prompt your customers to buy again.

4. Create a customer loyalty reward program

Reward your loyal customers with a bonus or free product or service once they have bought a certain number of products or services from you or spent a certain amount of money (think “buy 10 and get the 11th free, a VIP discount or a gift certificate after a spend of [x] amount).

Whatever you choose, just make sure the incentive is high enough so they will want to keep coming back.

5. Send out a “thank you for buying” offer

Once your customer has bought your product or service send out a special offer or gift voucher (valid for a limited time) to use with their next purchase as a thank you. This can be quite effective in encouraging your customers to buy again soon after their last purchase.

6. Stay in contact

Staying in touch with your customers, seeing how they are going, telling them about new products and services and informing them about specials and promotions can help you keep your business in the forefront of their minds and give them the prompt they need to buy again.

7. After sales follow up

Never underestimate the power in following up after a sale. A simple call to see how your customer has found your product or service can be a great way to get valuable feedback, testimonials and have the opportunity to upsell with different products and services.

8.  Go the extra mile

If you really want to have repeat customers, go beyond their expectations and give them what they can’t get anywhere else. It could be as simple as taking the time to answer all of their questions to creating a wow customer service experience, anything to make an impact and keep them coming back.

How do you keep your customers coming back?

Amanda


Five ways to stay in touch with your customers – and have them look forward to it

When it comes to increasing your sales and overall profitability, one of the best places to start is to increase your level of customer interaction. The more contact you have with your customers, the more likely it is that they will buy from you and refer you to others who need your products or services.

It shouldn’t be just any old customer interaction though. You need to be strategic, targeted, value-driven and compelling – without appearing to be desperate, spamming or annoying.

Not always the easiest feat, but to help you here are five proven ways to maintain regular customer contact and how to use them more effectively so your customers look forward to hearing from you.

1. Newsletters

While some will argue the trusty newsletter has had its day, I tend to disagree. If you are going to make it work in this day and age of endless emails though, you’re going to have to shake things up a bit.

When producing your newsletter, e-zine or e-news always come at it from the perspective “What’s in it for my customer? What information, tips and offers can I include that will make my customer want to give up 5, 10 or 15 minutes of their life to read this every month?”

Think industry insights or a market update, some key tips that could be helpful and implemented the day they receive your newsletter, a relevant article and a call to action by way of a special offer.

You want to keep it short and succinct, and where possible in the reading pane of their email. If you do have any long articles or pieces of information you want to include, publish them as a blog post on your website so you can provide a short sentence or two with a link to “read more” in your newsletter to save space and increase your website traffic.

2. Special offers and competitions

A special offer for the month can be a great way to stay in touch with you customers and get them buying from you. Competitions also have the benefit of getting customers to engage with you by sharing your brand both online and offline.

To hold your customers’ interests and ensure the best results, make sure your special offers are different each time and your competition prizes are desired items that are relevant to your business.

3. Emails using auto-responders

Not only are auto-responders an effective way of interacting with your customers, they can also save you a lot of time in the process.

You could have a set email sequence start from when a customer or potential customer first enquires, becomes a customer, signs up to your mailing list or downloads a resource from your website so there is a clear process leading them to a sale or repeat sale.

Or you could use it to give a quick weekly tip, update, thought, special offer, or all of the above to add more value to them.

For optimum impact, make it concise, poignant, relevant and educational. Also use a value-driven or fear-based headline in order to stand out in an overcrowded email inbox.

4.  Social Media

Social media is perhaps one of the best ways to stay in touch with your customers as it’s the most accepted regular form of contact, and a more “social” form of contact, making rapport building quicker and easier when done right.

On social media, most people are anticipating regular updates from you – normally daily updates and possibly even multiple daily updates depending on your business. No other communication method has as much expected or allowed regular communication with a customer, making it an extremely valuable tool.

To use it effectively and maintain your customer’s interest, you need to do more than post special offers and sales pitches. Look to inform, entertain and add value to your customers first, and then add some business promotion in.

5. Blogging

While it is a slightly more passive way of communicating with customers as they are coming to you, when you post relevant, interesting and educational content regularly, you can build a loyal readership that will keep coming back for more.

To make it a little less passive, give readers the opportunity to subscribe to your blog by email or RSS feed. This way they can have updates sent to them immediately instead of potentially missing something when they are left to come back on their own.

To monetize your blog and covert your readers to customers, add a call to action or special offer that relates to what you wrote about in the post as a P.S. at the end of your blog post.

How do you stay in regular contact with your customers? What works best for you?

Amanda


Four ways to enhance your customer experiences and improve profits

I’m guest posting over at Flying Solo on ways to enhance your customer experience and boost your profitability. You can read the full article here, though here is a sneak peek…

Of the many ways to increase profitability in your business, giving your customers an experience they’ll never forget is a highly effective one.

No one sells your business like a happy customer. When your customers sing your praises and prove your value and claims through their own experiences, a whole new level of trust and credibility is awarded to you and your business.

With repeat customer sales and referrals also being the cheapest and easiest business you will ever generate, it‘s smart to spend more time nurturing and leveraging your existing customer relationships to create even more happy customers.

With this in mind, here are four tips to help you enhance your customer experience and increase profitability in the process.

1. Stop selling and start serving

Instead of focusing on generating sales, focus on your potential customer’s needs, wants, goals, challenges and how you can help them.

You will find that when you stop selling and start serving, your customer’s guard comes down. Not only will they be more receptive to what you are saying, they will open up to you, rewarding you with more information that will help you make the sale and turn them into a satisfied customer.

2. Ask questions and listen to the answers

Questions are incredibly powerful. You can qualify a potential customer, establish rapport, identify needs, build relationships, increase credibility and close a sale simply by asking the right questions and listening closely to the answers.

The more targeted your questions, the easier it is to give your customers exactly what they need, reward and “wow” them in ways they would personally appreciate, and find even more ways to help to them.

3. Stay in contact regularly

To build a relationship with your customers you need to stay in regular contact with them, but not just with newsletters and email marketing. Instead, make genuine, personal contact. Talk to them to see how they are going. Keep in touch in a way that makes them say “wow”

For example, once your customer has bought your product or service you could send out a small gift voucher they can use for their next purchase as a thank you for doing business with you. A week after they have used your product or service you could call them to see how they are going, if they have any questions and if you can help them with anything further. This can be a great way to show you care, create opportunities to up-sell or cross-sell and get feedback, which can generate testimonials or help you address any concerns.

Also keep track of when customers are due for your product or service, whether it is a refill, check-up, follow-up or replacement, and send them a reminder with a special offer or bonus. By being proactive, your customers will feel more special and your thoughtfulness will be rewarded with loyalty, repeat sales and referrals.

Read more…

Amanda


What to do when you have an unhappy customer

An unhappy customer can be incredibly damaging to your business and reputation. People are 2-3 times more likely to tell others about a bad customer experience than a good customer experience.

Combine this with easy access to social media on mobiles and suddenly an unhappy customer can be voicing their dissatisfaction to the world within seconds – before they’ve had time to think things through or you’ve had a chance to rectify the situation.

So what do you do when you have an unhappy customer on your hands? Here are five tips to help you diffuse the situation and keep your reputation intact.

1. Deal with the situation swiftly

If you are faced with an unhappy customer, deal with the situation quickly, calmly and with a genuine desire to achieve a win/win outcome. If possible don’t let them leave your store or get off the phone until it has been resolved.

2. Listen without interruption

What an unhappy customer wants most is to be able to vent their frustrations without interruption and to feel heard. Giving them this opportunity and encouraging the conversation with a statement like “let’s go over what happened” is often the first step in diffusing the situation.  

As hard as it can be, particularly if you have been taken off guard, you need to resist the urge to interrupt, get defensive or try to solve the issue immediately.  Your only role at this time is to listen for the key issues and facts that are hiding beneath their emotional reaction.

3. Repeat back the problem

Once they have finished, if you need to, ask any additional questions that will help you identify the problem or ensure you’ve identified the right one. Then let them know you have heard them by repeating the problem back to them.

4. Be understanding and accountable

Once you’ve clarified the problem put yourself in your customer’s shoes. How would you feel in the same situation? Show them understanding and empathy.

If you have made a mistake, take responsibility for your actions and apologise. When you are honest, humble and accountable for your mistakes you will often turn a negative situation into a positive opportunity to wow your unhappy customer.

If you aren’t in the wrong, and have found through your questioning that the complaint is unfounded or that your customer has misinterpreted or done something wrong, still show your professionalism by being understanding and sensitive. Take the time to explain what has happened, outline any terms or conditions and if applicable why your processes or terms are this way.

5. Come to a solution

It is important to deal with each situation individually, taking into consideration the potential damage the customer in question may do to your business if it is left unresolved.

Come up with a solution to satisfy them personally, remembering it is always far better to have a short-term loss, then a long-term loss. Once the solution has been agreed on, take action immediately. Let them see that you are ready and willing to fix the problem on the spot.

When there isn’t a happily ever after…

Occasionally there are customers who can’t be pacified or contained, particularly in instances when the customer feels wronged but the business is not in the wrong. In these instances the most important thing to do is to keep all communication in writing, handle the situation with professionalism and seek legal council in the case of defamation or harassment.

Instead of being reactive, be proactive by looking after your existing customers so well that they can’t help but rave about you. Showcase your testimonials on your website and social media channels and let the positive word of mouth from your happy customers squash any possible negativity surrounding your business.

How do you handle unhappy customers?

Amanda


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