This article is not about how to get more traffic - let’s focus on what’s free, easy and immediate - selling more to the traffic you already have. A certain percentage of your traffic will make a purchase – this is your “closing ratio”. What do you consider an acceptable percentage? What was your closing ratio when times were better? What about on different days of the week or when different employees are working? By the way, this is an interesting evaluation of employee productivity and sales skills. It’s been proven that just tracking your closing ratio will result in an increase in sales. When I was doing business to business sales, I used to track 100 calls to set 10 appointments and close one sale. Tracking allowed me to notice when something was going awry or if I discovered something that worked better. It later helped me manage my own sales staff and identify where they needed support. Different businesses of course have very different standards. Let’s talk about more ways to increase the closing ratio.
Are you using a greeting that represents the best first impression of your business? “Can I help you?” is no longer acceptable. Does your staff use what you established to be the most effective script for each type of customer (regular, first timer, just browsing)? You want every customer to know you’re ready to serve, yet be comfortable. Think like a food server who is attentive yet invisible. The point is there is a best practices method of selling for every business. If your business is lodging, you track your conversion rate and average room rate, but how do you increase the conversions, the average stay and revenue? If you cold-call on businesses, what’s the difference between you and the stellar performer? If you’re in retail products or services, some are consistently better than others – why is that? How do you become the better one?
Have you and your staff received formal sales training recently? Selling is not about slamming a sale; it’s about satisfying a customer with a solution. You need to be proficient at interpreting the customers’ desires and hold a high level of expertise on your products. Making a sale is the reward for being able to help the customer. Formal sales training on a regular basis dramatically improves closing ratios.
Now that we’re helping more people buy, can we increase the average sale? No, it’s still not about squeezing the customer for more money. It’s about making sure the customer has the most thorough solution. Hear this report from a major travel company - most people who book low-priced rooms on their Hawaiian vacation packages upgrade on arrival once they get jealous of the ocean front people. The travel agent that sells the package only gets a commission on the low priced room. What upgrades does your customer really want? Not everyone wants to save money – in fact, it’s easily argued that people want more for their money and are spending money on better products having realized they no longer want to waste money on inferior items and experiences. Offer accessories that improve the experience or solution you’re providing.
How do you get it all done? Systems make everything run more smoothly. Do you have a sales system? Perhaps your product is sold slowly through a series of appointments. Perhaps your product simply requires time for a customer to make a choice. How do you keep the interest alive during this time? What follow-up steps do you take and what systems do you have in place to make sure no one falls through the cracks? Think this isn’t a problem? Just think about the last time you called an office for a quote and never heard back from them at all?! It happens at great companies. It happens at mine and it happens at yours.
All this tracking can make you crazy unless you have a system for every step of the sales/service process. That means a best-practices system for everything from greeting to needs analysis to presentations to closing and handling objections to follow-up after the sale.
Now do the math – if you increase your closing ratio and even had a modest average ticket gain, what would that amount to in dollars for you? If you have room for improvement in your company – retail, wholesale, hospitality, travel, insurance, business to business, you could benefit greatly by reviewing or developing a sales system.