Whether you are in Business to Business (B2B) or Retail, if you are a tradesman, chef, accountant or doctor, the one thing your business can’t do without is sales.
I work with a lot of franchise companies helping their franchisees build their business, and therefore their income, by teaching the fundamentals of sales and the number one challenge that I come across is that most first time franchisees think that just because they’ve bought a franchise money and success should come rolling through the door.
The thing that most new franchisees miss is that their franchisor is there to get behind them and back them up; it’s up to them to actually do the work. Sorry guys, there is no easy way to riches; you have to put the effort in somewhere.
Without naming names and upsetting anyone, a great example of what I mean is one of the local franchise restaurants in my area. I live in a relatively quite little seaside town about 40 minutes out of the city. A local Franchise Restaurant (FR) here got new franchise owners a couple of years ago. Prior to the new owners coming along the FR was in a bad way. Sure it had a big multinational name, however it was always dirty, there was always a long wait at the counter for your meal which always looked like it was just slapped together, the toilets were always a mess and the playground wasn’t much better. All the locals avoided it as much as possible and it had to rely on passing traffic and teenagers.
The Little Things Can Mean Big Improvements
A couple of years ago new owners moved in. They did the basics, you know, made sure the place was always clean, trained the staff to smile and be efficient and in general took the responsibility on them selves to improve things. Sure they probably paid a hefty sum for the franchise however they realized that they buck still stopped with them and they set to work on improving things. As you can imagine, locals, of which I’m one, started brining their families back. Pretty soon things were going so well they could afford to expand their restaurant and upgrade it which is what they did and, of course this attracted more happy local customers who spent more with them.
Just because they bought a franchise it didn’t mean instant success, even though this is a very successful brand. They did everything they could to attract new customers and bring more sales through the doors, and it worked.
The need for you to do what you can to bring in sales isn’t just limited to franchise restaurants. Let me ask you this, if you already own a franchise who was responsible for making the decision to buy it? It is you of course. And who is responsible for paying the bills at the end of the month? Again, you right.
You’ve bought a franchise system so that you didn’t have to go through the pain and heart ache of starting up for yourself and so that you could eliminate as much as possible the risk of failure. The proven systems that your franchise has in place and the back up of your franchisor all go a long way to doing that, however, the buck does stop with you.
In order for you to be successful you need to be out there generating sales for yourself. Across many industries now I’ve seen a number of franchisees buy their initial franchise, build it up by getting more sales, sell those new clients to other franchisees, go out and get more sales, sell those clients off to another franchisee and keep repeating the process. By doing this a friend of mine in the cleaning industry recouped his initial investment three times over in the space of five years……..that was on top of what he was earning on a monthly basis from running his franchise business.
Almost none of the franchisees I talk with have much of a sales background. The friend that I mentioned above actually came out of the army.
So it can be done! And you can do it!
It’s all very well me talking about going out and getting more sales but how do you do it?
The biggest stumbling block to going out and getting more sales for yourself is the first step. Below are five ideas on how you can bring more sales in. I understand that they may not be suitable for every industry however I’ve tried to give you a fairly broad range.
1/ 5 Plus A Day. This is fantastic for a B2B or business to consumer (e.g., house cleaning or home renovations) type sales. When you are visiting with your client or have just finished a job go to the five surrounding potential clients and drop off some company information. Make sure you emphasis that you’ve just finished a job “for Bob at No. 5” and you were just dropping off some info while you were in the area. If at all possible get their contact details so you can start to put them on a regular mailing or eZine list.
2/ 10 before 11. This is something I strictly stuck to from the time I began in sales. Contact at least 10 people before 11am EVERY working day. Preferably new potential clients and preferably in person. Yes I mean fronting up and cold calling.
3/ 100 before 10. If you’re in retail sales and your shop doesn’t open until after 10am seeing 10 people before 11am is simply not possible so you’ll have to contact 100 people before 10am. Yes I can hear you swearing at me now. Please let me explain; For a while I worked in a furniture store, it didn’t even open until 10am. To me that seemed a waist of at least 2 hours of good contact time so I would take my own photos of the furniture, arrange them nicely on an A4 sheet; add a blurb and the prices then go out delivering my own personalized pamphlets in the more affluent suburbs every morning before work. This generally wont get instant results, it took two weeks before my first client came in however, once the ball was rolling…it was rolling and sales continued to come through the door on a regular basis.
Above are three very traditional ways of getting sales through your doors, you can do them yourself or put a system in place where one of your people does it, either way the results will come. Below are a couple more really great ways to keep in contact with your clients and potential clients to help you increase your sales:
4/ e Zine. I cannot recommend that you do this highly enough. An eZine is an electronic news letter that is linked directly to your web site.
If you are not keeping in contact with your customers your opposition will be. A regular eZine to your customers is a fantastic way to give your clients regular little reminders that you’re there when they need you.
One thing that I’ve learnt the hard way…..DO NOT make it full of too many sales items or specials. One or two is OK however what your doing with an eZine is building trust with your people and ramming specials and requests to ‘buy now’ doesn’t do that. Instead fill it with relevant information that solves problems your customers are having.
The monthly eZine I send out has a sales strategy explained in depth which take up to 80% of the content and then there is a ‘quote of the month’ and finally a ‘product promotion’ that take up about 15% of the space.
Your eZine is very economical to set up and if you want to you can run it all yourself at no cost per month. Effectively you could send a contact out to your entire database for zero dollars per month.
5/ Txt Message. Somehow I have gotten on the txt list of clothes shops, sports centers and restaurants. Initially I was a bit put off by this however once I figured out that they were actually offering me something I wanted but hadn’t thought about, it got me going there.
At the end of the day it all boils down to you. Please don’t expect sales to walk in your door even if you’ve got a well known and recognized franchise, if you want to be really successful always be thinking about what you can do to bring customers to you.