I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know if I say that a business can only survive and grow if its client base increases. Yes, you do already have your existing clientele, to whom you must continue selling your products or services. But the strength of your brand, of your business, and its ability to go on, lie in your ability to acquire those new customers. You know, of course, that your current customers might disappear, and that this why you have to renew your client base. However, you aren’t providing yourself with the means to achieve this. Let me explain.
A blatant break between Marketing and Operations
Your marketing department spends tons of money trying to get visitors to walk into the store. And it manages to do this despite the rise of e-commerce. But the problem is that this hard-won visitor comes in a stranger and leaves… still a stranger!
Today, most business are product-focused, not customer-oriented. In a store, people usually ask you, “What are you looking for?” … And just like whoever asks the question, you, the listener, are convinced that they are interested in the customer. Think again! Here, the object of the answer remains the product.
Imagine, on the other hand, that I ask a visitor to my store, “Are you familiar with our brand?” Of course I’ll talk about my products, but most of all, I’ll learn something about him, I’ll be getting to know him.
For example, did you know that in 95% of all cases, you only discover whether the customer already knows the brand when he gets to the check-out counter and the cashier asks him if he has a frequent-buyer card? Isn’t that incredible?
Consider a new in-store customer management
It is essential that your in-store customer reception be revisited.
If a salesperson in your store greets a customer he has never served previously, he must have one priority, and one priority only: confirming whether this really is a new customer.
Through his questions, he must:
- Allow the customer to feel recognized
- Do you know our brand?
- If the answer is “No”, immediately thank him for his visit and welcome him as a new customer.
- Do you know our brand?
- Learn about his tastes, the better to guide his purchase
- What do you usually buy?
- Where do you buy, mainly?
- Be more interested by the fact that this is a new customer than by what he is looking for.
Why are retail shops not interested in acquiring new customers in the field?
Because the company doesn’t stress the value of this new customer to its sales staff. I’m talking, here, of “value” in the financial sense, i.e. in the sense of what the acquisition of a new customer clearly represents in terms of, for example, turnover. Your sales staff won’t know this! How do you want them to be committed to an approach if they can’t see its end purpose?
Explain clearly to your teams what a new customer means for you.
For example: a customer spends an average of €120 per visit and drops by 5 times a year.
Therefore, his financial value is €600 per year.
Now, if I’ve acquired 10 new customers, this represents €6,000; multiply this by the number of salespersons and, again, by the number of retail outlets.
When you provide them with the keys to understanding, you incorporate your teams to a global approach.
Your goal: one day to acquire new customers
You’ve set your sales force objectives regarding turnover, average sales value, conversion rates, stocks… but no objective on new customer acquisitions. With little follow-up and no reward, no wonder your teams view this as being of no interest.
Do you think I’m simply going to suggest you tack this new objective on? Wouldn’t that be too obvious? And in any event, just between us, your teams already have more than enough to deal with every day.
No, you’re going to go hunting; you’re going to declare a one-day open season on new customers.
On a single day, once a month, the sales staff of all your retail outlets will focus on the much-touted objective of customer acquisition. Gather all your teams out in the field, in your stores; make a contest out of it; give them a sense of collective effort. Don’t hesitate to create incentives between your carious retail outlets.
Your sales teams need backing; those of your teams that are not out in the field need to understand the day’s objectives and its stakes.
But careful: declaring an open season doesn’t mean having an aggressive attitude. On the contrary, it means – above all – greeting the customer, listening to him and treating him in such a fashion that he won’t ever leave… a stranger (see above).
Remember one last thing: over the short term, not acquiring new customers isn’t very serious. Over a longer term, it’s simply suicide!
Want to learn more?