Even in the most challenging economic conditions, some businesses continue to maintain – and even increase – their sales volume. How? By employing smart strategies that attract customers, build loyalty, and take advantage of new opportunities. Here are some tips that can help your business beat the odds and boost revenues.
**Go Where the Business Is**
If your traditional product or service lines aren’t doing well, it may be time to adapt or even abandon them. Look at what customers are buying and adapt to fit the new realities.
Consider the following questions:
• What products or services can be made more attractive – by repackaging, enhancing, or even simplifying?
• How can you provide real savings or greater value?
Keep in mind that virtually any business can find opportunities to help customers save money. For example, a heating and cooling contractor can consider offering insulation services, solar panel installation, or energy-efficient appliances that drive down a customer’s monthly energy costs.
**Ramp Up Your Service**
When other businesses are cutting back, it’s an opportunity to increase customer service. There’s no better way to win their loyalty and encourage them to recommend your business to friends, family and others.
Master the basics and exceed customer expectations. Return phone calls as quickly as possible. Confirm appointments and show up on time. If a customer has an issue, respond with an answer or solution as promised. Keep a log of all your appointments or calls to help you stay on track.
Contact existing and prospective customers. Offer them value-added services and special “perks” while discussing their needs. Your conversations will almost certainly yield new chances to help them meet their current challenges.
**Use Information to Build Trust**
Reduce the “information gap” that stands between you and your customers. Share information with your customers freely; it can help build a stronger bond with them that can lead to higher sales. Here are a few examples:
**• Educate:** Make it easy for customers to learn about your products or services, so that they can make an informed choice. Follow the example of the electronics store that trains sales staff to be product “experts” with the skills to help customers choose the right product and train them on its use.
**• Share and Compare:** Are the advantages of your product or service easily quantified? Consider following the example of a major insurance company that allows customers to easily compare its rates with those of its competitors.
**Make Your Customers Feel Welcome**
Review your sales process. Does it make your customers feel that you value their business? Here are some factors to consider in improving your customer’s sales experience:
**• Simplify:** Examine your purchasing process. If your purchasing process is complex, consider streamlining it to make it faster and easier.
**• Align:** Ensure that your company’s interests are aligned with those of its customers. For example, if your commission-based pricing leads customers to think that you are driving up their costs, change to a simple fee-for-services method.
**Follow the Stimulus Money**
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) invests in projects that help modernize our nation’s infrastructure, enhance energy independence, expand educational opportunities, preserve and improve affordable health care, and protect those in greatest need. For businesses, that means a wealth of opportunities to secure contracts, loans, and grants. Additional information is available at www.recovery.gov.
**Talk to Citibank®**
Your Citibank business specialist works with hundreds of businesses, and can help you develop and employ sound business strategies. In these uncertain times, call us at 877-528-0990 today and leverage our experience. a
Christopher J. Lycett
Business Banking Officer/ AVP
1505 E Valley Pkwy, Escondido, CA
760-747-0801 FAX 760-480-1567
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