Still looking for a successful sales gimmick?
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote an article about the best sales “gimmick” of all time: doing what you say you are going to do. I received some interesting comments on this, ranging from thanks for reminding everyone that good old fashioned values still remain the most effective way to find and keep clients to a host of different ideas that people have tried to increase sales. Based on those responses, I figured I would share another effective way I have found to increase business.
Ask yourself, who is your ideal customer?
This is a question I ask prospects when I first start talking to them about how we can increase sales for them. Sounds like a simple enough question. If you do not know who you are looking for, it becomes increasingly difficult to find them.
You’d be surprised how many people do not truly know who their ideal clients are. Well if you don’t know, how am I, your sales team, referral sources, or anyone else supposed to help you find more of the people you want to work with?
The more you understand what you do, how you do it, and who your ideal person to work with is, the easier it becomes to find the people you want. I did an experiment on this when I was a board member for a chamber of commerce. Every two weeks, we would have a networking breakfast where 40-100 people would all get up to meet at 7AM for an opportunity to tell their “story” in 30 seconds or less, including what a good lead for them was. You would be amazed how many responded that a good lead for them was “anybody who”: anybody who needs an accountant, anybody who has a house, anybody who needs insurance, anybody who has a car.
I spoke to the executive director and asked for the names of 5 people who attend events regularly but have made it a point to mention that they have not been getting any new business. I pulled these five people aside before the next breakfast and asked them each to take a minute to think about who their best client is. One of the members was the marketing manager for a body shop that also did repair work, oil changes, etc. He was a bit skeptical since, in his mind, he was there for them to remember after a problem occurred, not to proactively bring in business, “unless I bring in one of our trucks and start running into people!” he joked. He mentioned that his best client was a guy who drove a blue car and seemed to keep hitting things (he had his car repaired 4 times over 18 months.) Since he was so used to bringing his car there, he got into the habit of bringing his car to the shop for oil changes as well.
“Great,” I said, “use him as the example and speak specifically about the traits that make him a good customer. Then use that it your 30 second introduction.” Still skeptical, but willing to at least try to be funny in hopes of being remembered, his introduction sounded like this:
“…a good lead for me is someone you know who drives a blue car and lives in a house with a narrow driveway. They can come in for an oil change because sooner or later, they will scratch up the car and we will be ready to fix it.”
I checked in with him a week later to check on the results. Here is how it looked:
Total number of referrals received during/after the meeting: 7 (all were for oil changes and light repair and all were friends of members who drove blue cars)
Number of new customers: 13
- 5 oil changes of blue cars
- 2 windshield repairs (neither was a blue car)
- 3 detailing/minor dent and scratch repair (one was blue)
- 3 collision repairs (one was a blue car)
So why did this member get more referrals in one week than he had gotten in the previous 6 months? Did I just happen to be a good week in the collision repair business? The more you understand what a good client is, the easier it is to ask for them. Be specific in what you are looking for, especially when asking for referrals. He had been very specific in what he wanted so it helped the others in the room to think of someone specific to refer to him.
In the beginning of the article when I said “anybody who has a car” did someone specific come to mind? Did it even stick out among all of the other “anybody who’s?” When I showed the more specific detail of what he was looking for, did you think of someone who has a narrow driveway who, when going to their house you wonder how many times they might hit a fence or a wall?
…and how many of you thought about someone who has a blue car?