Most business owners or entrepreneurs complain about low sales, poor patronage and reduced profit in their business endeavours. Some even arrogate the blame of poor or reduction in sales to the government of the day, deteriorating infrastructures, insecurity, and inability to access bank loans, amongst others. While these could be partly responsible for reduction in turnover, the major reasons are the inability of the entrepreneurs/business owners to do the right things by taking their businesses more personal.
When you increase your customer base; automatically your sales and/or profit increases. To increase your customer base or win more customers the under listed eleven (11) actions or steps or gestures must be traditionally followed and practised. They are great secrets that successful business owners, industrialists and board – room gurus have executed in their businesses.
1. Provision of quality goods and services: The provision of high quality goods or services to customers always motivates them to increase patronage. When the product(s)/service are excellent, the customers also help the company to spread the news around to potential customers.
2. Be passionate with what you do for a living: There is no replacement for a passionate heart in business. Since your business is the source of income for you, there is need for you to show passion for what you offer to your customers by ensuring that you put yourself in their shoes.
3. Create a unique selling proposition or brand: Ensure that the kinds of goods or services you provide to your customers are unique in nature. The uniqueness must be with high quality standard in all the market that the products or services are offered. Through the unique quality standard, selling would be made easy and the product/service become a brand to be reckoned with. When your brand is known for quality, new customer naturally comes to you and existing customer remain with you.
4. Advertise your product or service: Customers often buy products they are aware of. Products or services that have not been brought to the notice of customers may never be patronised. Business owners must devise means of bringing their products/service to the knowledge of the public. This could be through media advertisement, distribution of fliers, organising road shows, amongst others.
5. Set targets for yourself and the business: Target usually drives results. When you set targets, you will be encouraged to work harder to accomplish it; because inability to meet the set targets might affect other areas of the business. Targets should be set for sales expected daily, weekly, monthly and yearly. Aside sales target, income and personal targets should be set.
6. Accept complaints as gifts: Customers always appreciate entrepreneurs that welcome their complaints and improve on the goods or service as a result of the complaints. Such customers feel some sense of belonging in the company’s decision making process. When customers are encouraged to make complains about their feelings, they tend to increase patronage and win more customers to the company.
7. Follow–up and stay in touch with customers: To enhance follow–up with customers, there must be personalisation of service to them. Follow–ups could be by calling customers to get their feeling on a product/service, seeking opinion on how to improve or going extra miles by honouring their special occasions like birthdays, house warming and/or other celebrations. With such gestures, such customer will patronise the company more and get more customers for the company. Keeping the service promise is also a way to follow–up with the customer.
8. Get referrals from customers: Referrals is a situation whereby existing company’s customers introduce new customers to the company as a result of satisfied products or services. Referrals are the easiest and cheapest way of advertising a product or company to another customer; because you usually get genuine comment about the company from the existing customer.
9. Treat customers as kings and queens: Irrespective of the financial status of a customer, he or she wants to be treated with respect, dignity, empathy, humility, courtesy and honour. When you treat customers like royalties, it boosts their ego and they come back for increase patronage because they want to continue to enjoy the majestic treatment.
10. Continuous brainstorming and innovation: When a business entity improves on the kind of product or service provided through innovation, customers tend to appreciate it and hope to get something better in the near future. Entrepreneurs and their staff must ensure routine brainstorming on how to satisfy customers always and how to improve on their products or services.
11. Motivate your employees and sales agents: Usually, the employees and/or sales agents are the channel of conveying the products or services to the customers, therefore motivating them appropriately helps boost sales and customers increase. The motivation could be through training, promotion, salary increase, recommendation, etc. Motivation through sales commission could also drive the zeal to reach out to more customers.