Banking is an industry that has one simple revenue-increasing concept down to a science. They want the business and they will ask for sales – basically every time they see you. Need to deposit a check? They’ll sell you direct deposit. Want to make a withdrawal? They’d like to sell you a debit card.
It may get annoying, but their increases in profit and market share prove it’s also highly effective. What isn’t annoying is that you can learn to apply the less overt business-generating techniques to your business, simply by being willing to ask for sales from your customers.
Ask for sales in person
Let’s say you run a small diner and have a fledgling catering business. You may notice a regular customer sipping their coffee while flipping through a bridal magazine. When they tell you they’re planning a wedding, you mention you also do catering.
Some businesses stop right there. They’ve planted the seed and expect it to grow, but sales don’t necessarily work that way. If you want the business from the busy bride-to-be, you have to ask for sales. Instead of mentioning the catering business, go a step further by asking her if you can put together a sample menu tasting for her and the lucky guy. Make it clear you WANT to be her caterer, not that it’s just something you offer on the side.
Ask for sales by phone
If your business lets customers place orders by phone, you may be missing out on one of the most obvious times to ask for sales: when they’re already buying. This is why retail websites are notorious for pop-up offers at check-out. They know that if you’ve already got your credit card handy, they can usually increase the order.
When taking orders by phone, it’s easy to fall into the trap of taking down their order without trying to upsell the customer, assuming they’d ask for something else if they wanted it. To ask for sales by phone without sounding pushy, you only need to offer incentives. Perhaps offering 10 percent off an extra widget or running a Buy 3 Get 1 Free sale is enough to entice those extra dollars out of their wallet.
Ask for sales online
Even when you don’t run an online business or accept online orders, your customers are still checking out your company website. If you want to maximize the benefits of the site, remember to let it ask for sales for you. Without throwing in a call to action, you may end up with a beautifully-designed, informative website that seems totally disinterested in gaining new business.
Remember, whether you’re going to ask for sales in person, by phone or online, it’s critical that you make the offer without pressing the issue. No one wants to turn into that bank teller who doesn’t know when to end the pitch and hand over the receipt.