Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Dumb businesses

Most businesses in this day and age are constantly looking at ways they can grow their sales and generate more revenue from new customers. In many cases this total fixation with ‘new’ sales is blinding them to collecting ‘easy pickings’, and in some cases may even be driving business away.

What do I mean? Let me give you an example from my own experience. I wanted to buy something, so I contact the business via email and obtained all the details. I tell them to send me an invoice so I can do an electronic funds transfer. Sale complete right? Nope. Firstly, there are no banking details on the invoice I received. I then troll through the lengthy email and find the account details, but guess what? They’re wrong. So now I gotta email them back and I HAVE TO ASK for the correct details. Can you see the issue?

It is almost like they are TRYING to make it hard for me to purchase from them. Wouldn’t you think that the most logical thing would be to put the transfer details on the invoice? Failing that, don’t they have a standard payment document that lists all the payment methods, including the right funds transfer details?

How many things like this are you overlooking in your business? It all comes down to building effective procedures. If you take the time to create a payment method document you can send it out every time you need to and you know it is right every time. As I have mentioned many, many times in this blog people are so happy to waste their time repeating low end tasks, duplicating information and promoting errors yet they constantly complain they are too ‘busy’. A businesses failing to conduct itself professionally, especially at the transaction moment of the sale, tells me a whole lot about how well that business generally operates. In some respects it may even warrant me taking my business elsewhere, because if they can’t do that what else aren’t they doing properly?

So rather than investing significant amounts of time constantly taking the rough road looking for new sales, have you examined your own processes to ensure that they are as efficient as possible? Have you ensured that it is as easy as possible for your existing customers (i.e. those who ALREADY pay you money) to keep giving you more money? Have you asked them whether you can make their dealings with you simpler?

Remember, what I’m saying here is making the process easier for money coming into your business not necessarily what suits you best. You want to make the whole process of getting paid as quick as possible. This means you need to look at it through the customer’s eyes, not your own. Remember the more friction there is in a process, not only the slower the process becomes but also the more heat it generates (i.e. customer frustration).

So, spend the time ensuring your gears are as oiled as possible before commencing on the great quest for more sales, because greater revenues may be just a tweak away.