Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Little Things Can Make a BIG Difference

Sometimes the processes or activities in our business that seem insignificant can leverage some big results.

One of the tactics we take when helping our clients find growth opportunities is to look at the way their customers want to do business with them. This usually brings to light some pretty simple ways to make the buying process easier for more customers.

A recent example comes to mind. When working with
Hip Chicks do Wine last month we found some simple things that when implemented, immediately impacted their sales.

Hip Chicks is an urban winery located in the heart of Portland. In addition to making wine on-site, they offer seasonal events, tasting, in-house events and most of what you expect when you visit a winery out in the country. They have fun labels and some really good wine. Laurie Lewis and Renee Neely, the Hip Chicks, are the winemakers and the personalities that create the experience.

We discovered a couple of things pretty quickly that would invite and enable their customers to gain more of the Hip Chicks experience, such as:
  1. Posting a sign that says "We ship wine". They do. Always have. But out of sight, out of mind. With many of their patrons being tourists, this reminder is an easy way to encourage taking the Hip Chicks experience home.
  2. Offering and notifying patrons that they can waive the tasting fee with purchase of 6 bottles of wine. Typically, patrons in the tasting room purchase a bottle or two. With the purchase of six and the credit for the tasting fee, the patron saves 10-15%. This type of savings is typically reserved for purchases of 12 bottles or more.
This idea is so fun due to its simplicity. Finding growth opportunities in the little things are usually very easy to implement and typically low cost with high impact!

What about your business? Think about the buying process for your customer. What are some things you might do to make it easier for your customers to do business with you?

Happy Selling!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Cold Calling Secret

Cold calling is not my favorite thing. If you've heard me speak my stance on cold calling is, Why? Why cold call when you can network your way into warm leads.

I attended a workshop put on by the
Institute of Management Consultants here in Portland and gained some insights from Cold Calling expert, Kathy Maixner of Selling Smart that changed my mind.

Now I know why I've always liked Kathy! Her fresh perspective on cold calling is very similar to my take on networking. I came away with 5 simple insights about cold calling.

1. Cold calling is just a contact. It is not the sale.
2. Be crystal clear on your target.
3. Be prepared. Do your homework on the company you are calling.
4. Have a script. Create a vocabulary that works for you. Make it meaningful.
5. Get over yourself.

I realized some people feel about networking the same as I do about cold calling. When I took the "sales" out of networking, contacts were easy. Kathy showed me, when it comes to initial contacts, whether cold calling or networking, it is just a point of discovery.

If cold calling is in your future, back up and rethink your objective. First to learn more, then to get an appointment to explore mutual benefit.

Happy Selling!