If sales of your products and services have been diving off a cliff or are just plain flat, there are other paths to improvement besides simply reducing prices. To find the clues that lead to those answers, you will need to do a little detective work.
Good detectives don’t typically rely on just luck and good fortune to solve a crime. Neither can you when you’re looking for answers to the crime of slow sales. Detectives follow a certain protocol to try and find the criminal. You must also follow certain steps to find what you are looking for.
Gather the evidence.
The first step that a detective takes is to carefully collect evidence. A clever detective tries to recreate the crime scene and see it through the eyes of the suspect. Slow sales leave a similar trail of clues which can be collected and analyzed. Look at your business through the eyes of your customers and prospects. What unnecessary obstacles and hassles are you unwittingly creating that stop a prospect from doing business with you? Work to remove any unnecessary conditions and restrictions that are making your customers jump through hoops to do business with you.
Good cop, bad cop
You have undoubtedly heard about or seen on TV crime dramas the technique known as “good cop, bad cop.” After the suspect is brought in for questioning, a “bad” cop tries to intimidate the suspect while the “good” cop tries to gain his trust so he spills the beans and admits to the crime. In a business setting, you must be able to present your company as the “good cop.” If you can become the trusted source for your customer, sales leads will begin beating a path to your door.
Persistence is key.
Detectives with long and successful careers typically have one common trait — they don’t give up easily. In tough economic conditions, offering great service and products is no longer enough. It is expected…and only the starting point. The slow economy has undoubtedly played a role in slow sales for some companies. But there are companies that have experienced continuous sales growth, even during the recession. What is the difference? These companies have a very good understanding of their customers. By staying close to their customers, these companies have learned to adapt as needed and stay ahead of the curve by offering what their customers need and want.
Don’t overlook the details.
Detectives solve crimes by doing their homework first and then completing all the nitty-gritty, unglamorous tasks that the TV crime dramas don’t show. Great companies survey their customers to find out what they need and then over-deliver on what they promise. When you can do that, you will be able to lock up slow sales forever and throw away the key.