CEO Tools Book
Posts Tagged ‘more sales’
Sunday, September 8th, 2013
How about selling more to existing customers starting in September as our topic for 12 Business Seasons?
Here are some ideas:
1 – Get new ideas on what to “add” to your “sell” by studying what all competitors are doing. Don’t just copy what additional things they do, but go one better by figuring out why that “add” either appeals to customers or perhaps what the customer REALLY wants, and then acting accordingly.
2 – Create “sustainable competitive advantages,” like extra politeness by your people, more convenience for the customer in the string of events from finding you, selecting, ordering, etcetera through paying, re-ordering, getting parts or warranty, and so on.
3 – Identify customers’ “needs” not just their “wants,” since often a customer doesn’t know, for example, what might be more convenient until they see you provide it!
4 – Analyze your existing offering to broaden appeal or applicability; by slightly re-defining how you pitch or define your product or service, you often can dramatically expand your potential market.
5 – Ask customers what would make you an absolute “10.” You might be frightened to ask this, but then you’ll never know, will you! And, whatever the customer says, it will help you understand far more than now. You could try just asking a few of your smaller, less-committed customers to minimize any fallout.
Obviously these ideas are meant to provoke thinking and create discussion within your inner circle about how to sell more to current customers. And, as always, we offer these thoughts in the spirit of improving your business.
With very best wishes, Kraig
Sunday, July 7th, 2013
July’s 12-Seasons-of-Business turns to some quick, easy ways to incrementally grow your top-line. Let’s see what might work for you with five top tools:
1 – Focus on more volume: add-on items, line-items-per-invoice, adjunct items, special offers.
2 – Bundle and/or unbundle products & services: split out or combine items to get more sales.
3 – Develop offers that include informational helps, naturally-fitting products/services, live application help.
4 – Make it more convenient for customers: deliver at time-certain; make it easy to specify, easier to select, order, pay, use product/service; provide weekend and evening ordering, support.
5 – Be “nicer” to customers: coach “niceness” into all employee-customer interactions; personal thank you note with delivery; add surprise gift in package; try secret-shopper to ferret out improvement areas.
And an extra, #6: increase prices selectively, incrementally (for 24 ways to increase price, go to www.ceotools.com/blog and search on “pricing” to see Pricing for Impending Inflation…and, you can up price even in deflationary times!
Additionally, to develop unique approaches attuned especially to your business you can click on New Tools Catalog at upper-left of home-page at www.ceotools.com and scroll down to the free PDFs.
As always, <:firstname:>, hope these ideas trigger at least one top-line (and resulting bottom-line) improvement for you.
Very best wishes, Kraig
Monday, March 4th, 2013
Let’s turn 12-Seasons for March to the TOP 5 GOAL TOOLS for success in your business:
1 – Use What Gets Measured (and Managed) Gets Done – WGM&MGD!
2 – “Hoosiers” gives us the Best Management Practices
3 – W4C (walk-the-four-corners) to inculturate Employees with Goals
4 – 1-Page Business Plan focuses All Employees on Goals
5 – Bring Suppliers and Customers into Your Plans & Goals
How to use these? Try these ideas:
1 – Use WG&MGD – What gets measured gets done, you already know that; now just add “managing” your business so that everyone is plugged into what behavior changes the “measuring” points to!
2 – Show the movie “Hoosiers” to your managers in a meeting and encourage them to talk about the management messages after showing the film; you’ll be amazed at the subsequent improvement in management and communication in your business.
3 – Walk-the-Four-Corners (W4C) for 20 minutes and ask different employees each day how to make improvements in your business. You’ll see an increase in pace and goal-realization in just a few weeks of doing this.
4 – Give your 1-page business plan to every employee and then while doing your W4C talk to employees about their roles in making that plan come to life.
5 – Get suppliers and customers into your plans and goals by meeting with them, giving them your appropriate 1-page business plan, and showing them how the plan and goals help them; you’ll suddenly engage incredibly supportive allies!
As usual, may these ideas benefit you and your business all year.
Tuesday, February 5th, 2013
For February 12-Seasons turns to the TOP 5 PEOPLE TOOLS for growing your top and bottom lines:
Get employee engagement with WGM&MGD!
Coach employees to treat customers NICER!
Ask employees how to create customer CONVENIENCE.
Regular recognition of employee greatness.
CEO get involved & focus on customer service.
Here are some suggestions for implementing and applying these tools.
Employee engagement with What Gets Measured, AND MANAGED, gets done: Clearly, posting a few key indicators that employees identify with is helpful, especially using Trailing 12-Month Charts. Managers who also get “buy-in” or “employee engagement” by those employees will be all the more successful with What-Gets-Measured-AND-MANAGED-Gets Done!
Coaching employees to treat customers more nicely obviously creates far superior results, as evidenced by the unique approach of Southwest Airlines (now also emulated by WestJet).
Asking employees how to create more CONVENIENCE for customers will both engage the employees and at the same time improve customer relations. It’s reported that 82% of all lost customers is due to employee apathy or just plain rudeness.
We’ve talked often of RECOGNITION as the most motivational tool with employees. Check chapter 7 of the “CEO Tools” book for ideas here (available from Amazon at very low price).
Finally, the CEO and senior managers can set the example by focusing on customers in many ways. Just talking positively about customers to employees or being with customers will do it. Clark Johnson, the hugely successful of Pier 1 Imports, wrote a letter every week to all employees about customers; every week for over seven years!
We really hope these few tools will boost your top and bottom-lines throughout 2013!
Kindest regards, Kraig
Thursday, January 3rd, 2013
January’s 12-Seasons kicks the year off right by focusing on getting more top-line results, more volume in your business. Not a re-hash, but better ways for you to identify and get new customers and more sales with existing customers. Here are the top five top-line improvers, in rank order:
Customer TOMA Tool
Customer Care Tool
Give Customers 100:100
What is each and how implement to get remarkable results? The most impactful tool for getting new customers and selling existing customers more is the TOMA (top-of-mind-awareness) system given to us by the greatest marketing guru, Jim Cecil. Very simply, touch both customers and prospects eight times a year with a “non-selling” message…they will contact YOU the minute they need what you do sell. You will be Top-of-Mind with them! That simple! Use a CRM (customer relationship management) tool to send them a personal card, a tool that will help them, an article that might be of interest, just a “touch.” See the free TOMA tool on our website for more detail.
Customer Care is also simple: provide amenities to your customer that no one else does. Like an informational monthly summary that talks about their business, not yours.
Feed Customer Garden (also from Jim Cecil): separate your customers into three or four groups that individually need a different kind of “customer care” — your competitors don’t do this!
Give Customers 100:100 is a combination of the above: when you provide the accumulated attention from the above tools, you are giving the customer “100%” or maybe even 110%. Then when you need favors of customers, they will be happy to accommodate a request for a one-time earlier payment, or understanding of a slightly late shipment, or a concession of some other kind. They’re willing to give 100% because you did.
Finally, the Customer Calendar is simply a tracking system to assure you are doing the above new behaviors; a simple reminder system to alert you to take action. More detail on each tool is available at www.ceotools.com and www.ceotools.com/BLOG for you.
As always, we hope these ideas help your top-line and thereby your bottom-line in 2013!
With very best New Year and business betterment wishes, Kraig
Tuesday, January 1st, 2013
Our twelve seasons for December focuses on managing success throughout 2013! The following thoughts will improve your business whether your industry surges or regresses in 2013 due to a possible economic slowdown or downturn.
To make the upcoming year more prosperous, undertake a simple 3-step technique: first, build a mini-dashboard of just a few key indicators (less than one hour’s effort); then second, take one-half hour with your senior managers each month to review these together; and third, agree with each manager the specific, time-definite, actions that will be taken to make your business better in the coming month.
To help with this, all the CEO Tools at www.ceotools.com have now been UPGRADED FOR USE THROUGH THE END OF 2013 to help effect those three steps. Grab the 4-Charts Tool NOW and start managing your destiny in 2013 with the 3-step technique. Even better, get the 5-Charts Tool, a mini-dashboard which includes the 4-Charts, and then add your own “WHAT CAUSES SALES” — the fifth chart all set and ready for your use now. Click on New Tools Catalog above-left at www.ceotools.com to see and get these tools for 2013. You can build them yourselves using the free PDF –or– download the Excel version and you can copy-paste your numbers into the data sheet and begin success planning and management immediately!
The idea here is to create that little key-indicator dashboard and take action! Please print the free PDF for the 4-Chart and 5-Chart tools from “New Tools Catalog” and build that mini-dashboard. Voila, you’re quickly on your way to an improved 2013 even before the new year begins in January!
May this coming year bring to you much success using these and other business tools!
Best holiday and Holy Day wishes to all, Kraig
Wednesday, November 7th, 2012
Twelve Seasons for November 2012, post-election: How to get ready for four more years?
ANTICIPATE THE FUTURE! Many economists see a recession starting around mid-2013 or sooner, so prepare now to PRO-ACT: 1)Improve cash-flow with better and earlier measures and actions; 2)Pro-act to cut discretionary costs plus identify cheaper approaches; 3)Identify and pursue actively “What Causes Sales” on a programmed basis; 4)Find new sources of income and cash. And, if the economy actually improves instead of recesses, your anticipatory focus in these key areas will improve your business even more!
In each area: download or build a Cash Manager Tool and identify in advance your cash pro-actions; pre-design your cost and expense cutting pro-actions, triggered by specific economic key indicators as they are published weekly and monthly; download or build the “What Causes Sales” tracking dashboard and again pre-identify your pro-actions for building/maintaining top-line results month-by-month through the end of 2013 and into 2014; and finally, visit our blog at www.ceotools.com/blog to see prior editions of these 12-Seasons where we’ve identified dozens of ways to find additional sources of cash and income.
More focus and detail in these areas will occupy this space in coming months.
Our wish is that your hope or perhaps even hopelessness turns into HOPEFULNESS as you “anticipate” the future and “pro-act” in advance of economic and business evolution.
Good luck to all, Kraig
Monday, October 1st, 2012
Twelve Seasons this month turns to getting the most from Trailing-12-Month Charts (T12Ms)! If you are not familiar with T12Ms, please visit our website and click on New Tools Catalog (upper left of home-page), then scroll down to Trailing 12-Month Chart Tool and open the free PDF.
Here’s how to hugely benefit from T12Ms: first, use T12M and Trailing-52-Week and Trailing-4-Quarter Charts for ALL your metrics or key indicators. Also use Twelve-Month-Moving Average Charts for all your percents, ratios, and indices.
Second, follow the simple “rules of the road” from the following Chart Tips List:
1. Line graphs, never bar charts, seldom pie.
2. One graph per chart…stack charts vertically if you want comparatives!
3. Two years of history plus the year we’re now in and tracking.
4. Re-scale to fill up vertical space (search on RE-SCALING at ceotools.com/blog).
5. T12M for one variable vs. 12MMA for two (%, ratio, index).
6. Right chart time frequency: T12M, T4Q, T52W, and/or T365D.
7. Power-Tools: 4-Charts, 5-Charts, 8-Charts @ www.ceotools.com.
8. Only T12M-type charts; those ordinary and YTD charts lie!
9. You can track ANYTHING with T12M and related charts.
10.Use to forecast, budget, or projections – then track actuals against.
11.No trailing 3-month, 6-month, or 18-month charts: they’ll bite you!
12.Charts should have white background and big data point markers along
the lines of your graphs.
13.Eventually, we’ll talk about 3-over-3 and 12-over-12 charts (also known
as rate-of-change charts), but please understand T12Ms thoroughly first,
else confusion will probably result! Yes, I do love those RoC charts, too!
14.Try Dashboards: visit www.ceotools.com, click on New Tools Catalog,
then scroll down to various dashboards on many business topics!
Third, whenever you review at a T12M or equivalent, use your “analytical brain” to see what is really happening, and then take action. You can turn on your analytical brain simply by asking these three questions:
1) What are the charts trying to tell me?
2) Why is this happening?
3) What could or should I do about this? Namely, do take action!
You will find T12Ms and the like will be MUCH more helpful in pointing all your business decisions in prodigiously positive and productive directions.
My wish is that your tracking with T12Ms from now on gives you HUGE advantages over competition! All the best, Kraig Kramers
Monday, August 6th, 2012
Another step you can take in developing your re-mix strategy is in the area of geography, or more appropriately demographics.
One quick example: as I began my tenure as CEO at Snapper, the lawnmower manufacturer, my originally-Oregonian wife asked “what if you made a lawnmower to cut wet grass in the rain?” This was a logical thought since she grew up in Oregon where it rains almost incessantly and we had just moved from there to Georgia where ther’s a lot more sunlight and lots more time to mow when it’s dryer.
At Snapper, we develped a lawnmower that indeed does mow in a downpour without clumping, clogging, or messing up your lawn while cutting it very nicely in the rain! We did do quite a bit of research and found there was a need for such a product not only in Oregon and Washington states where it rains a lot, but also in England and parts of Europe with similar conditions. A success!
This re-mixing of offerings is geographically focused, or perhaps to some degree demographically focused on the needs of particular market segments not previously served. You might recall we suggested asking “what’s impossible?” or “where has a market not been served?” in prior editions of this series of remix articles.
This is clearly an adaptation, although very focused on the needs in geographic or demographic arenas. Hope this helps you re-mix your strategic direction successfully.
Very best, Kraig
Thursday, August 2nd, 2012
For August we turn 12-Seasons-of-Business to the question of inflation and how to handle it for your business.
Amazingly, the Consumer Price Index and the Producer Price Index have not skyrocketed, in many respects because we have actual deflation in some industries and hidden inflation in others. Wage rates are going up, but not employment, so the effect of inflation is softened by ongoing subtle productivity control. And of course, the offset of deflation in housing, construction and more has held things in check. But do notice that energy and food are up and going up, as are the “hidden” price increases in smaller package sizes for the same price, replacement new products (like the 18-volt cordless drill), and price-wording (like airline early-boarding fees that are just camouflaged carry-on baggage fees).
So following is a list of 34 ways you might look at and brainstorm to increase price…when or before you experience cost-creep from the hidden and visible inflationary trends:
Price Increase Quantity Decrease
Fees Quality Decrease
After Charges (hotels) Fillers
Change Orders Dilution
Taxation (some hidden) Octane (Labels)
Devaluation % Butterfat
Matrix Pricing Flow Control (Delta)
Estimating Creep (Ptg) Add-Ons (during & after)
Good. Better, Best Hidden/Unlisted
Late Charges Recovery Charges (rental cars)
Last Look Best Look
Sur-charges Dynamic Pricing
Trade for Payment Substitution
Wording (early-board-fee) Mix (corn!)
Package Sizing (Triscuits) Measurement Method
Bundle/Un-Bundle Segmented Pricing (Hilton)
There are many ways to pass cost increase along, but having options and ideas ahead of time allows you to be the pro-active leader rather than the reactive follower in your industry.
Have some fun by googling “stupidest fees” and you’ll pull up the ten worst of 2011 and 2010 — really amazing! Will probably help you decide what NOT to do…
Again, we hope these ideas improve your business success! Kraig