The key to controlling sales costs lies in process efficiency. If sales people are properly incentivized they will always strive to sell more. But if the sales process imposes limitations due to inefficiencies sales volume will be restricted. Prior to the beginning of the sales process marketing can have a significant impact on efficiency in sales. For example if customers repeatedly ask the same questions upon initial engagement the business would be better served by promoting the answer via marketing. However certain information the customer seeks is better off supplied by the sales person and being able to supply it quickly and accurately is paramount to earning business. And finally efficiency and timeliness in communications with customers during the repair process can have a huge impact on the cost of selling. Each of these factors should be evaluated when endeavoring to control sales costs.
Maximizing New Business Opportunities
When a potential customer requests information or a quote an opportunity to build a relationship occurs. Many times a purchase may not occur right away but there is always a possibility for future business. So when a prospect contacts the shop it’s important to get contact information such as name, phone and email then follow up periodically. Monthly emails and newsletters can be effective ways to stay in front of prospects and customers. If sales people are going to spend time calling people to stimulate sales – people that have previously expressed interest can bring the best results. Not pursuing these prospects can result in missed opportunities.
The success combination in business is: do what you do better and do more of what you do … David Joseph Schwartz
Streamlining the Sales Process
The sales process must be both efficient and effective. A front line employee must have the information they need to communicate with the customer in a timely fashion. Any time a front line employee has to have a customer wait in order to reply to an inquiry is an example of inefficiency. The goal of making the sales process as efficient as possible involves eliminating any parts of the process where this occurs
Making the Most of Existing Relationships
Sales to existing customers are generally the most readily available opportunities. Assuming that marketing is effective and existing customers have their vehicles serviced at frequent intervals then the sales person will have the opportunity to increase sales by providing value the customer can recognize. For example offering nitrogen to fill tires will result in better gas mileage and lower vehicle maintenance costs. The customer will spend money to reduce future expenditures. It’s important to record the result if the customer declines an offer because if the sales person repeatedly promotes the same offer it’s an indication that they don’t remember the customer.
Reducing Customer Attrition Rates
A sales person’s primary responsibility is to support sales initiation and work in process. Given that, even in busy times if the sales process is efficient there will be time available. This time can be utilized to follow up with customers that the shop may be in danger of losing. Utilizing available minutes in this fashion will always be time well spent. Keeping a customer can be viewed as cost avoidance as the need to acquire new business will be averted.
Keys to Controlling Sales Costs
Efficiency in the sales process allows sales to be earned at a lower cost and promotes customer loyalty. Making the most of sales opportunities with prospective and existing customers allows business to be earned that requires lower expenditures. And working to avert customer attrition avoids the cost of customer acquisition.