I went to a pop-up street market last weekend, and something caught my attention: Every seller was swiping cards on their phones. It was quick, it was efficient, and it wasn’t what I expected to see among the fresh strawberries and hand-made greeting cards.
It got me thinking about how often we need to be updating how we do things. These enterprises were probably cash-only until a few years ago, greatly restricting sales. Many of these one-person enterprises couldn’t even function if they had to have a cash register, full-sized credit terminal, and hard-wired internet connection. As someone who has (very recently) worked with a business owner who preferred faxing me updates, sometimes you have to part with the comfortable.
When’s the last time you stepped back and examined the processes in your business? Are we using them because they’re effective, or because we’re used to them? If your technology hasn’t been updated in the last couple years, I’ll bet you a pound of fresh strawberries there’s new tech that could save you time and get your sales team off their laptops and on the street.
My team and I have worked not too long ago with clients who used hand-written books. These clients were smart, engaged, and had built a good business. They were also very comfortable in the “process” of updating the ledger book. The big miss was they couldn’t analyze any of their sales data to find ways to improve, identify patterns in customer add-ons, or predict cash flow. It was hamstringing their business, and while that’s an extreme example, I think a lot of us get comfortable in routine and miss out on identifying opportunities to lower costs.
Once we got them onto a CRM system with simple accounting software, they were suddenly saving hours every day because their vital information was right there. This meant more time to invest in key business processes, and it ended up leading to new product ideas that really grew their business. All that from one little tech update!
Ask yourself some questions. Can I fill an order with just a couple of keystrokes? Can I access my bank balance in under 7 seconds? Can I find the cost of sales by looking at my phone?If you answered no to any of those, it’s time for an update. If some industrious farmers can stay tech savvy for the sake of their business, then you can too! My team and I are always here if you’d like an outside set of eyes.
In 1948, the McDonald brothers opened up their new burger joint where you could get a 15-cent hamburger, a milkshake, and fries. That was almost half the cost of a burger at the time, so how did that grow into a multi-billion dollar empire?
They sold the fries.
The brothers saw that when their customers bought burgers, they were more likely to want fries and something to drink. So they not only included that on their menu, but they pushed it. It started with “Would you like fries with that?” and would eventually grow into “Would you like to supersize that?”
By constantly upselling, their customers bought more with each order. While other drive-thrus went out of business, McDonald’s went international, and it’s largely because of this strategy.
What does that mean for you? Well, it means that you need to find ways to upsell. When customers buy from you, what else could you be offering them? You need to brainstorm and identify what else someone will need when they make a purchase from you. It’s why there is a rack of sunglasses near sunscreen at Target. The goal here isn’t to shove new products or services in your customers’ faces, but to figure out those related options that add to both their utility and your top line.
Sometimes you need to get deep into your customer’s perspective to see the options. Sometimes you need a hand doing this. We are here if you want to talk about it.
More seriously, find your way of selling the fries. It might end up being what takes your business to the next level.