How Do I Find Customers?

To my friends that own your own business – and to be clear, that is anyone who is offering a product, service, production, event, consultation etc.- you must understand how to get customers.  And in order to do that you have to get your terminology right and then get on the grind and find customers. 

Much to my chagrin, many marketing guides are too complicated or assume you have the base knowledge I am about to give you.

The link I included here contains some great definitions and the example below should help you with your business.

An Example of the Definitions

The following example may help to make the above five concepts more clear. I recently read that the story comes from the Reader’s Digest, a quote found in “Promoting Issues and Ideas” by M. Booth and Associates, Inc. (Thanks to Jennifer M. Seher, participant in the CONSULTANTS@CHARITYCHANNEL.COM online discussion group.)

“… if the circus is coming to town and you paint a sign saying ‘Circus Coming to the Fairground Saturday’, that’sadvertising. If you put the sign on the back of an elephant and walk it into town, that’s promotion. If the elephant walks through the mayor’s flower bed, that’spublicity. And if you get the mayor to laugh about it, that’s public relations.” If the town’s citizens go the circus, you show them the many entertainment booths, explain how much fun they’ll have spending money at the booths, answer their questions and ultimately, they spend a lot at the circus, that’s sales

Why Athletes will make good business people

I saw a recent article about this subject and there was a list of 10 reasons why they would make good business people.  I won’t list all ten but number one related to the ability to set and achieve goals.  I am going to expand on that one.  

The key is not just that they set goals.  They have mastered the art and science of setting daily activity goals that will get them to the ultimate result goal.  

If a runner wants to improve their time in the 400 meter run by 2 seconds within 3 months they know what they have to do each day to get there. If this kind of person was in sales and was told they had to book 6 appointments per week they would instinctively ask how many phone calls per day they need to accomplish in order to get the six appointments.

It is this precise thinking and skill that is needed in the workforce today.

The Strike Out King – A Matter of Perspective

Anyone that knows me knows that I am a baseball fanatic.  All the men in my family played in college, professionally or both.  I played at Norfolk State University. For a long time I had the most career strikeouts in the history of the school.  I am happy to announce that my record has finally been broken.  Why am I happy?  Because I WAS NOT A PITCHER!  It is a matter of perspective.


Why Restaurants Don’t Sell More Dessert?

I am a sales person. I love helping people get what they want by providing the right advice and counsel to meet their need. I also love to eat. I probably eat too much because almost every time I go to a restaurant I have to get a box for what I couldn’t finish. I would like to say it was because I just couldn’t finish but it was really because I ordered too much.

Now, most people know that restaurants can make good profit on selling desserts after dinner but I am not sure there sales technique really works. Restaurants don’t sell more desserts because servers ask the wrong question! Here is what happens. The server brings us boxes for our leftovers and almost apologetically will say “did you save room for dessert?” or “would anyone like any dessert?” or even worse “you don’t want any dessert do you?”. My answer to all those questions is a polite “no thank you”. But in my mind I am saying “heck no I don’t want any dessert. I couldn’t even finish what I ordered!”

Here is the simple answer to how you get me – the sales person and the eater to buy the dessert: The server should bring the dessert menu when they bring the box for my food and simply say “which one of these desserts do you want to take home with you tonight?”. And what am I going to say? None. Of course not. I have already shown the server that I am going to eat later. All they are doing now is giving me something else to eat.

Bottom line: If restaurants want to sell more desserts just ask me ‘which one of these desserts do you want to take home with you?” Note: they can’t give me a choice between something and nothing that is why I said ‘which one of these desserts do you want to take home with you?”.


40 Days to Opex Day 13: Is your sales and fulfillment process like @JimmyJohns Sandwich Shop? If not….

Here is a very simple post based on results.   On Tuesday, July 22, 2014, I went into a #jimmyjohns sandwich shop in downtown Norfolk VA.   I entered the shop at 12:22pm,  There were 9 people in front of me.  I got the register at 12:26pm.  That is right – I said 12:26pm.  I ordered my food and like I have done for the last year I tried to grab my chips and get my fountain drink before they could finish my order.  I failed again.  I have never been able to win that battle.  By the way, I walked out of @jimmyjohns at 12:29pm.  The whole trip took 9 minutes.  You might ask why was I checking the time?  Because I have tried to catch them for a year to see if they would have one service break and it hasn’t happened.

The moral of the story is if you are seeking operational excellence then you must have a fast, error free, and consistent sales, fulfillment and service process.  If you want to see operational excellence first hand go to #jimmyjohns.

Solving Business Problems – Apple Pies and Revenue

I was in a McDonald’s Restaurant recently and purchased my standard quarter-pounder with cheese meal. I didn’t buy an apple pie though and the reason was very simple – the order taker didn’t ask me.

As I was thinking about sales processes and solving business problems another simple truth emerged and that is almost every time I have been asked to buy an apple pie – I did.

Business owners, do you have a script that your employees are supposed to be using at the point of sale? Do they use it every time? If not, why not?

I know from having worked at McDonalds’s that incremental or add-on sales really help with their bottom line revenue. Is it the same for you? I bet it is. I also know that McDonald’s employees are asked/required to offer additional products (upsell) at every transaction but you and I both know that doesn’t always happen. How about in your business are your employees “leaving money on the table” by not following the add-on script?

Your Call to Action

If you want to drive revenue and net income up then make sure you have an add-on/upsell policy a script for your employees to use and a way to measure that it was used.  

Here are some new metrics to track:  “apple pie penetration rate”  which is the number of orders including an apple pie divided by the total number of orders; and your  “apple pie ask for the order rate”  which is the number of orders where the customer was asked to purchase an apple pie divided by the number of total orders.

Jeff Jones, A Business Problem Solver