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CEO Tools Blog

Jan 2012 - 12 Seasons: More Top-Line Now!

For January and to kick the year off right, our "12 Seasons" will focus on getting more sales, more top-line, 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.

How?  Try really digging into "What Causes Sales" (WCS) in your company.  Two ways to brainstorm and determine, and then use WCS for you:  first, start with the event where the order is taken in your business, then back up through the chain of events that lead to that order...you want the earliest event that you can MANAGE as well as MEASURE consistently and reliably.  A second way is to have a separate second brainstorming meeting with the key people in and around your company...use a starter list of WCS from other industries to get started, write down all possibilities for your company, then discuss the likelihood, practicality, and applicability of each.  Pick the one or two most likely, then test or try them.  Go with the one that works!  Be sure to bring the customer into your thinking about WCS in your brainstorming and testing.

Here are some examples of WCS in different businesses:

Lawnmowers:   Rain causes sales…it makes grass grow; manage it by forecasting rain by locale and then quadrupling your advertising only where it is raining!

Ski Resorts:  # of well-groomed acres and short lift-lines cause sales; so focus on more and better-groomed slopes as wll as lift-line management.

Everyday Retail:  Location, location, location!  You’ve heard that, but it’s conveniently-located, visible, and easy-ingress-and-egress plus demographics of your customers nearby; so focus on these!

Specialty Retail:  Here it’s best offering, most conveniently bought, gotten and used, with easy information / accessories / support.

Sporting Goods Distribution:  Industry practice dictates suppliers to retailers provide long-gun dating, so it’s the “flooring” of the retailer's inventory…but it’s also fill-rate and extra support and services provided.

Commercial Printing:  Here it’s expertise and access to truly expert (technically adept) salespeople.  Many businesses are like this, so it’s ongoing training of sales-personnel and customers plus the interpersonal skills of the salespeople.

Financial Services:   Customers want to be able to TRUST what they’re buying here…so personal referral is usually WCS.  Your company needs a “referral management system” here, including individual targets for salespeople with a tracking system (T52W Charts).

Hope these examples are useful to you:  in every case, WCS is really about getting to the SOURCE of the cause, almost always involving the impact on or perception of the customer.

With best business betterment wishes, Kraig