Have you ever asked yourself, “When will my business finally take off? Newsflash!! Most towing business owners would admit to asking similar questions before they finally made it. When you first started your business, whether you inherited it or not, your goal, no doubt, was making it successful and watching it grow. There were things you did at first that sprouted your business. You got excited because you saw some results. You focused on getting customers in the door because you needed continued growth. You tried different techniques. Some techniques worked and some didn’t.
There are some simple and “user-friendly” techniques that you can do to generate sales and growth. Some of my favorite ones are listed here. Bear in mind that this list is only a snippet of what could help you increase your sales volume and are being discussed to get your “towing” creative juices flowing. What works for you might not work for someone else. Before introducing my short list, let’s review some activity that you might have done in the past to jump-start your business.
No doubt when you first started, you probably spent money carefully, rationing dollars between marketing ads, discount coupons, banner ads, giveaways, cold calling, etc. You purchased pens in bulk and your towing company’s name and phone number printed professionally. You had to get your name out there, and you did whatever it took to make it.
Now your situation has changed. You’ve had some success but you still want to more growth. You’ve discovered that your attention needs to be focused on building and maintaining relationships while you’re attracting new customers. A faithful clientele is always important for maintaining consistent sales. Keep building RELATIONSHIPS. Are there techniques that will keep your customers coming back in today’s market? Absolutely! And they’re easy to do too. How long has it been since you took pizza to a local company that gives you ALL of their tows? It really doesn’t have to be pizza each time. Donuts and coffee work well too! Maybe a small dollar amount gift card would be more convenient for them to get something between tows.
At one time my daughter managed a swimsuit store in a local mall. I questioned how they would make any money since the season for needing a new swimsuit is a short one. As she explained their sales process, I quickly discovered that they still sell swimsuits when snow blankets the ground. Besides selling swimsuits, the store offers other year-around goods. Every time she made a sale, Erin was required to ask a question or make a suggestion. Every sales associate was required to get each customer to buy 2 extra items for each purchase. Erin would comment, “You know, this swimsuit would look great with these sunglasses and this a cover would finish your beach ensemble.” They were making suggestions that the customer could ignore but most didn’t. I call this sales technique, UPSELLING. Open all year long, there were always customers buying something in that “seasonal” store. Erin had built a wonderful rapport with her customers and they trusted her judgment. Even fast-food restaurants use the UPSELLING technique with their questions that you’ve obviously responded to at some point. Familiar with these? “sandwich or meal?” or “want fries with that?” I personally know a towing company that towed everything for a landscape company as a result of their quick conversation with the landscaping firm. When the landscapers realized that the towers could pick up and deliver sod to their customers’ fasters than they could, it was a “no-brainer” for them to adapt to this technique. The sod was placed where it needed to be and the job was done faster. That proactive tower had found yet another way to utilize their assets to their benefit.
Some of us may not be a Fortune 500 company yet, but there’s no reason why we can’t use their Fortune 500 sales techniques. Consider running a Customer Reward Program where you give your customers a card to attach to their keychain. Every time they tow something, they receive more points toward spend-able dollars from the retailer. CVS uses this technique quite nicely along with retail stores, such as Carters and Kohl’s.
LISTEN. God knew what he was doing when He gave us 2 ears and only 1 mouth. We’re supposed to do more listening than talking. Use this technique to your advantage when your next customer comes into your store. Ask questions to find out what they really need so you can give the best possible advice. That way you’re perceived more as a consultant instead of a salesperson because you’ve listened, discovered what they need and offered a suggestion on what’s best to fill that need. The next technique is you’re not in this alone.
Your EMPLOYEES are in the business with you, so treat them right. Making them feel that they’re co-workers instead of employees. They buy into your company’s success because they feel more appreciated and valued as a co-worker to the company. Having a co-worker vs. employee mentality creates a safer, more effective environment for selling product or services. Being a co-worker empowers your team to do a better job. Reward co-workers for meeting a daily or weekly goal. The prize could be leaving work early on Friday or a gift card to a favorite restaurant. Overall, the next technique is probably the MOST important technique anyone can do but it takes work.
UNDER PROMISE AND OVER DELIVER. That’s right, “Under Promise and Over Deliver.” This phrase should definitely be part of your daily routine. In fact, post it on a BIG SIGN in DISPATCH as a daily reminder. Customers remember when they get LESS than they expected. If you feel you can’t deliver what you’re promising, it is better to promise less than deliver less than promised. Be on the lookout for unique ways to offer a customer more so they realize they’re getting more than what was expected. Maybe it’s only a matter of towing 2 vehicles at the same time rather than one.
Here’s a technique I’ve used for years. Most businesses thank their clientele at least once a year. It’s usually done at the end of the year with a New Years card. They’re already expecting those cards during those holidays but not Thanksgiving. Let’s surprise them by changing when we send “thank you” cards. Focus on being thankful for your customers during Thanksgiving instead of Christmas. You’ll beat other companies to the punch. I started this practice many years ago and haven’t changed it.
The Thanksgiving cards are bought in bulk and come pre-printed with my company name. I pick a nice short poem about customers. The envelopes are hand-addressed. No labels, please! Hand-addressing is more personal than slapping a label on the envelope. Furthermore, the customer is more likely to open the envelope when it’s hand-addressed because they think it’s a personal invitation to a party or an event. You might ask your sales consultant to add a special thank you to the cards of those customers they know personally. They should address them too.
Literally, hundreds of sales techniques are available at your fingertips to increase your sales volume. Be on the lookout for new suggestions. If you have a special sales technique that has helped you in the past, please share it with me. In the meantime, if you aren’t using any special sales techniques such as we discussed here, try at least one. You’ll be glad you did.
Until next time