Bigging it up: maximising the value of a sale


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How do you see the sales process? Some people see sales as one-off interactions and, to increase sales, they feel they need to increase the number of these interactions. In fact, the best (and easiest) way to increase sales is to maximise the value of each one.

Mind you, this means viewing things differently. Instead of seeing each sale as a single interaction, one needs to consider the lifetime value of each customer. And once you start to engage with your customers in this way, you’ll find that you get more profitable sales, more easily and for the long-term.

shutterstock_Sales increase

So, what does this involve? It’s useful to consider the following.

1. Understand the big picture

A clear understanding of the big picture is critical. Human beings are programmed to enjoy pleasurable or useful experiences and to avoid harmful ones. Most people approach a sales experience combatively. The customer knows he has to be on his guard and as canny as possible otherwise the sales person or the company selling the products and services may give an unfavorable deal. It’s little wonder, then, that the customer is so guarded and interprets each on of these sales experience as a battle to the best deal.

2. Genuinely meet requirements

Next, it’s important to not just understand the requirements, but to also act on them. For example, if a company has too much of a certain stock and wants to get rid of it quickly, it may hold a sale. This sale doesn’t really benefit the customer unlike, say, a 10% sale across all items.

3. Negotiate fairly

Most customers dislike intense negotiation. They feel that they will be taken advantage of because sales people are well versed in negotiation techniques. In truth, they feel like this because this is usually the outcome. However, if you start to look at the lifetime value, you may prefer the customer to have a higher level of control and fairness. This means not applying any of the usual tactics learnt by sales people. You want your customer to feel s/he has had a fair deal.

4. Extreme Service

Some suppliers feel that the more they can reduce the costs of the services they deliver, the more efficient and better their company is running. Sadly, this is very short-sighted. By and large, people who receive incredible service not only spend more themselves more frequently, but they’ll also recommend you and your services to their friends and families, leading to more long-term customers.

5. Stay close

Finally, think more of your customers as close friends than long-lost relatives. With friends you make the effort to know how they are, what they like and what’s changing in their lives. Usually, businesses treat their customers as distant relatives whom they meet when they have no option or when they need something. When treated as such, customers are highly unlikely to feel appreciated or approachable!

If you’re not maximizing the value of each of your sales, you’re possibly missing a trick. Stop seeing each sale as a one-off event, and start to consider it as the beginning of something. The start of a beautiful friendship, perhaps?

Heather Foley is a consultant at


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