Yesterday I met a friend at a coffee shop about 11 a.m. to discuss how we could work together to improve our businesses, my favorite topic. Once we sat down, we were served straight away — just a couple of drinks. We then became so involved in our discussion that before we knew it, two and a half hours had passed.

At this point we noticed that our empty cups hadn’t been taken away and we hadn’t been asked if we wanted something else to drink or eat. By this time it was 1:30 pm and we were both quite hungry and thirsty. There wasn’t a server in sight, so we finished up and left to go about our days. I went right to a takeaway shop down the road to buy lunch and a drink and to use their free wifi.

Whose fault is it that we didn’t have our lunch in the coffee shop? It must be at least partially the fault of the server and the management.

A Missed Opportunity to Grow Sales

Here was a missed opportunity by the coffee shop owners and staff to increase a sale by perhaps five times. We were both hungry and thirsty — and we were already customers. The hard work of getting us to overcome our inertia and come through the door had already been done. But we were never offered anything else. At the very least the shop would have doubled their sale by asking if we wanted another drink.

You see, the simplest way to instantaneously grow your sales and therefore your profits is to make an effective offer at the point of sale. Unfortunately, very few businesses use this powerful strategy effectively.

While this strategy can grow your business quickly and with very little risk, it’s not always the easiest strategy to implement well. There are at least five mistakes you should avoid if you want to grow your business using this strategy. They are:

1. No Offer

Your job is to help your customer get the best possible solution. This is where offering the chance to buy more of a product or a complementary product will help him or her get a better outcome — and boost your sales too.

We were hungry and thirsty in the coffee shop but we were so caught up in our conversation that we didn’t think about it. Asking us if we wanted something else to eat or drink would have generated a better outcome for both of us and for the coffee shop.

2. No Perceived Value

I was once at a service station that offered me a 4-cents-per-litre discount if I bought 2 bottles of water. The two bottles would have cost $6, and the discount I would have received would have been about $2. In effect I would have paid $4 for 2 bottles of water.

Since I never buy water, the offer had no value to me. The offer must add value and help your customers achieve their desired outcomes or they won’t be interested.

3. Lack Of Credibility

Some offers feel like the business is making the offer purely to get a sale. An offer must have a good, sensible reason behind it to create credibility in the mind of the buyer.

Trust is the number one reason people buy from a business. If you provide an offer that doesn’t help the customer achieve the best outcome, it’s going to feel to them like selling for the sake of selling and will be rejected. You’ll not only lose their trust but also lose any future business from them and their referrals.

4. Failure to Educate

You may have a great offer that’s going to help the customer, but it can lack credibility because they don’t understand the benefit. If they don’t understand how the offer makes it easier for them to achieve what they want from the purchase, the offer is going to lack credibility. You’re the expert in what you sell, and your customer probably isn’t going to buy the best product or combination of products without useful guidance.

Last week I bought a solar cover for our pool. I was offered a roller for the cover at a $30 discount. The whole offer was focused on the discount, but I thought I could save even more by not buying the roller at all. I passed on the offer and now regret it because I didn’t know how messy it is taking the cover on and off without the roller. I would have welcome the opportunity to be educated about the benefits and rather than the discounted price.

5. Inconsistency

Back when McDonalds always said “would you like fries with that?”, they did it consistently — so much so that it’s still part of our language today.

Consistency is a problem for many small businesses. When a business owner tells me that an offer worked for the first week or so and then stopped working, my first question is whether all staff are always asking consistently. More often than not, they aren’t.

Research shows that about 30 percent of customers say yes to an offer that provides them perceived value. The cost to businesses to make an offer is usually zero dollars, zero effort and zero risk. Yet simply making a valuable offer is a strategy rarely used to great effect by many small businesses. Are you missing opportunities?

I don’t want to waste an opportunity so here is my offer to you:

The ‘Offer at the Point of Sale’ Strategy that is mentioned above is one of seven strategies that I use working with businesses.

I’d like to invite you to take advantage of a free ‘Small Business Profits Demystified’ coaching session where we’ll work together to …

  • Discover the critical numbers that you must get right if you are going to create the ‘ultimate business success’.
  • Create effective and easy to implement strategies using the 7 strategies from our Small Business Profits Demystified Program to accelerate your profit growth.

If you’d like to take advantage of this very special and totally free 45 minute business coaching session please fill out the form below

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