Here’s an interesting thought, are you attractive enough to persuade prospects to buy from you? Small business owners are generally an optimistic group of people. They will often misjudge how attractive their business is to their prospects, believing it is far more attractive than the reality. Don’t let your optimism get in the way of winning more sales.
You can start to get a reality check by putting yourself in the shoes of your prospects. Look critically at your company, your products/services, your people and, yes, yourself. Do you like what you see? If you were the prospect, would you buy from a supplier that looks the way your company looks?
Your overall attractiveness to prospects is formed from many different aspects, not all of them relate to the capability of your product or scope of your service. For example, one key aspect is the attitude shown by your staff when they interact with a prospect. We have all set out to make a purchase and then encountered with a salesperson exhibiting a poor attitude. As a result, few of us bought anything.
Another factor is whether or not you turn up on time (and appropriately dressed) for meetings. Few of these issues will be so significant that they directly cause the prospect to reject your product/service. The factors are, however, all cumulative and each one adds to your prospect’s overall perception of your company.
This means that everything matters, right down to the smallest detail.
If prospects have visited your premises during their buying cycle, factors such as the welcome they received on arrival, how easy it was to park, how tidy your office/factory was and the level of cleanliness will all have an impact on their final decision.
All these small details need to be identified and addressed to ensure your prospects enjoy a positive experience whenever they interact with any part of your company.
Years ago, I was introduced to a concept called the company MOT assessment. It was designed to get business owners to think about the small (but important) elements of their business that might impact their sales campaigns. When applied to your prospects, concentrating on these small elements will give your prospect a good all-round feeling about your abilities. For existing clients, undertaking a regular MOT assessment can help maximise retention levels of these clients.
The MOT assessment (MOT stands for Moments of Truth) helps small business owners to get the important small things right. When I first encountered the MOT assessment, it was common to undertake the assessment using an external Consultant. The Consultant would perform the assessment independently of company management. A final report would be produced highlighting all shortcomings that needed addressing.
You can opt to undertake an MOT assessment in this way or perform the assessment yourself. Most small businesses will opt to try it out “in-house”. The assessment is easy to complete once you have identified all the factors to be assessed. Why not start in a simple way?
List about 20 separate factors and undertake an assessment using these as the initial framework. Improve in those areas where you score the lowest marks. Add another 10 new factors each time you revisit the assessment. If you perform an MOT assessment every 3 months, you will soon have a list of 60 factors under assessment.
By concentrating your attention on up to 60 factors that influence your prospect’s decision making, you can’t fail to improve. You will win more orders from both prospects and clients as you continually improve the areas in which you record the lowest-scores.
You can select whatever factors you wish to include in your MOT assessment. Some examples have already been mentioned. Others might be:
- Speed in answering incoming telephone calls
- Response times to email queries
- Are quoted shipping/delivery/installation times met?
- Ease of fault reporting
- Length of queues (if applicable)
- Ability to answer questions/solve problems the first time
- Keeping clients informed during fault fixing activities
- Ease of use of your website
- Accuracy of information on website
- Condition and cleanliness of delivery vehicles
None of these factors individually will cause your prospect or client to buy from you but taken together they will influence the actions they take. Your performance in these 60 factors will aggregate and may cause your prospect to hesitate before deciding to buy from you.
As I stated above, everything counts. Make sure you focus on the small details.
- Take a close look at your business in the same way a prospect might. Identify 20 initial points of detail you need to improve, based on the examples given above.
- Develop plans to improve your performance in these 20 areas and conduct an MOT assessment every few months to confirm the planned improvements are being implemented.
- Expand the scope of your MOT assessment every 3 months so you are driving improvements across the board. If you keep striving to improve every quarter, your competitors will soon be left far behind.