As year-end approaches, many business owners and their people slow down dramatically as they crawl across the finish line. Who can blame them? It's been a tough year for businesses, and people everywhere appear to be running out of steam. However, the year is not over. You've got two months to end on a strong note. So what are you waiting for?
Here are some ideas for boosting your top-line this year:
Connect with your customers
People buy based on emotion, not logic. Don't believe me? Then why aren't we all driving four-door sedans? Car dealerships are masters at getting people to purchase sleek sports cars, even if customers can't get out of those cars without assistance. "Wow! You look so young in that car!" is often the first thing you hear the salesperson say. Take a trip over to Nordstrom's and you'll hear the salesperson in shoes telling the customer how the heel on a particular shoe she is trying on makes her look thinner. My goodness. Who wouldn't want to look thinner? I'll take two!
Are your frontline people connecting with your customers, or are they too busy connecting with Facebook friends? Are they having conversations that enable your customers to emotionally connect with your products and services, or are they running through a list of features and benefits that would bore an actuary?
When hiring, it's important to seek people who are passionate about the services and products that you produce. If you want to raise fourth quarter revenues, then replace those employees that are no longer excited about being in your business with those who are enthusiastic participants. Those that are engaged will promote your business without being asked.
Raise your prices
People believe they get what they pay for. A perfect example of this is when parents select pre-schools. Most parents don't believe that their children will get the best care and education at the least expensive place in town. Nor do they believe that the cheapest car seat will keep their precious cargo safe. You rarely hear CEO's brag about bringing in a low-cost consultant to work on a critical company initiative. But you do hear CEO's talk about the time they worked with a consultant who cost a fortune, but was worth every penny.
Raise your prices and increase the quality of your service. Yes, some customers will leave you. However, that's not a bad thing, as most likely you have no relationship with these customers and they would have left the moment a better offer came along. These people may also be costing you more than you think. It's the people we have no relationship with that make the most demands. If your people are jumping through hoops to please demanding customers, then they aren't available to provide top service to those who are willing to pay for it.
Reward and recognize strong performance
Employees are operating under the assumption that there will be no raises or bonuses this year and have stopped exerting extra effort. But what if your revenues suddenly started to soar? Would this still be the case? It's not too late to create a short-term bonus program or implement contests to increase productivity and boost revenues for this year.
Be creative. Offer additional time off over the holidays when you've reached a particular milestone. Raffle off dinner and a movie every day that you exceed your sales goals. Go totally wild and offer employees the opportunity for growth and development by sending them to a conference or assigning them a mentor or coach.
Tap into your natural resources.
It's tough being the one who always has to come up with ways to grow the business. But it doesn't have to be that way if you are willing to tap into the natural resources that are part of your organization. Employees all over the world are waiting for CEOs to come to them for advice on how to increase revenues. Yet few CEOs bother to ask, and many that do ask fail to implement the ideas that have been shared.
Make November "take an employee to lunch" month. Invite top performers to lunch and ask them what they believe the company can do to improve performance. Take a walk through your building and ask employees who are responsible for producing your products and services what you can do to improve your offerings. Take the best ideas and implement them. Don't forget to give credit to those who just helped you increase your top-line growth in the bottom half of the year.
© 2011 Human Resource Solutions. All rights reserved.
Roberta Chinsky Matuson is the President of Human Resource Solutions (www.yourhrexperts.com) and author of the highly acclaimed book Suddenly in Charge: Managing Up, Managing Down, Succeeding All Around, Sign up to receive a complimentary subscription to Roberta's monthly newsletter, HR Matters.