Why to your retail store foot traffic is dropping and how to bring customers in

Getting foot traffic to retail stores is harder than ever. These are unique ways to attract customers to your shop.

Chocolate cookies can increase retail store foot traffic.
Chocolate cookies can increase retail stores foot traffic.

You know your sales go up the more your retail store foot traffic increases, but store visits are at an all-time low? Is everyone shopping for everything online now? Yes, they are.  71% of shoppers believe they’ll find better deals online.

The good news is that shoppers do still want an in-person experience as part of their buying process. And 94% of retail sales are still credited to brick-and-mortar stores. The bad news is that most retail shop owners are failing to create the experiences that attract customers to their location. With over 5,000 stores closed this year, can local retailers compete with e-commerce giant Amazon?
Want more creative ways to attract customers to your retail store? Download this free guide.

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Everything is different now. So here’s a list of unique ideas for retailers to boost foot traffic and increase sales in their brick-and-mortar stores.

Create curb appeal that increase retail store foot traffic

Humans are visual beings and it’s no secret that attractive and well-kept spaces invite people in, literally and figuratively. Use flowers and landscaping to create a store front so beautiful, people stop what they’re doing to come inside and check it out.

A compelling window display, like showing how a product is made can do wonders to grab the attention of people walking or driving by. The human brain is trained to detect movement, so an active demo can draw consumers into your retail store.

Bricks and mortar stores can offer amenities that online stores cannot

We’ve all had the experience of our phone charge being on single digits with no charging options in site. A unique, inexpensive and extremely valuable service you can provide customers is a charging stations. Promote this outside with a fun sign and you’ll draw people in easily. Plus, they’ll stay until their phones get a decent charge and the longer customers spend in your store, the more likely they are to purchase.

Offer ways your customers can recharge their personal “batteries” with a hydration station. Everyone needs water and if you add more options, like, tea, coffee and snacks, people will naturally want to step inside your shop. Attract more retail store foot traffic with chocolate chip cookies, granola and hot cocoa.

Have you ever been to a luxury car dealer and visited the customer lounge? Acura offers Starbuck coffee, water, sodas, fresh cookies, chocolate, chips, fruit and more. Lexus kicks it up a notch with a customer lounge experience that feels more like the VIP Admiral’s club than a car dealership. They have lots of seating with charging stations and a coffee and pastry bar that rivals any patisserie. Customers order the beverage and baked goodies of their choice and receive them at no charge. Sometimes there’s even a charming gift shop available for perusing while you wait.

The secret to increasing foot traffic to your retail store is to provide an amazing experience that makes customers want to come in and stay. It is all about creating incredibly positive customer experiences. And retail stores can do that so much better than e-commerce stores. Are you up for it?

Get the secret recipe for bringing more foot traffic into your retail store. FREE Guide!
Get the secret recipe for bringing more foot traffic into your retail store. FREE Guide!

13 powerful strategies to increase customer retention

Customer retention strategies deliver highest ROI
Customer retention strategies deliver highest ROI

Question: What is the source of highest profit sales? Most likely, it’s your current and past customers. Next question: What is your customer retention process?

You’ve already attracted these customers to your brand, built the know, like and trust factor and earned a purchase from them. You successfully converted a lead to a paying customer. And it cost you money to do that. Maybe a lot of money. How much less expensive is it to keep good customers than acquire new ones?

Download the free Lifetime Total Customer Value calculator so you can get the maximum ROI from each customers this month.

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A good customer retention plan has amazing ROI.

In an article posted on Entreprenuer.com, Eric Sui said,  “According to Bain & Company, it costs 7X more to attract new customers than it does to keep them. Additionally, if you retain just 5% of your customers annually, you can generate up to 125 percent more profits. Retention strategies truly pay off in the long run and help you build a sound business over time.”

I’ve outlined 13 keys you must have for your customer retention funnel to be effective so you can score more sales.

1. Make retention a top priority.

Prioritize the highest ROI activity your company does, which is most likely customer retention.

2. Measure life time value of customers.

Determine the life time value (LTV) of your average customers. The additional purchases, upgrades, replacements and referrals they send to you add up to a much bigger dollar amount than just the first purchase they make. Download this free LTV calculator here.

3. Provide amazing customer service

Have you noticed that even the cable companies want to “delight customers”? They finally get the importance of keeping current customers happy because it’s way less expensive to keep customers than to acquire new ones.

4. After the sale nurturing

Create a system for following up after the sale at regular intervals. Depending on your business, that may be a week after the sale or a month. Pay attention to how your customers are engaging with your brand, it’s product and services. Respond quickly to customers. Always. A good customer retention funnel has as process that everyone who touches the customers uses to continue nurturing the relationship after the sale. Continue delivering high value content and service and you’ll score more sales.

5. Budget for customer retention marketing

Since the ROI on keeping customers is so much higher than on acquiring new ones, it makes sense to assign some budget to marketing efforts aimed at retention.

6. CRM

Without a good CRM, your customers may be on the business end of an ill-timed phone call from an inside sales rep pitching an upsell, when that customer is currently threatening to leave if a dire problem isn’t solved. Not a good customer retention play.

Since the beginning of CRM time, having a 360 degree view of the customer so that companies could avoid this type of mistake has been the goal. You can’t manage an effective customer retention funnel without a good CRM.

7. Communicate frequently

Your customers want to feel valuable after they’ve spent money with you. Communicate with them frequently to show you care. Birthday greetings, holiday messages, news and updates are great ways to show them you care. Remember to only email customers who have opted into your email list.

8. Engage on social media

Social media is the equal opportunity soap box everyone can use to rave or complain about their experiences with a company. Monitor social media and quickly respond to any complaint. Also, quickly thank customers who sing your praises. You can also use social media to ask your customers about what’s important to them and nurture relationships.

9. Convert complaints into opportunities

Everyone remembers the companies that handle their complaints with such concern for making the situation gone wrong into an experience that feels right. It’s interesting that what’s memorable is how great it felt to the customer that the brand went above and beyond to solve the problem, and not what went wrong in the first place. Be a hero to your customers when they complain and watch that same customer become your advocate.

10. Create a customer loyalty program

Rewarding customers for their patronage is a great way to develop their loyalty. Provide added value, special promos or offers that your customers want. The rewards need to be easy to earn and redeem. Keep things simple. Score more sales by rewarding your current customers and nurturing them to send referrals.

11. Host an event

Show your customer appreciation by hosting an event. An open house, after hours event or guest lectures can provide powerful incentives for your customers to spend more time with your company. Having fun and feeling valued has a way of bonding people tighter together. Events work whether they are virtual, like a podcast or live, like an open office social gathering.

12. Corporate social responsibility

Many customers choose to buy from brands that give back over brands that don’t. If your company already has a corporate social responsibility (CSR) program, share progress and successes with your customers. If not, get one. Select a cause that is consistent with your brand and aligns with your customers’ values and interests.

13. Upsell and resell

Since you’re paying attention to how your customers are using the products or services they purchased from your company, you’ll know what’s important to them. When the time is right, offer and upgrade or replacement product that has high value and will help your customer achieve their goals.

Email marketing with calls to action and free demos or trials, just like regular marketing campaigns. Incent the customer to try new add ons, upgrades and eventually replacement purchases, in some industries.

Lifetime Value of Customer Calculator
Lifetime Value of Customer Calculator

 

Why getting referrals is harder than ever – how to get them now

Getting referrals is harder than it used to be. If 87% of happy customers intend to refer, why don’t they? What happened? Media changed, culture changed and how people interact has changed. We receive 105,000 words in 12 waking hours- 23 words per second! With 34 gigabytes a DAY coming in to us, our brains are full.

People have a hard time remembering everything they need to do for their own business. So they can’t remember to do something for your business too. Like send you a referral. And this is the problem – Getting top of mind awareness is harder than ever. The solution is to have a simple process for asking for referrals – and use it.

Download my free 3-step plan for getting more referrals.

We are competing with more messages than ever. Even when people INTEND to refer, they often forget. Successful businesses use an easy to follow process to convert those good intentions into sales.

Getting referrals isn’t just good for our business

Here’s the thing about getting referrals – it’s a way people give too. People love to help other people. And they love being a go-to resource for their friends. Who are we to deny them the joy of sending their friends to us?

People naturally enjoy connecting with others we know, like and trust. We rely on our relationships with others for referrals and recommendations. We feel good about ourselves when we help each other and when we are a resource others seek for recommendations.

In his blog post, “87% of your customers will give referral, if you just ask“, Michael Boyett suggests asking “for a specific introduction. Example: ‘Bill, I’ve wanted to connect with Martha Smith but haven’t had much success. You mentioned working with her. Would you be willing to introduce me to her?’

You know Bill knows Martha, so you are not wasting Bill’s time, but asking to connect. Think of the time and energy you’ll save.”

Ask for the introduction and if it’s appropriate, ask for the referral. Embed this into your customer experience and watch your business grow.

Whatever method you use for getting referrals, I encourage you to include these key elements:

  • Commit to consistently executing the plan
  • Hold yourself accountable
  • Regularly evaluate your referral process and improve it
Getting referrals can be as easy as 123
Download free 3-step template for turning on the flow of referrals from happy customers.

 

 

Entrepreneur Success Starts with Step 1 – Respect

Part 1 of 5 in the RAISE Sales System blog post series for entrepreneur success.

Are you an entrepreneur who struggles with sales? If so, you’re not alone. Entrepreneur success requires strong sales skills and this struggle is a common problem that many business owners have. Entrepreneurs wear a lot of different hats and for most, selling isn’t their strongest skillset.

Respect the prospect - entrepreneur success
Entrepreneur success requires RESEPCT, step 1 in the RAISE sales system

One of the secrets to entrepreneur success is knowing how to ask for and close the sale. In this 5 part blog series, I’m going to share my signature sales system, RAISE.  I created this 5-step strategy RAISE from my 25+ years of experience across multiple industries and teach it in workshops and when doing sales coaching with clients. This is the sales process entrepreneurs and sales professionals use for dramatically increasing sales.

Download free ebook “17 Sales Hacks to Close More Sales”

RAISE is the word that is spelled out by the first letter of each of the steps in the system. This post is about the first step and each post in this series will reveal subsequent steps in the RAISE system.

The R in RAISE is for respect and I love starting with respect because this is where a relationship building begins. This is where developing the know, like and trust factors starts, so you can advance to asking for the sale.

Entrepreneur success secret #1 is Respect

You can’t close the sale if you’re no longer in the conversation. Respecting the prospect will keep you in the conversation longer than asking for the sale before they are ready to buy.

First of all, respecting where the customer actually is, and not where you wish they were in the buying process is vital to entrepreneurs success. It’s super essential to be aware of where your prospect is where their heads at what they care about where they are in the sales or buying process.

Two Ears and One Mouth for a Reason

One example is at a networking event or a party. You have connected with somebody and they did most of talking, while you do a lot of listening. At the end of the conversation, they say, “You’re a great conversationalist!” And you think to yourself, “I said so very little and you did all the talking!” There’s a reason people say we have two ears and only one mouth for a reason:-)

Why is it that the person who did the listening is a great conversationalist? Because human beings love to feel heard. When we show consideration for people and actively listen to them, they FEEL respected and valued. Plus, we find out what is important to them and that knowledge fuels our own entrepreneur success. All of this goodness also allows us to build the know, like and trust factors.

Success Story Using Respect to Sell

Now I’ll share with you an example of how amazing the Respect step is for entrepreneurs to succeed. In the late 80s, I sold construction equipment in Florida, working for the only companies in the country that had female sales. I was calling on construction sites throughout Southwest Florida and I wasn’t always welcomed. One general contractor was using the old-style, less cost effective and more dangerous scaffolding on a project that was a prime candidate for using a boomlift. He wasn’t interested in hearing about a new technology solution from a woman who he perceived didn’t know anything about construction.

How I Cracked the Tough Prospect

If I was going to have any shot at selling this customer a boomlift, I knew I needed to get creative. I realized I needed to respect where he was, no where I wanted him to be.

Since I knew he felt competent as a general contractor, I asked him about the project. He was happy to talk about it. After listening, I offered to deliver the boomlift the next day at no charge to him. If at the end of the day, he found the equipment effective, he could keep it and pay only for the rental for the rest of the time he used it. If not, I’d pick it up and charge him nothing. No risk for him.

When I called this customer at the end of the day, he told me I could leave the boomlift.  I had the sale without ever asking for it. What is important to know, is that I respected where this customer this prospect was and stayed in the conversation. When building a relationship with a prospect, starting with respecting where they are and what they value is the best first step. R is for Respect and entrepreneur success depends upon it.

Download your free eBook “From Cold to Sold” and get the 17 secrets for converting more leads to customers.

How to accelerate lead nurturing and turn on the flow of referrals

Part 2 of the Secret Weapon: Referral partners can amplify your sales.

You’ve asked, listened and begun nurturing those new contacts. Awesome! Want to learn what will speed the relationship developing process along faster so you can convert contacts into referral partners?

Here’s how to crank up your list of referral partners: Follow up until they “Buy or Die”!

80% of sales require seven follow-ups (and that number keeps climbing)   [Source: Scripted]
44% of salespeople give up after one follow-up  [Source: The Marketing Donut]

So, if you’re an entrepreneur looking to attract more clients, these numbers are eye-opening. This means it’s likely your competition won’t follow up as often as you will if you commit to five times. BOOM! Advantage, you!

Download the free 3 Step Plan to get more referral partners.

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If you’re a job seeker, this underscores the importance of persistence. While no one wants to be a pest, it’s in your best interest to follow up multiple times. Some HR experts say, “Follow up until they buy or die.”
People are just too busy to remember who they talked to and what action they promised. Those who rely on new contacts to do the follow-up are guaranteed disappointing results. Instead, proactive professionals who make a point to reconnect after introductions impress and succeed.

Staying connected is how you’ll nurture and build this relationship, so call or email with a brief message about how much you enjoyed talking with them and that you’d like to stay in touch. Mention something specific they talked about. Ask what social media they prefer and connect with them on those channels. LinkedIn is a given for most professionals, but find out if they like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest also. Most people have a couple of go-to channels they like.

People are more likely to respond to social media than an email, so take advantage of that and meet them where they are. Showing social love to your contacts will accelerate you rapidly towards your goal of accumulating referral partners to grow your business. Public admiration and validation is pure gold!

Check out my post “5 ways to get free leads on LinkedIn” and “Promote Your Business with Instagram” for specific tips.
You now have a platform for nurturing that new business relationship and expanding your network. Repost things they post, make comments (positive and insightful) and make sure you do it within the first week, and then every couple of weeks after that.
Network like a pro and watch the job opportunities and sales flow in, right? There’s a little more to it than that, of course. Once you have the strong referral network in place, you need to know how to ask for the referrals.

When you’re ready to build a full pipeline of referral partners, consider a the RAISE online sales course.

Learn more about RAISE online course

Referrals: the secret weapon used by the world’s most successful business owners

Part 1 of 2 in a series.

Quick question: Which is more important for professional success?
A) What you know
B) Who you know

If you answered B), you already know a lot. But who you know isn’t much help for advancing your career or business if you don’t have skills. Having knowledge is far more likely to lead to success if other people realize you have it than if you secretly have them. So really, the answer is A) and B), in that order. Knowing people is great for building referral partnerships, but it won’t get you a job or sales leads without some talent and ability.
And have amazing skills in a vacuum won’t make you successful.

Do you find yourself stressed out when you think about making sales calls? Many people fee frustrated when they realize they need to build a strong network, have no idea where to begin. It can be a little like the “How do I get experience if I don’t have experience yet?” syndrome.

Download free ebook “From Cold to Sold” 17 secrets to getting more customers

Some people are naturally gifted in the art of networking and some are not. Guess what? That’s totally ok! We are all different, which is what makes the world an interesting place. There’s no reason to feel badly about yourself if you don’t already have relationship building skills honed to a fine point. We can’t all be ace at everything. (For example, don’t ask me to file your taxes. Orange is definitely not my best color and I doubt it’s yours.) If you aren’t the best at relationship and network building, don’t worry. Skills can be learned.
So, what are the 3 steps you can take to build highly successful business relationships and bring referrals flowing into your business?

1. Ask. Be intensely curious about people. Ask a lot of questions about what they do, what they like to do, what success looks like for them, what their challenges and problems are. Ask what they enjoy most and least about their work. People love to talk about themselves, so this is easier than you might think.

Specifically ask them about their goals and concerns. Sample questions:
What’s the most important goal you’re working towards right now?
What’s your greatest challenge with achieving it?
What keeps you up at night?
Their answers will give you some insight to what they care about and the problems they are trying to solve. We’ll come back with what to do with the answers in tip 3.

To get 17 hacks for generating and converting leads, download my eBook, “From Cold to Sold” here.

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2. Listen. Have you ever tried the experiment of listening more than you speak in a conversation? If you have, did the person you were “talking” with say, “You are so easy to talk to”? If not, try it out sometime. The results can be a fascinating illustration of how much value people place on sharing and feeling heard. It’s not a bad thing that we like focusing on our own experiences and telling others about them. It’s a human thing. When you’re building a network of relationships with humans, understanding this quality is invaluable. We are wired to connect and share our thoughts, ideas, feelings and experiences with people. And that happens to be awesome for networking.

3. Nurture. Once you’ve met someone and discovered what they value and established some rapport, the most important step to adding them to your network, is to follow-up with them. I cannot emphasize the importance of following-up enough. Have I mentioned how essential the follow up is?

Look for part 2 of this blog post next week and discover exactly what you can do to accelerate relationship nurturing and turn on the flow of referrals into your business.

 

Follow up is the gold – From cold to sold to convert leads to sales

6 step process for follow-up after meeting a new contact
How to follow-up after making new contact.

Nice to meet you, now what. The steps you need to take to follow-up and convert those new contacts into customers produce the gold.

Well done. You went out there and connected with some new people. Networking can feel daunting and you did it anyway! And, now what? What’s the secret to converting that new contact into a referral relationship or customer? Knowing what to say and how to say it without sounding cheesy can be a challenge too.

Download this free eBook to get more ideas on how the pros follow-up and get more customers. “From Cold to Sold” 17 sales secrets for converting more leads to customers.

If you need to repeat it, automate it, as they say. So here’s the 6 step process I use and can recommend for you.

Follow-up is SO valuable for converting sales

  1. Always send a quick thank you email or text the same day or the next day at the latest. This shows respect for the other person’s time by prioritizing a follow up to the conversation right away. It is more important to send this quickly, rather than for it to be a comprehensive or long email.
  2. Be yourself. Authenticity is always a good approach. To pretty much everything. So, it’s not surprising that follow-up emails are no different. Since people feel good when you listen to them, include something key you heard the contact you just met say. Use your own “voice” and keep it professional. That doesn’t mean uptight, just respectful.
  3. Make a positive observation about the person, company or project that this contact mentioned. For example, comment on how you can see this work achieving the goals or being successful. This is more good evidence of your effective listening skills and which creates the know, like and trust factors
  4. Summarize the action items you agreed to do and include any you can in this email. So, if your follow-up action requires more time or a separate email, outline how and when you will complete it.
  5. Thank your new contact for the action items they offered. Because appreciation is always smart and it can be a helpful reminder to busy people who’s intentions are good and who’s schedules are full. They feel valued. And that is more know like and trust development:-)
  6. Connect with your new contact on LinkedIn, Twitter and perhaps Facebook. You’re building your network and broadening that connection to social media channels is too important to miss. 

Ready for more ideas on how to use follow-up to close more sales?

Need more customers? Download free! “From Cold to Sold”, the ebook with 17 secrets for getting more customers.

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Now that you know the 6 steps to turn your follow-up into gold, go out there and convert more sales!

Do you have suggestions for making the follow up after making a new connection even better? Bring it! I’d love to see it, so share your comments below.

The 1 social media thing to do today to grow your business

How to get social media focus
Knowing how to get social media focus so you can grow our businesses can be overwhelming.

How to get social media focus – We are faced with endless options for posting on several social platforms.

Easier said than done, right? Raise your hand if you feel overwhelmed by social media sometimes. It’s SUPER common!

There’s so much we CAN do on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn (to name a few social platforms) that entrepreneurs can feel paralyzed, like a deer in the headlights. How do we get social media focus?  Building a network of referral partners is one smart use of social media.

And this can be a really good use of your social media time, depending on your business. Download my free 3-step plan for getting more referrals.

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Just because we CAN do it, doesn’t mean we SHOULD do it. The key is social media focus. I like to use lists to visualize and prioritize my tasks.  Whether you like lists, graphics or some other way to organize your “To Dos”,  I highly recommend you do that so you can get clarity on what social media activity is most important for driving growth for your business. What’s the one thing you can do that will attract more customers today?

I’ll give you some help. You’ve heard it said often that brands need to deliver value with their content. That’s true, no matter what form the content takes. Social media is included. Entertain, inform or do both is the content marketing credo. Since the goal of content is to build the know-like-trust factor, I suggest you run each post you’re considering through that filter.

Does the social post help audiences to know, like and trust you? If so, is the content valuable and/of entertaining.

My suggestion is to put all of your social media focus on post ideas. Look through these filters and then you’ll have a short list of good branding, rapport-building and value-adding content. Once you have the short list, review it to determine which social post is most likely to attract new clients. That’s the one to post.

Declutter your mind and calendar by focusing only on this one post. Use your favorite social media management app (I use Hootsuite) to optimize when you post on each social platform. Remember to answer questions and like and reply to comments to get the most mileage out of your post too.

Download my free 3-step plan for getting more referral

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