They say that experience is everything and it is very true, we all make mistakes but hopefully only once, but unfortunately a percentage of businesses do seem to make the same mistakes time and time again.
So if you are already in business you should have some historic information on previous sales. Too many companies just say that they want to increase their business by say 10% for the coming year!!! However they don’t consider changes in fashion, competitor activities, economic issues etc, etc….. Also don’t actually plan where that 10% increase will come from and also whether by cutting expenditure they actually need to increase sales in a tough market in order to retain existing profit levels.
Knowledge of your present customers, their likes, dislikes and future requirements should be a guide for future sales. However I hear you say how do we know what their future requirements are? By keeping in constant communication and not just contacting them when the selling time is here. I have often found that companies who have regular customers don’t actually bother while they are ordering and paying on time. But while you are ignoring them suddenly a competitor could have crept in through the back door and ‘stolen’ the possible new year sales. Customer Service is my bone of contention, customers are so important to your business so why oh why don’t businesses look after them.
If though you have a sales team that are close to your customers make sure they are gathering as much information as possible to help with planning. I find its often what they are not saying is more important as what they are saying!!!!
If you are introducing a completely new product group or service, but to the same kind of customers, your knowledge of their needs should be your prime source of information you use. However you may have to compete with other companies who are established in the market place and you may have to undertake your work to establish your Unique Selling Point and price positioning very carefully.
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