What Really Drives Sales Growth and Repeat Business? Hint: It's neither your prospects' ability to buy nor how great your product or service is.
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Have you ever analyzed what really drives sales in your business? Most people tie their answer to marketing or new leads. Those can be drivers but not the main driver for small businesses.
What causes one person to shop with you for years, driving out of their way to get to you, while the guy across the street won't set foot in your door? Typically, when I ask this question, I get feedback about how great the product and service is. When I ask why the guy across the street won't use you, I typically get some explanation of a lack of need or ability to buy.
Those answers can all be true, but that doesn't make any of them correct.
I have spent the last seven years studying these questions and searching for both the truth and the correct answer. Surprisingly, the right answer is far easier to understand than I thought it would be. Instead of you having to become an expert on the subject, I'll save you years and tell you what I found.
The truth and the correct answer.
If you want to drive sales growth and repeat business, it boils down to understanding and then implementing one strategy: Content builds relationships, relationships build trust, and trust equals sales. Think about that statement for a minute. It is true in your personal and business life right now.
Content builds relationships.
Since the dawn of man, how did we build relationships? We create content. If I found myself to be single tomorrow and on a date, I would work to build a relationship with the person I was dating by talking to them -- that is, by creating content.
In B2B sales for many years, people created content by having all the knowledge and telling sales prospects about the great features and benefits of new, amazing machines. Today, we create content for our websites and e-books, as well as for downloads or videos to post on YouTube.
Why do we do all of this? Simply put, content builds relationships. And if your customer is looking to purchase anything of significant value from you, you will first need a relationship to make that happen. Once we have a relationship, what happens?
Relationships build trust.
Most people don't fully trust someone they just met, regardless whether it is a business relationship or a personal one. Human nature is to give a little bit of trust and to see if someone is worth giving more trust to. In other words, make them earn it. This is why delivering, at a minimum, what you said you would is so vitally important.
This is where good customer service, the person who answers the phone or sits at the front desk, can make or break a new relationship. As the relationship continues, more and more trust is given; and if the experience remains positive, the amount of trust you get grows still more. As the trust in you grows, then what happens?
Trust equals sales.
The more a person trusts you, the more they will buy from you.
One bit of good news with all the competition that is popping up is that it is super easy to stand out, because there are so many poorly run companies and untrustworthy people in the world. All you have to do is do what you say you're going to do when you say you're going to do it. Also, treat people the way you'd want to be treated. Since so few will do that, it is not that hard to stand out from the pack.
Related: 5 Ways to Grow and Build Trust
Once a person has a relationship with someone, and they always get what they expect, changing from that person or business is not easy or even desirable. Because you gave good content, you created a relationship. Through that relationship you worked hard and developed trust and now, that trust you earned turns out money through, year after year. When you have 500; 1,000; 2,000; or 5,000 of those trusting relationships, they become assets of your amazing business.
If you've read me before, you may have heard me say that you should use a newsletter to build a fence around your customers. They will stay longer and spend more. Well, this is what I'm talking about. Had I been more sophisticated in my understanding of how all of this works seven years ago, I would have switched out the word "newsletters" for "content."
I tell people all the time that a newsletter isn't a magic tool. If anyone is selling you a magic solve-all-your-problems tool, you should run very far away and very fast. A newsletter is simply a vehicle to distribute content that builds relationships. It nurtures those relationships over time. You have to respect the relationship and earn trust by delivering on your product or services. If you don't, can't, or won't do that, you could deliver all the content and send all the newsletters, and it simply wouldn't matter one bit.
How to implement this in your business.
The challenge with any idea is implementation. With most ideas in business, you typically have four choices, and this one is no different.
You can do the following:
- Do nothing. This is what most people do, which is good news for you, because it is also what most of your competitors are doing. That makes it very easy to stand out.
- Do it yourself. Content has to be created, and maybe you're the best person to do that right now in your company.
- Hire an employee to do this for you. Of course, you could hire and train a content creation person and outsource editing, graphic design, etc.
- Find a company to help you implement this strategy.
Regardless of your decision, if you want to truly grow, or if you want to beat the competitor down the street, or if you want to increase the value of your company, it starts with this strategy: Content builds relationships, relationships build trust, and trust equals sales.
This leaves you with one thing to as you finish this article: Look back at the four options and make a choice.