You've cut prices, you've refined your target customer base, you've increased your advertising and still --- business is so slow it's dangerous. The economy is not good, but other companies seem to be selling similar products and services. How are they able to survive (and yes, thrive) while your sales are tanking? They've focused on growing their businesses through their employees, instead of through their customers alone.
Successful companies have realized that if they better educate, train, and communicate with their employees on 'the business', their organization's bottom line will likely improve. Why? Better informed and better trained employees are able to generate sales. They're able to identify ways to improve processes, and to discover ways to reduce costs. Regardless of title or position, everyone in the organization can now contribute to growing 'the business'.
Every employee, at every level of your organization is a potential sales person. Every employee is a potential manager and leader. Every employee is a potential process engineer. But your employees can't reach their potential, until they've been given information, training, and guidance to make that potential a reality.
Who better to learn the entire production process than the people on the line? Why not teach them how enhancements to their process can positively impact the rest of the line?
Who better to learn project management than the people who have been gathering the data for the project? Why not teach them how to marry the data with real- world applications?
Who better to study the deep demographics of your customers than your front-line tellers? Why not teach them how to quickly identify customer segments and then use the appropriate cross-selling techniques?
At a bare minimum, if your employees wear company shirts, jackets, or uniforms, recognize that they are your passive sales team. They're walking billboards for your organization. Therefore, it's critical these employees understand 'the business' and can explain it to others.
I recently suggested to one of my clients that he and his senior staff wear their company shirts to any Rotary, Chamber, Lions, business or community function. The owner thought the idea was rather weak. However, that night he wore his company shirt to an after-work community fund-raiser. The woman he sat next to commented on his shirt. My client explained what his company provided, and walked away with her card. The next day, he followed up with her -- and received a large purchase order. My client has since scheduled more training for all of his employees, he now includes product and services briefings in his regular production meetings, and -- he's ordered more shirts!
Don't limit your growth by focusing exclusively on your customers. Leverage your business through your employees. 'Grow' your employees, and they'll grow your business.
Copyright MMIII Liz Weber, CMC, CSP - Weber Business Services, LLC.