Charles Hutchins, Columnists, V4I2

Slow Down to Go Faster

Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe said, “Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.” How true this statement is.

It seems that we live in a world filled with distractions and forces that are pulling us in a million directions, keeping us from focusing on the one or two money-making activities that really drive sales in the shed industry. It seems there is more and more piled on that we believe “simply must get done.” We have become overbooked, overextended, and overcommitted at a time when we need to prioritize, to slow down to go faster.

I have a passion for sharing my success habits with others that I have learned in my 22 years in the shed industry. I recently had the pleasure of speaking to a shed manufacturer in Ohio about the 10 Core Commitments for Success in Shed Sales, a presentation that I created to help others increase their sales by taking a few simple actions.

For whatever reason, after this particular presentation, I felt that I could condense it down and concentrate on just three of my core commitments that are most responsible for creating sales. I
applied the Pareto Principle, which states that 20 percent of the invested input is responsible for 80 percent of the results obtained.

Activity is often unrelated to productivity, and busyness rarely takes care of business. I encourage you to slow down to go faster by prioritizing and practicing the following actions in order to be more productive. Remember the Pareto Principle: The majority of what you want will come from the minority of what you do (20 percent of input accounts for 80 percent of the results). I strive daily to do the following:

1. Go to work every day with enthusiasm, ready to help your customers.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.”

I encourage you to start the day with the right mindset that you are going to help people enthusiastically with their storage needs, no exceptions.

2. Track your leads.

One of my mentors told me early on that in order to lead the pack, you have to track your leads. Fortunately for me, I made it a habit from the start to keep an active prospect list and it has paid
huge dividends. I have found that once the prospect leaves my business after stopping by, it takes an average of five to seven “touches” in order to turn that prospect into a customer. I “touch” ( for
lack of a better word) the prospect by sending texts, emails, or calling them.

The great news is that a high percentage of prospects actually choose the very first company that contacts them back after they have shopped around because prospects are seldom followed up on.
Notice that I said they choose the first company, not the best, not the cheapest, but the first. The fortune is in the follow up, so I highly encourage you to track your leads daily and follow up consistently.

3. Ask for customer referrals.

I can tell you from experience that asking my customers for referrals has increased my sales more than anything else. In my experience, each customer is worth three to five referrals. This is huge considering that if each customer referred someone that turned into a sale, you would double your business. What if each customer shared two referrals? You can see where this is going.

I always follow up with my customer after their structure is delivered to check in with them about their experience. Most always they love everything about the transaction. I then ask them, “Who
else do you know that could use my services?” Usually without hesitation, they start sharing names with me and are delighted when I tell them that I will pay them for any referral they give me that turns into a sale.

Make it a goal to create as many cheerleaders in the marketplace for you as you possibly can by providing a great customer experience. Start a referral program that allows your customers to earn money for simply referring you. Follow up with each customer two to three times during the year to stay fresh on their minds and you will see an increase in your business.

The next time you feel overwhelmed, just slow down to go faster by concentrating on the two or three actions that produce the biggest results.

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