maximise the average sale per customer – part 2

Further to previous articles in this series, here are five more tips for – maximising the average sale per customer in 2021. 

As with the first series of tips, this series also points to the significant potential and relatively simple processes for maximising the value of every transaction. 

  1. To maximise the average sale – think strategically about your strategy.

It is perhaps not surprising that 66% of small businesses rate acquiring new customers as their number one priority. However, it is interesting to note that no businesses rated the average sale per customer as the number one priority.

Another study found that 70% of businesses rate revenue as their number one priority, with 60% saying that new customers are the key to increased revenue. No one discussed the average sale per customer.

This is consistent with the Australian obsession with advertising and communication more broadly. 

The fact is – attracting new customers is of critical importance, but so are the average sale per customer, repeat business rates and referral (online and offline). Once the customer has been secured, the only way to maximise the return on the investment to date, which is often substantial, is to maximise the average sale per customer and deliver a level of customer satisfaction that maximises repeat business and referral rates.

It is essential to:

  • Know your average sale per customer
  • Monitor your average sale per customer 
  • Drive the average sale per customer

The average sale per customer is central to arguably the most important metric in business today – the lifetime value of a customer. Focusing on and driving the average lifetime value of each customer is the key to maximising the return on the investment in advertising and communication more broadly.

Despite this, I cannot recall seeing a strategy that directly addresses the lifetime value of customers, let alone the strategy required to maximise this lifetime value.

In terms of the average sale per customer, this involves maximising:

  • The value of the initial purchase
  • The frequency of purchases 
  • The value of ongoing purchases

Furthermore, if the value of the initial sale can be maximised, along with customer satisfaction, it will become easier to maximise the value of ongoing transactions. 

INSIGHT – Ensure that your marketing strategy directly places the highest possible importance on the average sale per purchase and purchase frequency. 

 

 

  1. To maximise the average sale – think strategically about your communication.

Maximising the average sale per customer requires listening to customer needs, identifying pain points, and matching needs and pain points to the product’s qualities and value propositions. That said, it is also important to articulate.

Communication is central to every sales process. It is fundamental to maximising the average sale per customer, which, in turn, is a critical element in maximising profitability. Communication involves:

  • Listening
  • Articulating 

The importance of listening, often under-recognised, has been addressed in a THOUGHT earlier in this series. The focus here is on articulation.

Over the years, I have undertaken numerous surveys for clients intending to determine how to increase sales. This has included B2B and B2C clients involved in the sale of both goods and services. More often than not, these surveys have highlighted that the clients surveyed and the prospects were not fully aware of the range of goods or services available from the organisation.

The clients were often amazed to find out that their communication with their customers had been such that those customers did not understand the full range of products or services on offer – let alone the value propositions associated with those products or services. The fact is, people tend not to buy what they are not aware of.

Ensuring that customers are aware of all the products and services available is central to maximising the average sale per customer. It is also critical to ensure that they understand the value propositions involved in purchasing these products and the added value associated with purchasing multiple goods or services.

Supporting this, a survey in the United States found that:

  • The most successful salespeople talk for 54%of a sales call
  • The least successful salespeople speak for 42% of the sales call

Explaining the range of products and services on offer is essential.

In the retail environment, merchandising can be an important tool for communicating the goods and services on offer, how they work together, and how they can address customers’ pain points and needs. 

The average sale per customer may be further improved by communication that drives an understanding – not just of the goods and services on offer – but of the benefits of buying from the full range available.

INSIGHT – Highlight the added value and benefits associated with purchasing in addition to the core purchase, a more comprehensive range of goods and services.

  1. To maximise the average sale – think strategically about your customers.

There is nothing more important in business than the customer. The customer is the key to profitability. Maximising the average sale per customer can impact that profitability directly.

An important factor impacting the average sale per customer is the experience that surrounds the sale process. Recent research in the United States addressed the factors that affect the quality of the customer experience as identified by customers. The top four factors were:

  • Listening – 69%
  • Not’ pushing’ – 61%
  • Information – 61%
  • Rapid responses – 61%

These findings serve to highlight several critical issues:

  • The importance of understanding the customer and building the sales process around the customer
  • The importance of asking critical questions and providing the information that answers those questions
  • Not being too pushy and helping the client through the sales process rather than trying to push them into a sale
  • Providing the highest possible standard of service – responding quickly and efficiently to all questions and needs

This study highlights the importance of shaping the sales process around the customer in a way that addresses the customer’s needs. Developing an approach to sales that focuses on the customer is central to maximising the average sale per customer.

Research suggests that wherever possible, and to the extent possible, the customer experience and the sales process should be customised and personalised. Listening is undoubtedly a key to being able to tailor the sales process. This also impacts a customer’s feeling of significance and importance – a point addressed in last week’s series on repeat business and referral.

The critical point here is that a customised experience that meets or exceeds customer expectations can significantly impact the average sale per customer. It can create an environment where sales staff can work with customers to maximise the average sale per customer.

INSIGHT – Deliver a customer experience that addresses customers’ expectations by creating an environment that allows the average sale per customer to be maximised.

  1. To maximise the average sale– think strategically about price.

Australian businesses are absolutely addicted to competing on price. It is commonplace to advertise price, to demonstrate a predisposition towards competitive pricing, a propensity for claiming the ‘lowest price’, and a habit of blaming cheaper alternatives when sales are below expectations.

Four things can be said about this obsession with price:

  • Price is important – to no small extent because of the emphasis business puts on it
  • There is no doubt that in some product categories, the lowest price can win
  • Price is rarely the key to increasing margins
  • Lower prices are not always the key to increasing sales

 

Over the past 12 months, I developed and helped implement two strategies where sales increased when prices increased. This involved repositioning the brand as a well-priced premium product rather than a more expensive mid-range product in both cases.

In both cases, increasing the price (along with some promotional material) changed the brand’s perception. This, in turn, influenced the amount that customers were prepared to pay. 

Not surprisingly, this had a direct impact on the average sale per customer and on profitability.

The fact is, price can be used as a tool in judging the perception of the product. Increasing the price, if supported, can, and very often does, impact the perception of a brand.

Valid or not – price can be an indicator of value for many, if not most, consumers.

Additionally, there is a plethora of evidence to suggest that customers are happy to pay more under certain circumstances. One such study in 2018 found that 50% of people aged 40 – 44 are prepared to pay more for brands they believe to be socially responsible. This highlights the fact that some people are ready to pay for added value – and in the case of being perceived as socially responsible, the added value might cost nothing to deliver. Other studies suggest that this applies to the majority of people across the board. 

Where a higher price can be justified and presented appropriately (an issue to be discussed at length in an upcoming series on price), it can be used to increase the average sale per customer and margins and overall profitability.  

The variable of price is far more complex than many businesspeople realise. Viewing price in the traditional one-dimensional way is not supportive of maximising the average sale per customer.

INSIGHT – Add value, at a cost or no cost, that can help to reposition the brand and your business, and in doing so, attract a higher price and drive up the average sale per customer.

  1. To maximise the average sale – think strategically about human resources.

Maximising the average sale per customer should be a key focus of most marketing strategies. The salespeople who interact with the customer whose sale is maximised are central to increasing the average sale per customer. 

Without the right people with the right skills, the right attitude, and the right understanding in sales positions, it is simply not possible to maximise the average sale per customer.

A recent study found that 60% of salespeople believe that they can identify customer pain points and match the value proposition to those pain points. This finding leads me to ask two questions:

What about the other 40%?

To what extent do direct evaluations meet reality?

Suppose 40% of salespeople cannot identify customer pain points and match the value proposition or propositions of the product. In that case, there is little, if any, chance that the average sale per customer will be maximised. If the percentage is higher than 40%, the potential problem is higher.

In terms of maximising the average sale per customer, it is critical to ensure that the:

  • The business has the right salespeople
  • Salespeople understand the pain points of their customers
  • The sales team has the training it needs
  • Salespeople understand the importance of average sales
  • The whole team has an attitude conducive to maximising the average sale per customer

Another research finding of concern relating to sales staff was that:

  • 60% of salespeople do not change a winning strategy once they have found one

This finding suggests that there is a resistance to change among many salespeople. They find a strategy that works and then stick to it – rather than remaining sensitive to a changing environment and remaining open to adapting to that environment and customer expectations. 

The importance of training is reinforced by another study that found that sales staff receiving regular training have twice the results of those who do not.

Again, this highlights the need to have the right salespeople with the right attitude, training, and support to maximise the average sales per customer. 

INSIGHT – Employ the right salespeople paying particular attention to their attitude. Then provide ongoing training that ensures your staff can address customer pain points.

 

Place the highest possible priority on maximising the average sale per customer. It is a very economical pathway to increased revenue and can help develop a high level of satisfaction and brand loyalty. Address this critical issue in the marketing strategy and reflect it in all aspects of that strategy.

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