GUEST POST from Mike Shipulski
If you want to grow the top line right now, create a hard constraint – the product cannot change – and force the team to look for growth outside the product. Since all the easy changes to the product have been made, without a breakthrough the small improvements bring diminishing returns. There’s nothing left here. Make them look elsewhere.
If you want to grow the top line without changing the product, make it easier for customers to buy the products you already have.
If you want to make it easier for customers to buy what you have, eliminate all things that make buying difficult. Though this sounds obvious and trivial, it’s neither. It’s exceptionally difficult to see the waste in your processes from the customers’ perspective. The blackbelts know how to eliminate waste from the company’s perspective, but they’ve not been taught to see waste from the customers’ perspective. Don’t believe me? Look at the last three improvements you made to the customers’ buying process and ask yourself who benefitted from those changes. Odds are, the changes you made reduced the number of people you need to process the transactions by pushing the work back into the customers’ laps. This is the opposite of making it easier for your customers to buy.
Have you ever run a project to make it easier for customers to buy from you?
If you want to make it easier for customers to buy the products you have, pretend you are a customer and map their buying process. What you’ll likely learn is that it’s not easy to buy from you.
1. How can you make it easier for the customer to choose the right product to buy?
Please don’t confuse this with eliminating the knowledgeable people who talk on the phone with customers. And, fight the urge to display all your products all at once. Minimize their choices, don’t maximize them.
2. How can you make it easier for customers to buy what they bought last time?
A hint: when an existing customer hits your website, the first thing they should see is what they bought last time. Or, maybe, a big button that says – click here to buy [whatever they bought last time]. This, of course, assumes you can recognize them and can quickly match them to their buying history.
3. How can you make it easier for customers to pay for your product?
Here’s a rule to live by: if they don’t pay, you don’t sell. And here’s another: you get no partial credit when a customer almost pays.
As you make these improvements, customers will buy more. You can use the incremental profits to fund the breakthrough work to obsolete your best products.
Image credit: Pixabay
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