Unless you're closing the store and selling off your inventory, you're going to need that next transaction, and the one after that, and the one after that, and so on.
You always need one eye on the horizon, one eye fixed on how to earn that Next Transaction.
Last Saturday we had a huge event. LEGO Contest, Yo-Yo Competition, Toy Demos, Crafts, Scavenger Hunt, Cookies, Prizes, the whole works! We advertised heavily. We staffed heavily. We spent a lot of money to draw traffic and put on a lot of events to keep that traffic happy.
Did it translate into extra sales? A little. We had a slightly better than usual Saturday. Not enough to cover the extra expenses, but that wasn't the point. The entire goal of the day was Wish Lists - pieces of paper that the kids took around the store and filled out with what they wanted Santa to bring them.
Since our competitors in town don't stock the same items we stock, we wanted those kids to make out their lists with our toys. Every kid who went on a scavenger hunt to earn a cookie got a wish list. Every parent with one or more kids in tow got a wish list.
Our goal for the day was simple - focus on the Next Transaction.
- Give everyone something fun to do.
- Give everyone a Wish List to fill out.
- Treat them so well they can't wait to come back.
It is a formula that serves us well.
There are a lot of businesses that put too much effort on maximizing this transaction - as if it will be their last. Make this one special for the customer. Delight her. Earn the chance to get another transaction.
If that isn't enough to convince you, try this... Ask yourself these two questions:
- What percentage of my business is Repeat Business? (write that number down)
- What percentage of my business is Referral Business? (write that number down)
The remaining percentage is your advertising driven business - usually the smallest of the three numbers.
Put your energy into getting repeats and referrals and you'll have all the Next Transactions you need.
PS There are a lot of ways to earn the next transaction. Sometimes adding on and maximizing the current sale is how you earn another - especially if the add-ons are what is needed to "complete" the sale. Don't ever let a customer walk out without everything they need. Sometimes you earn the next transaction because you didn't get overly pushy. Sometimes you earn the next transaction because you planned it that way (like the wish lists). The best leaders are always looking beyond this transaction to the next one.
PPS Here is an email one mom sent me from our event that drives home the point...
"…and great event Saturday! While I know you’re open minded and see the big picture, I wanted to let you know that your sales on days like that may not be all the sales you gain from the event. I could barely manage the two kids let alone purchase anything, but I’ll be back this week to get everything."