What to do when you find your sales are slipping

What to do when sales are slipping

Slipping Sales

What do you do when your sales are slipping? If you don’t know don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Even great businesses can hit a rough patch.  The trick is to catch it early before it becomes something bigger. 

All business is cyclical.  Sometimes we have up years and down years. The key is to determine if the current state is a temporary blip or if it is a warning sign.

There have been countless other businesses that have faced this challenge and found their way through.  We’d like you to meet one of them.  Her name is Jill.

Jill's Story when it comes to slipping sales

“I started my business to provide care to patients. The business started out fine, but lately, we started to decline a bit. I’m worried about this. I’m not sure if it’s just a temporary blip or if it is a sign of something more serious”

Jill has a successful dental practice. The business had been going well, but recently, it has started to decline slightly. She still has enough cash to pay her bills, but she’s starting to get worried. She doesn’t want this trend to continue.

At one point or another, all businesses face Jill’s challenge. It’s often helpful to go back to the fundamentals of what working and what could use a refresh.

How We Helped Jill

The front of the tile describes the problem. Flip it to see the solution.

Back to Basic

We looked at how Jill made or lost money, and what the biggest mistakes were behind the scenes. The first place we started was to look at her customer base. We started by talking to them. We talked to the regulars, and we talked to the past reviewers. We wanted to know why they came, and if they weren’t coming back, why was that?

Satisfaction isn't Enough

We learned a lot. For her regulars, it was a comfortable routine. They didn’t mind wait time. The loved Jill. She put them at ease. She was seen as a friend. For those who left, they liked Jill, but they just couldn't afford the wait times. They just got annoyed and didn't come back. It’s a common misconception that satisfying your customers is enough. And, that’s the first mistake that was hurting Jill. People are driven by our emotions. The people who stayed were emotionally attached. Those who didn't felt Jill wasn't being respectful of their time. Unfortunately, her regular patients were not enough to keep the business growing.

Getting Out of Your Own Way

Jill's staff was friendly. The hygienists were efficient, friendly, and knowledgeable. The front desk was pleasant, helpful, and perceived well. Jill's time management was the problem. When she was running late, that message didn't make it to the front desk. People were left waiting without information. The operational and staff issues were interrelated. Jill's business was operating fine, but she was not. It was pretty clear where the problem rested

Accepting the You Might Be the Problem

This is never any easy conversation nor and easy task to accept. However, sometimes we have to swallow our pride and accept the facts in front of us. When forced to have these conversation, we focus on agreeing to a set of facts. It's not personal. In this case, the facts were clear, and lead with the positive. People loved Jill. Wait times were the issue. The person causing patients to wait was Jill. The problem was driving new patients. It was hiring another dentist.

Not an Easy Pill to Swallow

Look, realizing that you are the problem is hard thing to accept. To Jill's credit, she was a very logical and open person. She knew the business wasn't working as it should so, thankfully, she wasn't resistant to the feedback. It took a bit to process it, but in the end the data were clear, and she was a big enough person to accept it.

Jill's Recovery Plan

We recommended four steps. First, secure funding to make the new hire. Jill was in good shape so an SBA loan was the obvious choice. Second, hire an additional dentist to help reduce patient wait times. Third, institute a time in/out tracking system. The receptionist was tasked with managing this system. Finally, encourage her patients to write Yelp and Google reviews highlighting the reduced wait times. They loved her so they were more than willing to help. Aside from the cost of hiring, recruiting, and training the new dentist, this cost next to nothing to implement. It took a few months, but Jill was able to course-correct and get her business back in growth mode.

If you’re business isn’t quite like Jill’s with slipping sales, please take the Business Assessment to be directed to a guide that is right for your business, or you can always contact us for help.