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Reading the signs!

I can say what time of the day it is by checking the readership trend at my blog – I can even say that it’s Saturday Night without looking at a clock or calendar!

Ha! Ha! Wish I could, but the readership trend during the day and in the course of a week helps me derive some useful conclusions. Data and trends can tell you a lot.

How critically do you study your data … and how often?

I am reminded of a quote from Dr. Spenser Johnson’s masterpiece “Who moved my cheese?”

–          Smell the cheese often so you know when it is getting old!

Trends can be favourable or worrisome but either way you can take action only if you are reading it right and reading it often. Thanks to smart devices and ubiquitous wireless networks you can be connected to the sources of data at all times.

If things are going your way have you found out why? If you have studied the data in depth the next steps should be clear.

–          Which products are moving?

–          Who is buying?

–          What are the reasons for success?

–          Where should you place your product?

Although readership or visits at my blog are yet to reach stable or strong numbers I know what articles can generate interest, who reads my articles, how the readership fluctuates during the weekdays and weekends, the impact of holidays, even the rise and fall in hourly numbers during the day. There are analytics data at the blog that help me derive a lot of information.

Are you studying your numbers that closely?

Market-wise trends, time of the year linkage to sales, seasonality in product demand, correlation to other products, trends across geographies and age-groups, impact of promotional activities, relative merits of retention and acquisition strategies. The list is endless and industry specific.

Having too much information also may not be a good idea – that can cause clutter and dilution; you might waste your energy doing too many things or you probably may not arrive at the right conclusion. The idea is to throw weight behind a few activities that can give you the best results.

But how do we know what is right? A good place to look is the customer feedback to Service Department or enquiries made by clients. Another smart thing to do would be to look around and spot a trend – what’s hot in your industry or is there an unfilled niche where a lot of demand is locked up. I often read the popular Sales Blogs to spot trends and my readers have been kind enough to suggest many interesting ideas.

If things aren’t quite going your way the data should be telling you the reasons – and the earlier you sense the situation the better; should we wait for the lake to dry up before getting worried about the water situation?

Each new day is like a clean slate for me – it’s back to the drawing board time. A new article has to be planned, researched, structured and presented; graphics have to be created and added to improve appeal.

Yesterday success won’t guarantee repeat visits today. I have to present fresh material each day to keep my reader interested. There is a lot more that can be done and some innovations are on the anvil, but that’s for later.

You have to meet more customers, your pitch needs to be modified to suit the requirement of each new client, you need to find prospects of the right profile and your lead generation activity has to keep pace with the latest trends. The list is endless but the trick is to choose the best few.

Remember the old Cowboy Westerns where the hero would have a Native American friend who could read signs – he would look at the hoof marks, the footprints, note how the grass or the twigs have been disturbed or feel the wood in the fire – each bit of information helps to construct the picture. The tracker can say how many people have gone by, how long back and whether there are any injured members in the party.

You should be able to read your business the same way …. And if you spot an interesting / useful trend take action.

And, before you rush off to read the signs, let me say thanks for being a reader of the Sales Coach Blog!

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