How Much of Your Annual Sales Go Through Church Accounts?
Yesterday my bookkeeper — with whom I will have been happily married to for 30 years in just a few days — forwarded me a document containing some data I didn’t realize we were keeping. It was a summary of the value of every sale which originated in our billing system, in other words, church accounts; and the data went back twelve years.
The magic number for 2016? 6.15% of total sales. For many of you reading this, that’s probably a very low figure, but we could have told you that going in. We have a strong rapport with and a strong focus on individual shoppers. For many years were more or less shunned by the largest evangelical church in our town. (Then they stopped being the largest, but they still don’t work with us.) We have other churches who give us a “first pass” on everything they need. Others lie somewhere in the middle. (An order for 700 Christmas Eve candles from one church would have been nice, but they didn’t seem to know we sold candles. And better ones, at that. We find we have to keep reminding them of our presence.) I am actually quite happy that so much of our energy and effort is put into individual customers.
Still, I looked at that 6.15% figure and immediately thought, ‘How can we further cultivate that business?’
Part of it begins with strong relationships. I immediately realized we hadn’t done our Church Staff Discount Month in January this year, so I moved it to February and in 20 minutes had generated an email to all our ministry (church and parachurch organization) staff contacts.
One church now uses a corporate credit card — issued to 3 key staff members — and pays everything up-front. That might mean a decline in billings moving forward, and several other churches, very much aware of the cost of buying blank cheques, issuing them and mailing them are increasingly paying out of petty cash, including invoices in the hundreds of dollars.
The data is good to consider however. Do you have this type of information for your store?