Whether you’re just making ends meet or tallying up record numbers, increasing sales is always a top priority, so let’s look at some of the best ways to do that. Some of these sales tips may sound basic, but think about how you’re actually putting them into practice, and where you could be doing a better job.
1. Use every available tool.
Sales is a number’s game, and the more qualified leads you capture, the more you’ll close. Do you have an online presence? Consider using contact management software to help you keep track of all these leads you’re going to bring in using the following avenues:
- Make sure your website is easy to navigate, attractive, and informative, and that your contact information is prominently featured.
- Offer an incentive for joining your email list.
- Run a contest on Facebook; again, capture leads in your email list as part of the contest.
- Master social media.
- Hold promotions in your place of business to build traffic, and capture your customer information for future follow-up.
2. Follow up.
Not everyone will be ready to buy when you first meet them. Sometimes, they’re just looking for information and an education while getting ready to purchase. Don’t be discouraged. Not all sales are closed overnight, and usually, the company that sticks around will have great odds.
Be present. Be persistent. But don’t be obnoxious or overbearing. Keep the lead in an active file and check in occasionally, whether by email or phone. Continue to offer pertinent information, connect through social media, and always be pleasant and available.
3. Reward your current customers.
Attracting new business can be challenging, but holding on to the customers you already have should be a no-brainer. How many times have you seen special, introductory offers for new customers, and yet nothing of value is offered to those already doing business with the company? It can feel insulting and frustrating to customers who get brushed aside once they’ve pulled out their wallets and made a purchase.
It costs you far less to grow your business from the inside, so show your present clients how much you appreciate them. In turn, they’ll be much more likely to spread the word about you and offer testimonials that can help you build on your success. Retention is key.
4. Do more of what’s working.
Concentrate your resources where you’re likely to have the greatest return on investment. How do you know? Analyze where most of your revenue is coming from now, and beef up your efforts in those areas.
Are you attracting most of your customers from trade shows? Find more trade shows to attend. Does your email marketing make the phone ring? Concentrate on growing the list.
Take a serious look at where your sales and marketing resources are being spent, and stop concentrating in areas where you’re not seeing a return. You may want to support your local newspaper with advertising, but if you’re not getting business from there, spend those dollars elsewhere.
5. Remember you can’t sell everyone.
Don’t spend 80 percent of your time on 20 percent of your business. Some people will never be able to spend more with you, some will only order seasonally, and some may never buy at all. Recognize that and move on.
We’re not suggesting not to service those customers, but be careful how much time and effort you allot to them. Some may actually be costing you money instead of making you money!
6. Network and build relationships.
Make sure your friends and family are aware of what you do so they’re in a better position to refer business to you. Rather than relying purely on strangers for business, it may be easier to get business from someone you already know, or someone who knows someone you know.
Polish your sales message so you can quickly and easily introduce yourself to someone new. Be visible in the community. Donate goods or services to the school fashion show, help local families in need. It all contributes to your positive image and reinforces why someone would want to do business with you.
7. Think like a customer.
What would make you want to do business with yourself? Make sure you’re selling the benefits of buying from you. Answer your clients’ questions. Look at everything from their point of view, and approach it accordingly.
Walk into your store with a critical eye. (Or ask a friend to do it for you.) Is it clean and organized? Does your office or shop have a pleasant atmosphere? Are your employees friendly and courteous? Treat everyone the way you would want to be treated. Sell to everyone the way you would want to be sold to.
8. Don’t sell price.
Yes, a low price can be attractive to a customer, but what happens when you don’t have the lowest? Will they leave you for the competition? Businesses that last offer more than the best price: they offer good value. That means making it worthwhile to do business with you beyond the cost of your goods or services, solving problems and offering solutions that make their lives and businesses better and easier.
Be available outside regular business hours. Offer hassle-free returns. If you can, under-promise and over-deliver. Make every transaction feel valued and special. Build customer loyalty and you’ll soon have a team of goodwill ambassadors .
9. Share the responsibility.
Sometimes, small business owners get trapped into the mentality of having to do everything themselves. This can quickly backfire by not allowing you to pay enough attention to the parts of your job you either don’t have time for or simply aren’t that good at.
If your strength is sales, go sell, and hire someone else to run the office and do the books. If you’re a better administrator, handle that aspect of the business and hire a salesperson. Don’t fall into the trap of trying to save money in one area so that you hamper your chances to make it at all.
10. Try something new.
Ever hear the saying, “If you always do what you always do, you’ll always get what you always got?” It’s true! So if you’re ready to grow your business, expand your efforts in a direction you haven’t gone before. Experiment with initiatives you've never tried or have avoided.
Don’t just jump blindly, of course. By now, you have an excellent idea who your customers are. Think about alternate ways of reaching them, and go for it. Maybe it’s a live demo at the mall, an industry trade show, or being an expert speaker at a seminar.
The best way to energize yourself is to get out of your comfort zone occasionally and add to your skills and experiences. When you can grow your business at the same time, that’s definitely a win-win!
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