10 Easy ways to increase sales
October 2016 - One of the most obvious ways to boost revenue in your business is to make more sales. Here are ten ways you can start doing that today:
1. Do You Have A Sales Strategy?
Most businesses think they have a strategy, but they don’t.
Now is a good time to develop one. You need to consider who your ideal customer is and what are the products and services that provide the best return for you.
The sales strategy should be a brief one-page roadmap that encapsulates:
• what you want to sell
• who you are going to sell to
• where you are going to sell
• how you are going to sell
• when you are going to sell
Keep it simple and keep referring back to it.
2. Are You Missing Opportunities?
You could best sum this approach up as ‘preach to the converted’. Your current customers are likely an excellent source for new business. You may have a product or service that they may not know about that might suit their business. Essentially, the first port of call should be the clients that have already bought from your business.
3. Back to Basics
Chambers mentor businesses that have sales issues all of the time. Oftentimes the problem is businesses have veered from their target market and fail to realise it.
Take an honest look at what your market is and where you are at the moment. If sales are not at a level that you would like you might need to ask yourself some tough questions such as ‘Have I focused too much on one sector of my business?’ or ‘Have I deviated from my sales strategy and forgotten about my target market?’.
The second question is quite a common question. In struggling economies many businesses survive by ‘throwing everything at it.’
But the economy is largely picking up now. It’s time to assess the business and get back to selling the right products to the right customers.
4. Customer is King
Simon & Garfunkel knew this 45 years ago when they sang ‘Keep the Customer Satisfied’. In an age when almost anything can be bought or sold online at any time of the day or night by anyone, the need for excellent customer service has never been greater.
Some businesses have built their reputations on looking after generations of families. Your business can do that too by ensuring that staff are properly trained and that customers get consistent excellent service every time that they deal with your business.
5. The Price is Right
Have you considered how your product or service is priced? What research have you carried out to make sure that it is competitively priced and that overheads and margin are factored in? It is very easy to sell too cheaply just as it is very easy to end up broke.
6. Be Ruthless
What you are not selling is as important as what you are selling. Take a look at the products or services that are simply glued to the shelves and get rid of them.
Don’t be reluctant to retire certain products or services. One of the secrets to success is being able to detach yourself from the emotion of a business decision. If something is not selling don’t stock it and don’t waste money marketing it.
7. Open Your Eyes
The first quarter is a very good time to take a look at what your competitors are doing. It is also an excellent time to look at similar businesses in different geographical areas to see how they are trading and to see if lessons can be learned.
8. Raise Awareness
You know all about your business, as does your family, but never presume that your target audience does. Think about how you how can market your business. Go back to your sales strategy in point 1 and identify your ideal customers and then target them where they are.
9. Look the Part
When was the last time you looked at your branding? Branding isn’t just a logo or a website. It is everything from an auto signature on an email to letterhead to company vehicles. There are more options available now to help you to get your branding right. There are countless examples of how you can carry out a brand audit online.
10. Stay in Shape
Just as much as the New Year provokes people to get back in physical shape, the first quarter should also be a time when you identify training needs and areas for professional improvement.
There’s a good chance your local chamber can help you with training through networking and other learning-based events. They are also a great resource on what your community offers.
Every company needs sales to be successful. In order to do so sales and marketing strategies should be reviewed periodically to ensure they are the most effective for your business. Adjusting your tack every so often is the best way to stay on course.
Brian Cleary is the Chief Executive of Clonmel Chamber of Commerce, one of the largest business services organizations in Ireland. He’s also the past director of Chambers Ireland. He writes for a number of online publications and is a regular co-presenter of the 'Small Business Show' a syndicated radio program broadcast on a number of stations throughout Ireland and available as a podcast.