When I started my business, I knew instinctively that I had to generate a sales strategy that would make sure I could pay the bills. Like most other entrepreneurs I used what I had been exposed to in the past.
I had learned a great deal about sales strategy from my work in a major corporation but I wasn’t certain that the strategy used in a large company would apply directly to a small business.
So, before I started the business I intensely studied sales strategy in general, and I also talked with several small business owners who had successfully grown their business.
From this intense exploration I found some common elements. One important thing I learned is that there a clear distinction between sales strategy and marketing strategy
Let’s continue with Sales Strategy.
What I discovered was that there are only three ways to grow sales in any business
To increase or develop sales lets look at the three most important strategies:
1. You must continue to add new customers to your customer base.
2. You must causing your customers to buy from you more frequently.
3. You must increase the amount of the order at the time an order is placed.
If you master these three strategies your business will go through the roof.
You will be able to build sales faster, with less risk and lower cost than you thought possible.
Adding new customers is an area where a majority of small businesses fall short.
Because most businesses rely on a “single method” of attracting new customers and generating sales. This is unfortunate and completely unnecessary.
If you use multiple sales approaches your business will experience exceptional growth without being entirely dependent on one single method. And, it is just as easy to do as using one method.
What methods/techniques can you use?
There are many.
A. Direct Sales:
This is the most common method of generating sales for most small businesses. It is an important and valuable method. Most small business owners tend to hire an experienced salesperson or steal one from a competitor and stop right there. That is a major mistake. A salesperson regardless of their experience or past record, needs to be trained and directed by you the business owner. Even sales personnel in the same industry must understand what you company brings to the table. What is your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) (you will find much more on what a USP is in the Marketing Strategy section or click here for a quick review of USP and return to this section).
B. Running Sales Events on a regular basis:
In my small business I ran sales events every two to three months. I was able to get my suppliers to sponsor and pay for all the cost associated with the event as long as that supplier was the featured supplier. It was so easy to get them to agree to participate it was astounding.The fastest and simplest way to run these events was to announce several weeks in advance that an event would be held on the following dates.Customers were told that there would either special pricing or new information available that only the supplier could provide. The response to these events were amazing. Sales would be three to four times the normal daily average for my business.
C. Tele-selling/Customer Service:
Telemarketing has a bad reputation in most industries. There is a good reason for that. Most telemarketers are trying to “pitch” a product or service. No one like a pitch. People buy from people they trust. Therefore I made it a policy to never call a new prospect to sell anything. Our approach was to contact customers would had been doing business with us for at least six months.This is important: We never called to pitch a product or service. We called to introduce a new product, offer new information on a service or review any policy changes within our company. Our customers loved the idea that we wanted to keep in touch with them and typically they would call a few days later to place an order.We always stayed in contact with our customers. Our tele-selling/customer service personnel called ever customer at least once per month.
D. Up-selling and Cross-selling:
Caution! Our small business never took advantage of the relationship we developed with our customers. We would up-sell or cross-sell only if it benefited the customers. All of the offers were made with no pressure. We would point out the benefits and let the customer decide if it made sense to them.Packages. When a customer has made the decision to purchase from your business it is the best time to offer a package that compliments or improves the selling proposition. Some examples include:
a) If a service call was placed our technicians were trained to offer a maintenance package at a discounted rate (including the service that was performed that day).
b) We prepared a Related Parts Index used by our tele-selling/customer service personnel. The Related Parts Index would refer to the parts we sold by telephone or in person which complimented the sale. As an example is we sold a battery we would offer battery cables; if we sold a muffler we would offer new clamps and straps. Sales increased by 30% by using this method.
E. Members Only Sales:
When a customer reached a specific sales level with our company they were given a special invitation to become a member of a special group. This idea comes from the airline industry – the frequent-flyer program.There would be several offers made which were exclusive to members-only. Customers appreciated the recognition and they were very loyal to our business – competition did not stand a chance!
My recommendation to you is to go to the Marketing Strategy section of the website where you will get several ideas on how to grow sales in your small business.