Strategies to Help Increase Your Sales
Understand the value of a customer. What’s a customer worth? Fare more than the
value of their original purchase from you. A customer represents a long-term, not a one-
time value. If you provide good service and good value to a customer today, that
customer will continue coming back to you in the future – and will tell others about the
benefits of your product/service.
2. Create and maintain a solid company image. Position your company in the minds of
consumers so they know who and what you are. Instead of attempting to be “something
for everyone,” make an effort to be “something special for a special few.” Segmentation
is the way to build sales and increase market following. Cater to a specific group of
customers and provide sound goods and services for that market.
3. Stick to the basics. Some businesses become enamored with every new marketing
strategy or business approach heralded by the latest business guru. When it gets right
down to it, though, it’s the basics that really matter. A good product or service, backed
by solid promotion to the right market and followed up with exceptional customer
service, are the keys to continued success in any business.
4. Treat your employees the way you’d like them to treat your customers. We’ve all
been the victims of poor service. Poor service is frequently the result of poor
management. An employee who is not treated well by the boss is not likely to treat the
customers very well either.
5. Know who you want to sell to – and why. A company that just wants to “make a
profit” won’t be in business for long. Successful businesses select a market and then
take steps to specialize in producing products and services designed specifically for that
market. Think about the businesses that you frequent. Do they provide products for
“everyone” or do they cater specifically to a certain need that you have?
6. Emphasize value over price. Customers are less concerned with how much something
costs than they are with how much something is worth. To convince yourself that this is
true, consider how much more a consumer will spend for a Lexus vs. a Rav-4. Both are
cars. Both will get the customer to where he/she wishes to go. Both are, in fact, Toyota
products! But, one has a higher perceived value than the other – higher than the actual
difference in quality would logically support. The value of a product or service is the
critical element in attracting the customer. Low price, alone, just doesn’t do it anymore.
And, regardless of price, if your product or service doesn’t provide any value for the
customer, you won’t be successful.
7. Be alert to changes in the marketplace. Rising oil prices, growing concerns with
health care costs, a poor economy – these are just a few examples of issues that can
affect the sales of your products and services. You can’t operate your business in a
vacuum. Keep an ear to the ground and be aware of current issues and their potential to
impact your business. One great way to monitor key words/phrases of importance to
you (like your own business name or the names of competitors) is through Google
Alerts – http://www.google.com/alerts.
8. Embrace technology. Today, more and more customers expect that you will be
using technology to provide better service to them. An Internet site and a presence on
the social media sites where your audience is engaged are essential. Companies are also
beginning to explore how these new tools can help improve efficiency and processes –
customer forums, for instance, allow customers to help themselves – and each other –
and can relieve some of the burden on a company’s help desk.
9. Hire the best. Good employees are hard to find and worth every cent you pay
them. Don’t skimp when it comes to hiring. Take the time to clearly identify the
qualities you need in an employee and to carefully review each job candidate. Your
employees are a reflection of your business – and your brand. Aim high – your
customers will appreciate it.
10. look for other options. Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket. We’ve all heard this old saying and,
practically, we know what it means. But, sometimes we ignore the timeless wisdom of
this statement and concentrate all of our efforts, all of our resources, on one product or
service that we hope will be a winner. The problem? What happens if it isn’t a winner?
Diversifying means that you spread your risk over a number of areas – all, of course,
still focused on meeting your specific market’s needs.
11. Stick to what you do . This may seem like a contradictory statement to #10, but it’s
really not. What it means is that, as you diversify, you should diversify in relationship to
your products strengths. Here’s an example. Suppose you operate a successful cleaning
service catering to the needs of apartment dwellers. You’d like to increase your
revenues by expanding upon the services you offer. You’re considering the following
options: a) a plant care service, b) a laundry service, c) a seamstress service. Which of
these do you feel is most closely aligned with the purpose of the original business?
Probably laundry service. Plant care requires a different set of skills, knowledge and
tools, as would a seamstress service. You’ll be most successful – and find sales
increasing – when you provide services and products that are closely tied to the overall
mission of your business.
12. Keep an eye on the competition. What’s the competition up to? If you don’t know, you
could be in trouble. Competition is everywhere, sometimes in unexpected places. For
instance, if you operate a car care service, the car’s owner could be your competition –
if that owner decided to perform the services instead of bringing the vehicle to you. Or,
more traditionally, the competition might be another car-care service, or a local
dealership that offers the services as part of a warranty. Make sure that you first
recognize who your competition is and then take steps to remain aware of what the
competition is doing.
13. Communicate! You could have the best product or service in the world, the greatest
web site and the best customer service, but if nobody knows… Businesses must
communicate with the audiences they wish to serve. Notice I didn’t say “advertise” – I
said “communicate.” Communication can take a variety of forms, including advertising,
public relations, sales and networking – including the use of social networking tools like
Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.
14. Communicate more! It can’t be said enough – to be a success you have to let people
know about your products and services. And they need to be the right people. Invest
enough resources in marketing your business appropriately – and strategically – and
you’ll reap the benefits of increased business.
15. Remember that you are a reflection of what you do, even more so than what you
say. Actions do speak louder than words. Ultimately, it’s the quality of your products
and services, and the experiences that customers have with you at every step of the
purchase experience, that will determine your success. Quality, consistency reliability
are the keys to building and maintaining a strong brand.