One question I get all the time is, “How can I increase my sales?”
The answer to this is question is quite simple. The hard part is executing on the answer.
Selling is more than just showing up so, here are five ways to increase your sales that apply to any business.
#1 Improve your knowledge and become an expert
Knowing everything you can about your product, your industry and your competition can give you a massive competitive advantage that will set you apart Why? Because so few people really immerse themselves in all aspects of their industry to become an expert.
To be sure, lots of your competitors act like they are experts by using all the current buzzwords, but few are, and their depth of knowledge is shallow. Two of the key benefits of being an expert is that it’s disarming to clients, especially to those that think they know more than you. Secondly, it gives clients the confidence that they are dealing with someone who knows their stuff.
Becoming a subject matter expert requires you to do a deep dive into understanding of your product, your target customer, and certainly your competition. Of course, this all requires a continuous investment of time and effort to keep abreast of changes and trends and It’s never ending. But that’s the price one must pay to become an expert.
#2-Increase the number of customers
On the surface this may sound obvious to most, but the hard part is how to do it? For some it’s easier than others. Hunting for new customers can be incredibly difficult but making sure there’s a need for your product or service is the first thing to determine.
Unfortunately, too many entrepreneurs are so in love with their product, they fail to realize that just maybe too few people want what their selling. Therefore, it’s tough to increase sales for something that doesn’t have a market.
On the other hand, if you have something somebody wants, it’s time to sharpen your targeting. One of the easiest ways to do that is to look at who is currently buying and what they are buying along with some basic demographic profiling. In other words, follow the money.
Dissecting your historical sales data, should give you a decent idea of who your target is and where they are located. By using your existing sales data, you can begin to define your most fruitful customers and then look to get more of the same.
As you digest the information, what is your data telling you about your current your market? Are most of your customers local, regional, national, or international? What is the largest category of customers do you have? Are they individual consumers or businesses?
If consumers, are they young or old? Married or single? Urban, suburban, or rural dwellers? Homeowners or renters? Male or female?
If your target market is business, what kind are they? Service or manufacturing? Large or small? Retail or wholesale?
The point of this exercise is to follow the money. In other words, where are you having the greatest success selling your goods and services? Once you paint that picture using your existing sales data, you can begin narrowing your marketing effort to target that specific demographic and geographic profile. Your goal is to focus on those customers that have the highest potential.
That doesn’t mean you can’t sell to anybody else. It simply means all your energy should be targeted against specific client profile. The remaining clients that fall outside your profile, will continue to seek you out.
#3 Increase the average order size.
Increasing the size of the sale can be done in a couple of ways. One such way is to offer customers a good, better, best option. By doing so, often the customer will opt to move up from good to better or from better to best. But this only happens if you clearly show the true benefits of one level over another.
Fluff features do not work well in this situation. The benefits need to be legitimate enhancements. For example, if the next level up comes with an extended warranty or performance guarantees, it might be sufficient to nudge the customer up to the next highest category and that usually has the benefit of higher profits. This is where your expertise will come through, but only if you have invested the effort in becoming the expert.
An additional way to increase the order size is by upselling. Again, fluff does not work well here. One option is to offer a high margin product at a discount if they order it with the primary purchase. It does not have to be a deep discount, but only attractive enough to get their interest. It is also a great way to get rid of dead inventory by discounting it and turning into cash instead of sitting in your warehouse or backroom forever.
A word of caution here. Offering a client too many options can lead to confusion, indecision, and lost sales. Limit your offerings to a maximum of three, whereby you automatically dismiss the least attractive option. Now ask the question- “which do you like best #1 or #2? This nudges the customer into answering in the affirmative for one of the options, which you now focus upon.
#4 Increase the number of repeat purchases.
What are you doing to get in front of your customers regularly? Are you like most small business owners, that once you make the sale and deliver the goods, you move on to the next customer? What excuse do you have to connect with the customer every month, quarter or year?
I have made most of my sales over the years by simply keeping in touch, either by phone or in person with my customers. Approximately 85% of the revenue my company generated every year was from repeat sales.
This is where your sales data can also help. It can help you determine what is selling and when. Looking for those customers that seem to be off cycle is an easy way to increase repeat sales. Say for instances that 60% of your customers make a purchase from you quarterly. Contacting the remaining 40% may just be nudge they need to increase their purchases from you.
Now depending on the type of business you are in, it has been my experience that many customers had planned to purchase more frequently, but life just gets in the way, and they get busy or just forgot.
Also sending a simple email with your new products or services doesn’t take much effort and might be all they need to make a repeat purchase.
#5 Learn to shut up.
This one piece of advice may be the most important you’ll hear. I cannot count the number of times I have watch as individuals have talked their way out of a sale. When a client agrees to make a purchase, shut up and move directly to completing any necessary paperwork and payment.
DO NOT, under any circumstances, continue to talk about the product they selected or the ones that they dismissed as you risk creating doubt in their mind about their purchase decision.
Becoming a subject matter expert, increasing the number of customers, upping the average order size, boosting repeat sales and learning to shut up, will go a long way to increasing your sales.
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Get More LIFE Out of Your Business
You shouldn’t be the hardest working person in your company.
Many small business owners find that even after the struggling start-up years, they’re working too many hours and still managing every aspect of their businesses.
Greg Weatherdon has been there, done that. As an entrepreneur, he learned not only how to get a business to the point of running smoothly, but also how to reduce the number of hours he worked, delegate more responsibility to his employees, and take longer vacations while his business chugged along like a well-oiled machine. And now he is providing the secret to success.
Do you suffer from any of the following?
1. Business ownership isn’t living up to the dream.
2. Endless workdays.
3. You can’t find good people.
4. Profits are less than expected.
5. You can never take a vacation.
You’re not alone. But there is a solution. As Greg demonstrates, with some time and effort, you really can Get More Life Out Of Your Business.
You told me years ago that a repeat customer is easier to get in the door compared to finding a new customer. They are less work when they come through your door because you have information about them already. This fits your point #4 and definitely was wisdom with sharing.
Yes, the more you do to create repeat purchases the easier your life and business becomes. Providing great service and giving customers a little nudge, go a long way to creating recurring revenues. This is important in any business, but even more so when you’re in a competitive environment. Thanks for your comment.