How To Increase Sales In Your Business This Month – In 4 Easy Steps
The Government is busy assuring us that we’re through the worst of the recession. Meh…maybe, and it’s a surefire way you know there’s an election coming!
Meanwhile, back in the real world (the no ‘spin’ version!) that might not yet be fully translating into increased in profits in your business.
Let’s face it, most businesses are more than happy to have a quick boost of increased sales. So here are 4 easy strategies you can follow to get that ball rolling.
Strategy One : Mine The Gold Of Your Existing Customers.
All too often marketing campaigns focus heavily on getting brand new leads and customers into the business. Whilst it’s true that your lead generation pipeline does need strategies to keep it consistently filled, make sure that you aren’t doing this at the expense of totally overlooking the true gold that your loyal clients represent!
There are several categories of customers for you to consider :
- Existing customers who are using your business right now
- Past customers who have used your business
- People who might have made enquiries with your business before now, but ended up not buying from you at the time
All of these people in varying degrees have shown an interest in what your business offers.
The next step is to get in touch with them – which could be via phone, email, or direct mail (or preferably a combination of all three).
For your current customers, think about what you could offer them to encourage them to buy again, or increase what they are buying with you (with an upsell), or suggest other products or services of yours which complement what they’ve already bought from you (with a cross-sell)
For your past customers, and those who expressed an interest but didn’t purchase at the time, look at your records and note what they either bought or expressed an interest in. Then when you contact them you can refer to that, and make them an appropriate tempting offer based on how they engaged with your business before.
The reason why it’s so important to tap into your existing and past customers to boost your sales is that you already did the hardest part with them – which was making the FIRST sale.
Provided that their experience with your business was a good one, they already know, like and trust you so they will be far more likely to buy from you again.
Bonus Tip – If you have a database of customers you can create what’s called a ‘Custom Audience’ in Facebook with them, and use Facebook ads to get their attention with your offers. Also (ninja strategy alert!) you can then create what’s called a ‘Lookalike’ audience in Facebook – based on the Facebook users most similar to your existing customer demographics – and advertise your offers to them too.
Strategy Two : Speed Up Your Response Time
In these digital days of instant gratification we expect our enquiries to be dealt with quickly by businesses.
Most prospective customers have already done their research online before committing to a buying decision, which means that when they actually pick up the phone and call you, or send you an email, they are more often than not HOT leads who have their credit card out and are ready to buy.
OK – maybe they have a few questions they want clarification on first, but even so, they are still a hot lead!
And then ….imagine their disappointment when they get your answer-phone. And despite your recorded message telling them you’ll be getting back to them soon, they don’t actually hear back from you for hours, or days.
Yep – it’s highly likely that that sale has just been lost, and your competitor is rubbing their hands in glee at your rubbish response times!
Lead response research shows that the odds of reaching a new sales lead drop by ten times if you wait longer than an hour to get in touch, and the odds of qualifying that lead decrease 6 times.
All the time you’ve wasted in not getting back to your lead means they are far more likely to have found a solution (i.e. made a purchase!) elsewhere.
So take a long hard look at your response times and mechanisms. If you have a small business could you set up a redirect from your main office number to your mobile so that you can still receive calls when you’re out and about? Or how about investing in a virtual PA / telephone answering service? Often a new lead just wants the reassurance of speaking live to someone and will then be happy to wait for a call back if necessary, a little bit later in the day.
But being taken to the answerphone and not knowing if or when they will be getting a call back is a real sales-killer!
Strategy Three : Create A Compelling Referral Programme
Like we touched on in strategy one – your current customers are like gold! They already trust you, and will often be happy to become your ‘brand advocates’
When you think about it, we all tend to make friends with people similar to ourselves – similar age, similar interests and so on.
So it’s likely that your best customers have a network of friends and contacts who are similar to themselves. But it might not occur to them to actively recommend your business to their friends and contacts unless you actually tell them that you are on the lookout for new customers just like them.
You can either set up a formal referral programme, where you actually incentivise your customers to refer others (with a discount, or special offer which they receive for introducing new customers to your business) or keep it more informal and reward your best referrers on a more ad-hoc basis.
The best way to get results is to make sure that you embed the ‘referral philosophy’ into your business so that it becomes second nature, rather than something you do once in a blue moon.
Don’t feel embarrassed about letting your customers know that getting referrals is an important part of how you’re growing your business if they would be happy to help you with that. You can position it in such a way that you’ll be giving them excellent service to show them that you are referral-worthy!
Try and help them think of good referrals for your business by being specific with the best types of customers for you – don’t assume that they will make that link themselves. For example if your customer is a horse rider and you want referrals of other horse owners, say this clearly e.g. “my best customers are horse owners just like you – do you know of any other horse owners who can benefit from our XYZ service and might be interested in giving us a try this month? We’d be very happy to give you coupon to use next time you’re in if you recommend a couple of your friends to us’
Remember to think beyond your customers for referrals too. It’s worth contacting other complementary businesses to see if they are willing to set up a reciprocal referral programme with you.
Strategy Four : Give Single-Minded Focus To The Money-Generating Activities
It’s no use thinking of sales boosting strategies if you’re not prepared to clear the time in your business day to actually implement them.
Take the time to actually look at how much of your business day is spent solely on the activities which will BOOST your bottom line, rather than in service delivery, admin, and other non-essential ‘busy’ activities.
Once you’ve done that, I challenge you for one month to get smart about delegating what you can, and allocate a portion of each day to ONLY doing activities which will boost your sales. For example :
- Creating compelling offers
- Contacting current customers with upsells and cross-sells
- Re-activating and engaging with past customers
- Setting up and deploying a referral programme
- Getting a virtual PA to handle your calls and flag any which need immediate follow up
- Launching a Pay per click campaign on Google Adwords or Facebook to get your offers in front of new and existing customers, making sure you focus on ‘buying’ keywords rather than ‘browsing’ ones.
- Going through your website with a fine tooth-comb and make sure that it’s not leaking leads through errors and bad design, so that you know you’re making the most of any online traffic you’re getting.
So there you have it. 4 strategies. One month. And a whole lot of focused income-producing activity.
Remember – if you aim for a 5% increase in sales for this month by implementing these strategies, and achieve only 2% that’s still a win, because then you can go on and do the same again next month!
Let’s get those sales boosted, yes?!
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