“If you can’t sell it, nothing else matters. Sales are everything to a business.”
Setting up a business is a lot of hard work. It can be quite frustrating when all the hard work yields little or no results. It’s even worse when you’re operating on a small and possibly borrowed budget. And the pressure to produce results is strong on you.
On paper, your business plan is impeccable but – surprise, surprise – the sales are not just coming in!
What do you do?
Do you lament all day long on government policies (or lack thereof)? Do you complain and blame your “idiotic” customers for not seeing the value your business brings? Or perhaps claim the black magic from your village has finally caught up with you (don’t be surprised that a lot of people think this way!)?
I once invested all my life savings and even borrowed from a friend to start a business. I could have sworn that I had everything all planned out. Things got so bad that I was stuck with wares that I couldn’t sell, a nagging friend (within her rights, of course), bills increasing and seriously depleted self-confidence!
It was a sour experience. But the beautiful part of the story is that I learnt from it.
So, What Do You Do To Increase Sales?
There’s no static or carved-in-stone formula for increasing sales. Usually, a combination of simple strategies have helped me double and even tripled my sales.
1. Sell To Customer Needs
It’s so tempting to try selling our customers on what we “think” they need. Never assume you know better than the paying customer. Listen to your market and provide only what the market needs.
Sometimes, you might be tempted to want to offer a “better” solution, but always remember that your ego has no monetary value, so drop your so-called superior knowledge of the market! Listen closely and sell only what the market needs – period!
2. Sell Only Benefits
“Established since 1908 by Europe’s renowned cosmetic company, blending the finest ingredients bla bla and more bla” – who cares about all that?
While it’s good for you to know your history, the paying customer only cares about the SOLUTION your business directly brings to him.”AAA cream clears your stretch marks and gives you baby smooth skin in 7 days” – now this is a customer-focused benefit that will drive more sales.
3. Sell A BIG Guarantee
“Satisfaction guaranteed!”, “100% money-back guarantee”, “Get a full refund and keep the item – no questions asked guarantee”, etc.
This strategy of issuing guarantees has long been in use and is probably overused, but, offering a big guarantee sets you apart from the competition. Your prospects will think that if “If you are this confident in what you sell, then your business is worth a try”.
The idea is to give your customers a risk-free situation.
In reality, most buyers will buy but not take you up on the return-for-refund guarantee. The caveat is, for the very few that do take you up on it, be sure to honour your guarantee claims. The increase in sales you made should more than compensate for the few refund-me-clients. If you offer top-notch products and/or services, you shouldn’t have a problem with this.
4. Sell Something “FREE”
You’ve probably made a decision to buy something NOW that you would have left for LATER only because it’s accompanied with something FREE. You’re not alone. Buy 1, get 1 free; FREE sample; FREE download; FREE shipping etc.
Amazon and many eCommerce stores tactfully use this method to increase sales – buy more to be eligible for free shipping. In one of my businesses online, sales increased dramatically when I went from paid shipping to free shipping nationwide. In reality, I’d cleverly worked in a fine percentage of the shipping costs into the product price, but surprisingly, no one cared about that; all that seemed to matter was the FREE shipping.
Russell Brunson gave away his book DOTCOM SECRETS for free; all you had to do was pay for the shipping. This singular strategy brought him untold millions of dollars in the backend product he introduced in the “free” book and probably a couple more millions in his site membership. FREE sells; cleverly craft it into your sales and experience the magic!
5. Sell Combo Products/Services
Instead of offering discounts on solo products and trying hard to get customers to buy, combine related products/services and offer a discount on both items only when purchased together. The logic behind how this works is simple: prospect came in to buy X with a view to buy Y at a later time (considering how fleeting human interests are, purchase Y might never happen!). If there’s no discount on X but there’s considerable discount on X and Y together, most people will dig deeper into their pockets to purchase X and Y and make the safe. It’s simple psychology.
6. Offer Immediate Upsells
The most common example that comes to mind here is the MacDonald’s “Do you want fries with that?” How this works is simple: A customer purchased an item usually at full price, and at the point of checkout, you offer him another product or service that highly complements his purchase at a tempting discount. Odds are that your customer will immediately see the benefits of your new offer and the discount and decide to include it in his purchase. Great deal for him; additional sales that otherwise wouldn’t have happened for you. Everyone is happy!
The next time you order pizza, notice how the person taking your order tries to upsell you on as many extras as possible – extra topping, cheesy crust, mushroom – it’s just business as usual!
7. Sell Urgency
You’ve seen this before. A company advertises that it’s giving 20% off retail price with only 50 pieces of stock left. What happens? A frenzy to purchase before stock is exhausted of course!
A typical example is Black Friday sales. Yours might not be that dramatic and you don’t have to wait for Black Friday to use this strategy. Yours could be a simple but needed service that you are offering to a limited few. It could be a limited edition of a desirable product. Limited seats available. It could be a limited free assessment.
You could even sell urgency by creating fear of loss or irreversible damage if client doesn’t take action immediately for example: Maxgro baldness and hair regrowth treatment creates urgency by letting prospects know that “delay in hair loss treatment might lead to permanent and irreversible hair loss.”
Whatever your urgency selling point is, it is no use if no one knows about it. So publicize and let your targets know about it.
8. Sell Evidence
How we are so swayed by before and after pictures! Nothing sells a product or service as fast as evidence of use, nothing!
Do you have proof that your product or service works? Sell it! Why else do you think the likes of Orange Drugs Pharmaceuticals display very smooth skinned and pretty girls in their calendar adverts?
Admittedly, not all products/services conveniently fall into the before and after category, but you can still find a way to show evidence. Are you into interior decoration? Take professional pictures. What about using videos where applicable? Simple pictures of smiling clients using your product/service are often enough. Heck, you can even sell items as simple as pencils with pictures of really cute kids writing happily with your pencil brand!
Testimonials are also a great way of selling evidence.
9. Takeaway Selling
Dan Kennedy – famous marketing expert and author – talks a lot about takeaway selling. In his words:
“The less accessible something is, the greater the value that gets placed on it and the more people want it”.
In my own very simple words, find a way to create exclusivity in the minds of your prospects and you will create a frenzy of sales!
If you’ve read a bit about me, then you would know that I started marketing and selling as a young teenager.
Long before I ever read about Dan Kennedy, I would use a version of this strategy in my own way to drive sales in my parents’ business.
I particularly liked it when rich and snooty customers would walk into the shop with their noses up in the air (If you’ve had any encounter with this kind of people, you would know how they look around as though nothing on display is good enough for them and that they were only doing you a favour!).
I would laugh inwardly at their snobbish display because I knew that I was about to at least quadruple my profits!
I perfected the strategy of showing them items that are likely to catch their attention. I would then stop at 1 or 2 “exclusive” items and ever so subtly imply (not in exact words, though) that these were very expensive and probably not within their reach. My next step would be to appear to eagerly walk them away from the “exclusive” items to ones more within their reach.
Oh my! Either of two things would happen: Outright indignation at my audacity or acute display of interest in the exclusive items. Cut a long story short, I always ended up with a satisfied customer, leaving the store with several stuffed shopping bags and more importantly, repeat customers! ALWAYS!
Done right, takeaway selling could actually be any salesperson’s greatest skill.
I will write another post shortly solely on takeaway selling and how you can use it to maximize profits. Sign up below for my newsletter so you don’t miss it!
I have used these sales strategies with a lot of success in my businesses and those of my clients. Don’t even for a second think it doesn’t apply to your kind of business – find ways to tweak and adapt any of these to suit your business.
Hey, do you have questions on how best to use these sales strategies in your business? Leave me your comments and we’ll sort it out together.
Rooting for your success;