Want to increase sales dramatically? Then shift your sales focus from attracting new customers to enticing your proven customers to buy again. The best sales prospect is a prospect that's already converted - in other words, one of your current customers.
Think of it this way; if your business is located in a small town with a population of 1000 people and you sell a sprocket to everyone in that town, man, woman, and child, you've sold 1000 sprockets – and saturated your market. Your sprocket selling days are over. Is it time to pack up and move on?
No! If you start focusing your sales efforts on your proven customers, you’ll be able to increase your sprocket sales dramatically. And these sure ways to increase sales will help build customer loyalty, too. Try some or all of these ideas to increase your sales:
1. Set up a sales incentive program.
Give your sales staff a reason to get out there and sell, sell, sell. Why do so many businesses that rely on their sales staff to drive sales have incentive programs in place? Because offering their sales staff the trips and/or TVs for x amount of sales works. See Paul Shearstone’s Creating Sales Incentive Programs That Work for how to make your sales incentive program “sweet and simple and attainable”.
2. Encourage your sales staff to upsell.
Essentially, upselling involves adding related products and/or services to your line and making it convenient and necessary for customer to buy them. Just placing more products near your usual products isn’t going to increase your sales much. To upsell successfully, the customer has to be persuaded of the benefit. For instance, when I last had my carpets cleaned, the cleaner noticed a pet stain. Instead of just cleaning it up, he drew my attention to it, and showed me how easily and effectively the spot cleaning solution removed all trace of the stain. Did I buy the spot cleaning solution? You bet. He persuaded me that buying it was beneficial to me and made it convenient to purchase it. Result: increased sales for the carpet cleaning company.
3. Give your customers the inside scoop.
Recently I was shopping at a retail housewares store. I had picked out an item and was mulling over whether to buy it or not when a salesperson came up to me and said, “I see you’re interested in that blender. We’re having a sale next week and all our blenders will be 20 percent off. You might want to come back then.” Guess what? I did – and bought two other items as well. Lesson: if you have a promotion or sale coming up, tell your customers about it. They’ll come back – and probably bring some friends with them too. (And don't forget - you can give your customers the inside scoop by emailing or calling them, too.)
4. Tier your customers.
There should be a clear and obvious difference between regular customers and other customers – a difference that your regular customers perceive as showing that you value them. How can you expect customer loyalty if all customers are treated as “someone off the street”? There are all kinds of ways that you can show your regular customers that you value them, from small things such as greeting them by name through larger benefits such as giving regulars extended credit or discounts.
5. Set up a customer rewards program.
We're all familiar with the customer rewards programs that so many large businesses have in place. But there’s no reason that a small business can’t have a customer rewards program, too. It can be as simple as a discount on a customer’s birthday or as complex as a points system that earns various rewards such as discounts on merchandise. Done right, rewards programs can really help build customer loyalty and increase sales.
6. Distribute free samples to customers.
Why do so many businesses include free samples of other products when you buy something from them? Because it can increase sales in so many ways. As the customer who bought the original product, I might try and like the sample of the new product and buy some of it, too. Or I might pass on the sample to someone else, who might try the product, like it, and buy that and other products from the company. At the very least, the original customer will be thinking warm thoughts about your company, and hopefully telling other people about your products.
Attracting new customers is a good thing. But attracting new customers is not the only way to increase your sales, and is, in fact, the hard way of going about it. Shifting your sales focus to enticing your current customers can make increasing your sales easier – and best of all, build the customer loyalty that results in repeat sales.
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