Ten Things You Can Do Today To Improve Your Sales!
by Robert Imbriale, Business Coach
In the last year or so, I’ve spent much of my time consulting with small and medium sized businesses. After having spent a considerable amount of time with many business owners in different industries, I have clearly identified ten ways, of which virtually 99% of all businesses can use at least one, to improve their sales immediately. Here are the best ten ways I have found to increase your sales. 1) Add More Value To What You Sell
Have you ever heard a customer ask you, Is that all I get for this price? Chances are you have. It could mean that you are not offering enough value for what you are charging, or it could be a misinformed client. In either case, you won’t get repeat business if you customer feels like they over-paid for your products or services.What can you do to add value to your products or services? Try adding value by including items that cost you very little or even nothing at all. An example of this might be that you include a free copy of an introductory book on how to use the computer systems you sell. You might be able to contact the publisher and buy copies of their book in volume for pennies on the dollar of their suggested retail price. By adding this small, low cost item, you will make the decision to buy that much easier for your customers. This works in all types of product and service transactions. If it is a service you are offering, include extra time as part of the price. When I consult, I rarely watch the clock to the minute. This gives my clients the distinct feeling that they are getting a little more than they are paying for and assures me that they will both use my services again and refer me to their associates. Think of creative ways in which you can add value to your base product or service offerings. A small addition can easily make a major difference to your profits! 2) Bundle Items Of Complimentary Importance With Each Purchase
This is one of the most profitable things you can do to increase your average unit of purchase. You accomplish two things by offering complimentary products or services. First, you add value to your products or services by offering items that you know your customers will need to buy at some point in the future anyway, and you are saving them the trouble of having to patronize another business for these items. They will actually appreciate you more if you have these items available to them at the time of purchase!If you sell cameras, offer batteries, film, protective cases, and other useful accessories to your customers at the time of purchase. In a service business, you can offer products that enhance your service. Let’s say you are a marketing consultant. You can sell copies of your favorite books to your clients, if they apply to their situation. I frequently offer this type of product to my clients and they are happy to have access to these publications because they are generally not available in bookstores. Use your imagination and get access to complimentary products that enhance your client’s purchase. 3) Sell Upgrades
Upgrades differ from complimentary products in that they are generally a better version of the same product as opposed to a complimentary or ’add-on’ product. In the computer industry, as in many others, this is done all the time. There is no reason that you could not apply those same tactics to your own business with a little creativity.You’ve been sold upgrades when you bought your new car, your color television, or just about any other product you can think of! It works like this. You explain the advantages of the first product to your customer, then you do them a favor by offering them a peek at the next level up. In many cases, you’ll find that your customer will opt to pay a few extra dollars to get a few more benefits or an altogether better product or service. Yes, I did say service! Remember your last trip to the local car wash? How about that undercarriage wash or that irresistible ’hot-wax’! All you have to do is think about your business and what you can offer as the next best thing, for a few more dollars! 4) Offer Extended Warranties
How many times have you been offered an ’extended warranty’? Probably every time you bought any non-disposable product priced over $20!! How these warranties work is really quite simple and they generate incredible income for the companies that offer them.It is rarely, if ever, the retailer or the service provider who actually carries out any warranty work. This is usually arranged through a third company that does nothing but this sort of thing. You might want to contact the places you send your repairs to about setting up and extended warranty program where you both benefit by offering that added security to your customer’s purchase. Much like in the insurance business, warranty repairs are only a fraction of the total volume of products sold. That means that most products you sell will never come in for any warranty work, leaving the money generated from selling that warranty as pure profit! But there’s more! By offering that sort of warranty, you’ll also increase your sales by making your customers feel more secure in purchasing from you. 5) Use Risk Reversal
Here’s a really powerful way to increase your sales, but you have to think this one out carefully or you might lose your shirt! The idea is to offer your products or services as risk free as possible to your customers. In the case of my consulting practice, many of my clients do not pay me a cent until they see measurable results in their sales. This makes it very easy to hire me as a consultant. It’s completely risk-free!You can do the same thing. You may offer a full 30-day money back guarantee, as opposed to most companies that offer only 7 days. You may offer other types of guarantees, some as long as one full year, if the product is of the type that lends itself to this sort of guarantee. A business "how-to" book or business plan might be an example of that sort of product. The rule of thumb is to keep the risk to your customer as low as possible. You’ll see immediate benefits in increased sales. Returns on quality products have proven not to increase proportionately with sales, so don’t worry about being overwhelmed by returns, it won’t happen! 6) Create Special Offers To Past Customers
The most profitable market you can sell to are your past customers. They have already participated in business transactions with you and have developed trust in your operation and in your products. Why not take full advantage of this fact by developing specials for "preferred customers?" Credit card companies do this all the time - just watch your mail this week!If you negotiate a special deal for some product or are planning on carrying an entirely new product line, why not let your preferred customers know about it BEFORE the rest of the world? Go a step further and offer them special pricing on those products or services if they act before a specified date. You’ll be amazed at what happens. Your customers will feel special and many will take you up on your special offer! That’s a great way to improve your bottom line and customer loyalty! 7) Use Cross-Overs With Other Companies
Maybe you don’t pay enough attention to this powerful marketing technique. It is so simple, many companies just don’t put any faith into its true power. The idea is to work with other companies to offer each other’s products and services to each other’s customers. It’s reciprocal and it is profitable for BOTH companies.Here’s how it works. In the case of my consulting practice, I often approach some of my lawyer clients and ask them to send a letter on their letterhead to their business clients telling them of my services and how my services have helped them grow their law practice. The letter offers a free hour of consulting to the clients "on-the-house" or compliments of the lawyer who is sending the letter. You would not believe the response to such a letter!
As a retailer, you could do the same thing with other retailers. You might offer all patrons of a local restaurant a voucher for 10% off their next purchase at your store. In return, you might offer your customers a voucher for one free drink, of half off the regular cost of a dinner at the restaurant you are reciprocating with. Both companies win, and there is little or no money involved! Absolutely perfect! 8) Get Free Publicity As Often As Possible
When was the last time you sent out a press release? Don’t remember, huh? I thought so. Well, you’re missing out on one the best advertising opportunities you never bought! It’s certainly true that you never need spend a penny to get publicity in local, regional or even national publications! All it requires is that you craft a press release and mail it to publications you feel might be interested in publishing your information. Sounds easy enough, so why aren’t you doing it?!What type of information is news worthy? Just about anything that is new, exciting, or different about your business. A press release I might send out to promote my consulting business is one that announces a breakthrough a local business has had as a result of my consulting work with them. It might explain where the company was, what they were doing and what I had them change in order to gain the success they are enjoying today. When that type of article is published, you can imagine how much my telephone rings from other companies wishing to achieve the same levels of growth! Imagine what it will do for your business as well! 9) Remember Your Customers At Holiday Time
Why not tell your customers how much you appreciate their business all year long with a thoughtful (as opposed to generic) holiday greeting card? You might even include a voucher for a special item(s) you have on sale or just a simple "10% off you next purchase" coupon. What a great way to keep selling through the lean months of January and February!Not only that, but you’ll reinforce that fact that your customer is important to you and you appreciate their continued patronage. It’s a very powerful tool that just is not used nearly enough! Use it! 10) Simplify The Sales Process
Do you offer your customers various payment options? I’m not just talking about accepting popular credit cards, I’m talking about payment plans as long as several years, leasing arrangements, or layaway programs. These types of payment options will allow more customers to take full advantage of special or seasonal items even if they do not have the funds available to do so at that time.The more flexibility you have in this area, the better off your sales will be. Leasing is an easy option to set up with the large number of leasing firms in business today. Leases can be set up for products that retail for as little as $250. If you have the capability to offer your own credit plan, you might consider that too. The idea is to offer as many payment options as possible so that you totally remove payment as a barrier to making a purchase with you. Conclusion
You now have the sparks that will ignite your creative juices and help you sell more of your products or services. Try the items that are easiest for you to implement immediately and if they work for you, then try to adapt some of the others to your business and watch your sales continue to rise! If you can’t seem to be able to use any of these items, then call me and I’ll work with you to get you on the right track to growing your business!!© by Robert Imbriale. All rights reserved. Robert Imbriale is an internationally known Business Coach, Speaker, Author, and Master Marketer whose work is currently published worldwide in over 16 languages. Thousands of businesses worldwide currently use his marketing strategies to increase sales and grow their organizations. Mr. Imbriale can be reached on the web at www.ambiznet.com or via e-mail at robert @ unlimitedleads.com