Dreading Thursday’s report because your sales figures don’t match up to those enthusiastic projections from last month? Wondering why your sales team are underperforming? Need new ways to boost sales? Thinking how to increase sales?
As much as a decline in sales may not always be your fault, that doesn’t mean that there’s nothing you can do to turn it around. Understanding the problem is the first step to figuring out how to increase sales and tackle it head on – followed by learning the most appropriate response in order to fix it. Read my advice below on how to go about increasing your sales before that dip in the stats gets too low.
You got a problem?
Knowing why you’ve stopped making sales is the most important piece of the puzzle. Spin the wheel (well. you can just scroll down) to find a winner in the list below:
Your ability to influence each of these factors will depend on your position in the company.
All products and services have peak sales periods. Whether that correlates very obviously with weather (no one’s buying shorts and shades in November) or festivity (egg nog in June?), or whether it’s more subtle seasonality having an effect, making your offering more attractive at a time when it might not be at the forefront of everyone’s minds can help to make you heard again. Discounts, one time offers, rewards and benefit schemes can all help to position your service as the best option on the market. Even if your service may not be required at that specific time, presenting prospects with a time-sensitive offer that will benefit them in the long run can spur them to make that purchase now – therefore boosting sales.
Take Action: Work with your colleagues in Marketing to come up with a compelling promotion or offer to generate leads during quiet periods to increase sales.
Staying up to date with your competitors’ developments is an essential part of business, no matter what your industry. After all, a sudden drop in price by your rivals can seriously affect your sales. So you play the game and hit back twice as hard, right? Not exactly. Much like your mother used to tell you when it came to the playground, retaliation isn’t always the answer. If your competitor has dropped their price in line with a limited promotion, then you may want to match it to stay competitive. However, if they have completely changed their pricing strategy, then a deeper evaluation may be required. Compare your offering to theirs, and if it’s worth more, then sell it for more. Premium pricing can set you in good stead for those wanting a better quality product or service, and is one of the best ways to improve sales among prospects looking for a top value offering (Apple are the masters at this). You can still boost your sales with a higher mark up, if the product is worth it. Other competitive threats include high barriers to entry/exit, blocking potential prospects from leaving competitors, as well as strong trust signals that can build your competitors up.
Take Action: A new pricing strategy can’t be implemented overnight – make sure you keep your colleagues in all departments aware of any sudden change in a competitor’s pricing strategy and work together to find a solution. Only pursue available prospects, and continuously work on your branding to maintain your persona and keep trust levels high.
Getting one-off customers to repeat a purchase, reaching out to lapsed customers, and selling to your regulars is a major part of making sales for any business. But you’ll have hit a gold mine if you’ve developed a business that can flourish on existing customers alone – which is why attracting new customers is paramount to a business’s progression and success. How are you attracting new customers? Are you generating enough leads for your sales team to convert? Running incentive campaigns that encourage existing customers to bring friends, family and colleagues on board is a great way to use your existing customer database to your advantage and help your customer base grow. In the same vein, generous offers for new customers are also a great way to market your product or service as the most attractive option when compared with competitors.
Take Action: Work with the Marketing team to develop a compelling customer referral incentive scheme – and remember to feed back to them on the results so that the scheme can be further improved.
Understanding how to improve sales sometimes goes as far back as pricing. It’s a balancing act that needs getting right in order for you to attract the right audience, and make enough profit to allow your business to thrive. Come in way too hot and you’ll dissuade a whole market of people who see you as out of their reach. Price your product too low and you risk looking too cheap to be true. Value yourself competitively, but correctly and in a way that’s reflective of your service – and you’ll soon be attracting your ideal target audience. As long as you can explain convincingly why your offering is worth the asking price, making sales should be a breeze.
Take Action: Make sure that your sales team logs all customer objections based on price. You can then feed this information back to other departments regularly, to evaluate your current pricing structure and whether it’s in line with customer expectations.
We don’t want to get too personal here, but if all of the above are in check, the problem might be a little closer to home. The fact that 53% of customer loyalty is driven by the sales experience as opposed to brand, price, service or the product, shows the importance of what you say, and how you say it. Potentially being the only voice from your business that the person on the other end of the phone is ever going to hear, you just became the voice of the company. Not to put the weight of the business on your shoulders or anything. As a salesperson, ultimately it’s your approach that’s going to make or break a sale. Push for that close too early or shove too many solutions down their throat before exploring a customer’s pain points, and you may as well hang up before they do. Check out our 5 steps to an effective sales pitch for more.
Take Action: Evaluate your team’s performance and recognize where changes need to be made. Whether that means on a one to one basis or delivering department-wide advice, get your team motivated, and educated, to be the best salesperson possible.
If you’ve been querying how to increase sales for your business, attacking the problems above should get you back on track for your next sales report. Though we can’t make any promises, we’ll happily take any credit once that dip starts to vanish with your increasing sales.