Sales Tips

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What Can I Do When Sales are Slow?

When Sales Promotions Can Help Boost Your Numbers

What can you do when sales are slow? Should you pack things up and call it quits? Never!

If business is slow, slash prices. The reason customers aren't frequenting your store may be because your competitors are marking down their own products. To fight fire with fire, offer your own sales and promotions.

Even if demand is low for a product (gift baskets sold any time outside of the holidays don't sell as well, for example), putting it on sale can get customers to buy a product they may not have considered otherwise.

Package Deal: If you have a specific product that you just can't move off the shelves, consider tying it to the sale of another product. For instance, if you have trouble selling antibacterial soap, add it as a giveaway to the purchase of body wash. You can even raise the price for the package deal, making the package cheaper than buying the two. It's better to sell both at a discounted price than to not sell the antibacterial soap at all.

Percent Off: If you offer a coupon for 10 or 20 percent off of anything in your store, it encourages people to buy more. Shoppers have the “buy more, save more” mentality, so this is a great method to generate sales.

What is Affiliate Marketing?

Sales in Cyberspace: Affiliate Marketing

If you've ventured into the world of online sales, congratulations! You have taken the first step to increasing sales of your product or service.

Now you just need a little help from your friends.

Affiliate marketing is designed to get you more exposure of your product to a wider audience of potential buyers. The affiliate marketing company advertise your products on multiple websites, and once you've made a sale through an affiliate's channel, they take a percentage (or fixed fee) of the sale. All you have to do is sit back and let the numbers go up, up, up!

Additionally, some affiliate marketing companies can advertise your product via email. This is a great option if you have a book, audio CD or e-book that you want to sell. In these cases, you really have to tell your potential buyers in detail the benefits that your informational resource will provide them, and email is a great format to do that.

If you have tried other methods of generating traffic to your site and sales in your account without success, take a look at affiliate marketing. It is changing the way we advertise – from being an expensive, long term commitment, to an affordable, easily updated relationship!

How Can I Sell More of my High End Products?

Accessibility: The Key to Selling High End Products

Selling a million dollar laser system is not the same as selling a keychain. Your relationship with a client is much more dedicated and long-term than that of a clerk selling an accessory to a customer in the mall.

So why would you use the same techniques to sell your product?

Being accessible to your high end product clients is of extreme importance. If they spend top dollar on your product only to find you're nowhere around when they have questions, this is a good way to get them to not buy from you again!

Whether you're the business owner or sales rep, accessibility is key to sales. If someone is considering buying, say an expensive piece of jewelry, they want to know you stand behind your product, and will be there if there is a problem with the product, or even if they have questions about how to care for the jewelry. By building relationships with your customers, you help them trust you. By helping them trust you, you can generate sales of your high end product.

Whether your customer is a corporate client looking for a software systems integration or an individual who needs a thoroughbred, your role is to be there for them, through the wooing process, and long past the sale. Check in on your customers a few weeks, then a few months after the sale to see if you can offer any additional services.

By being accessible, you will ensure that the next time that client (or the client's friend) is in the market for your high end product, you will be the first business they think of!

How Can I Improve My Website to Generate Sales?

Your Sales Secret: A Dazzling (and Workable) Website

If you do business online, your website is your storefront. You would clean up any trash or clutter in a brick-and-mortar store, so shouldn't you do your best to ensure your web store is clean, dazzling and easy to navigate?

One-Size-Fits-All Solutions
Many entrepreneurs, determined to save a dime, use one-size-fits-all template solutions for their websites. While templates themselves aren't a bad thing, using an unprofessional design can make your business come off as amateur and unbusinesslike.

Just like anything you want to succeed, your website should be given the attention it deserves. Hire a professional to custom tailor a site that fits your needs. An expert web designer will be able to accommodate you if you need:

  • Merchant services (checkout, shopping cart)
  • Database management
  • Login capabilities
  • Video/Audio
  • Photos
If you try to do the design yourself, well, you get what you pay for. Let the professionals handle the job.

Looks are Everything
Despite what they say, looks matter when it comes to your website. A sleek, simple website will get the buyer 9 times out of 10 over a cluttered page with flashing animation and too much text.

Look at websites you like and model yours after them. Keep it simple; less text is better than bombarding your reader with too much!

What's the Top Secret to Better Sales?

Easy Sales

Do you want to know the real secret of getting more sales? Listen closely.

Make it easy for your customers to buy from you. Move all obstacles (physical and mental) out of the way, and your sales numbers will go through the roof!

Physical: If you have a storefront, assess each area of your store. You want every section to be uncluttered and easy to maneuver. Make sure there is room enough for at least three people to stand abreast in between aisles, and keep displays and shelving out of the walk areas.

During high sales periods of the day (or during holidays) make sure you have enough cash registers open to accommodate your customers.

You would be surprised how many of your customers will drop what they wanted to buy and walk out if the store isn't easy to shop in.

Online: If you operate in web space, make sure your page is easy to navigate. Buying a product shouldn't involve more than three or four clicks, so cut out any unnecessary steps. Hire a professional web designer to ensure that the site is user friendly.

Mental: Your employees should make every customer feel like your number one customer. If an employee is having a bad day and taking it out on the customers, have her work in the back until she straightens up. As your front line, sales clerks can make or break a sale just with a sour look on their faces.

How Can I Organize my Customer Contacts to Increase Profit?

Maximize Profits By Knowing Who Your Customers Are

Every person you meet is a potential client. By properly organizing your contacts and keeping them up to date, you will increase the likelihood of closing a sale!

Assessing Your Database
Assuming you have a digital database (in Outlook, Access or other database management program), take a look at how it is organized. Are your contacts lumped into one pile, or are they separated out according to category or needs?

By organizing your contacts, you can target them based on certain characteristics. For instance, you could classify by:

  • Business or Consumer
  • Current client , past client or potential client
  • Specific needs (if you're a realtor, sort by Commercial, Residential or Both)
  • Income level
  • Geographic location
Separating out your contacts into groups helps you better understand the niche market each fits into. When you want to send out an email announcement or direct mail targeted at commercial real estate buyers, you won't send a blanket email to all your contacts, regardless of whether they're interested in commercial real estate or not. No one likes to get mail that is obviously targeted toward someone else.
The purpose of mail and email is to make the reader feel like you completely understand exactly what it is they need. This is easy to do if you organize your contact list! People who feel you take their specific needs into consideration are more likely to buy from you!

How Can I Have a Successful Cold Call?

Defrosting The Cold Call

If you're like a lot of business owners, you're terrified at the thought of cold calling anyone with the hopes of getting a sale. The person you call might curse at you, hang up on you, or burn your house down.

Or will they?

With a game plan, you can make your fear of cold calls a thing of the past. Keep these tips in mind the next time you pick up the phone.

Do your research. Never go into a call without knowing who you're calling. If you are calling a company that might benefit from your product or services, visit their website to find out as much as you can about them. Otherwise, you may trip up if they mention some major news announcement that you failed to find out about prior.

Get a plan. Don't make the objective of the call about making a sale. Make your goal to get an appointment. No one is going to agree to buy something over the phone. Once you get in the door, you can easily make a compelling case as to why your product is superior and beneficial.

Make a script. Create a basic outline of what you want to cover in your phone call, but don't read it verbatim. You'll want a general introduction of you and your company, and a mention of why you think they should take a look at your company's products.

Make friends with the gatekeeper. It is extremely hard to get past the secretary or assistant who often answers the phone. Be as pleasant as possible, and ask them to help you to win them over.

What is a Target Market?

Define Your Target Market

Before you can increase your sales, you have to know who you're selling to.

“I'm selling to anyone who will buy my product/service.”

Wrong answer. By being vague in defining your target market, you essentially have created the shotgun effect – any efforts you make to generate sales will spray like shot and hit very little of your broad mark. You need to zero in on a specific segment that has need of your product or service.

To figure out who your target market is, use market segmentation to narrow it down.

Location: First, start with the easy one. Do you sell to a local or national (or international) segment? If you sell heavy furniture, most of your customers are probably local. If you have a single storefront, you probably deal with the local segment. But if you generate most of your sales online, your market can be national or worldwide!

Age: What age group do most of your customers fall into? The functionality of your product will appeal to a specific set. If you sell hip hop clothing, your market is teens, not grannies. If you provide business consultation, your audience is probably 30-50 years old.

Income: What income range of customer do you see most? If you sell dollar products, you might see the gamut from low income to frugal high income customers. On the other hand, if you specialize in custom diamond jewelry, your target is high income only.

Once you know who your target market is, you can better market specifically to them. If you focus your advertising efforts on the 25-35 year old mother that subscribes to your parenting magazine, you're not wasting time and energy on anyone that doesn't fit that demographic.

What Can I Do to Improve my Marketing Collateral?

Does Your Marketing Collateral Sell?

You may have invested thousands of dollars in marketing brochures, web copy and flyers, but if it doesn't hit a chord with your audience, you won't get sales. How can you write marketing copy that compels readers to buy your products? Read on.

Address a Benefit: Everyone wants to know “what's in it for me?” If your collateral doesn't list the benefits of your products, the reader doesn't need them. If you sell fat free chocolate, don't just call it “great tasting.” Tell the reader that it offers the same great taste as traditional chocolate, but keeps the pounds off your hips!

Call to Action: You have a pretty flyer advertising a great product. Now what? If you don't have a call to action, your reader won't take any action other than to throw your flyer in the trash. Include sentences like “Call now!” or “Visit our showroom today!” to stimulate the reader into movement.

Sense of Urgency: If you make the reader feel like you're offering a limited opportunity, you'll get better feedback. You've seen the TV infomercials that say “if you call within the next five minutes, we'll cut the price in half!” You feel like in order to get the best deal, you had better act now.

How Can I Get Repeat Customers?

Getting Repeat Customers: 5 Easy Steps

More customers are great, but what's even better are repeat customers. If a customer is happy with your product and service, they'll commit to a lifetime of buying from you, and they'll tell their friends! Here are 5 easy steps to getting repeat business.

1. Incentives. Everyone likes getting something for free. Offer repeat buyers discounts or freebies. The more they purchase, the more they get!

2. Free Samples. If a customer doesn't try a new product, chances are they'll never buy it. But if you provide free samples, it entices the customer to try the product risk free, and then they'll want to buy two!

3. Communication. Keep your customers in the know by sending email or direct mail sales flyers. By offering special discounts to your database of customers, they feel unique and will take advantage of the promotion – multiple times!

4. Be Honest. If a product isn't a good fit, or if it's going on sale next week, tell your customer. You may not make a sale today, but you can be sure the customer will be so impressed that you put their needs above your own that they'll come back and bring friends!

5. Customer Service. If you treat customers well, they will come back. Always be courteous, and call your customers by their names if you know them!

How Can I Make my Product Stand Out?

Stand Out With A Great Product

If your product is identical to every other product of its kind in the marketplace, how can you expect to sell it? The key to increasing your sales is to increase the uniqueness of your product and the benefits it provides.

Features : Think about your product and its features. What makes it different from similar products? Perhaps your vacuum cleaner picks up dirt faster and with less energy than other models. If you could redesign your product, what features would you give it to make it stand out?

Benefits: Your product should provide benefits to its users. Otherwise, you will have no users. If you can convince (and provide) customers of the benefits they'll receive with your product, you'll make your sales.

Some benefits include:

  • Improvements to your customers' health
  • Makes your customers' lives easier
  • Makes work less difficult
  • Keeps children occupied while being educational
Uniqueness: Does your product stand out, with its features, benefits, or price point? You may be able to manufacture your product cheaper than the competition, while still providing high quality. That can make your product unique.

If your product offers features or benefits like no other, then you will be able to enjoy high sales numbers and increases in customers!

How Can I Become a Better Business Owner?

Becoming A Better Leader

While the people on your sales staff are of extreme importance when it comes to increasing your sales, don't underestimate your own ability to boost revenues.

As the CEO or President of your company, your role is to lead by example. You may be very hands-on or prefer to let your employees handle the day-to-day work. Whatever your leadership style, there is always room for improvement.

  • Keep Tabs. Even if you prefer to stay a distance away from operations, you should always know what's going on with your company. Arrange to be involved in all levels of staff meetings, from executive management on down to sales and marketing department meetings. This way, you are an active participant in what goes on at your company, which can inspire others to do their best.
  • Delegate. If, on the other hand, you love being a part of every aspect of your business, step back a bit and let others handle the work. You can love your business and still delegate the work to the capable employees you hired to do the job. You should spend your time helping the company grow through your excellent leadership.
  • Manage Yourself. Like most entrepreneurs, you are probably very passionate about your business, and often put in much more than 40 hours a week. Let go. Your business will run itself without you (assuming you are not the only employee!). Take time away from your business to maintain a good work/life balance.

How Can I Keep Up with my Sales Growth?

Plan For Your Growth

The only thing worse than not making enough sales is making more sales than you can comfortably manage. This can result in you losing some important customers, if your product and service can't live up to expectations. If your company is growing rapidly, plan for that growth. Make sure you can keep up with demand so that you don't have to turn down business, or lose it by trying to keep up.

Expansion: If you manufacture a product and sales are increasing, consider your space. Is it big enough to accommodate your projected sales one year from now? If not, start making plans now to add space, relocate to a larger facility, or outsource some of the work.

If you're in a service industry and your current staff is having trouble getting the workload done, hire more employees. By doing this, you will be able to meet deadlines and keep customers happy.

What's Next? If you're slammed with sales, you may feel like you don't have time to consider what your next step is, but you should. Will you keep growing at the current growth rate as is, or will you need to make major changes to the organization? Depending on the level of sales growth, you may need to form a new department to better manage the process, or if your exit strategy involves selling your company, you may choose to do so while sales are hot so you can negotiate a great sales price for your business.

How Can I Help My Sales Team Sell More?

Train Your Sales Force To Sell

Without a qualified staff of salespeople, you will not be able to generate the sales you want and need for your business. Take these simple steps to ensure that your sales force is educated and trained on what sells.

  • Educate. Without education on your product line, how can you expect your sales staff to know enough about your products to sell them? Dedicate several weeks on a new hire, and at least a day or two each year for every employee, training your salespeople on what your products are, what the features are, and how they can help your customers. Also be sure to train them in how to sell effectively. Provide training manuals they can refer to whenever they need.
  • Question. Make sure your sales staff asks potential customers the right questions. Simply asking if someone is interested in your product isn't going to make a sale. Instead, focus on asking questions about the problems a potential client has that your product can fulfill. Ask questions to get “yes,” not “no.”
  • Objectives. Your sales force should have an objective with each call they make, whether that's getting an appointment or closing the sale.
  • Commit. Your sales staff should ask for a commitment from each person who shows interest in your product.

What Are Some Ideas to Boost My Sales?

Getting Out Of A Sales Slump

Suffering from stagnant sales? Don't despair! Take note on these tips and you'll be back up to soaring sales numbers!

Advertise More. Even if you think you can't afford to advertise because your numbers are down, a slow period is the perfect time to advertise in magazines, publications and online to get your numbers up.

Get Press. If you have something newsworthy, get it in a press release and send it to the media. If you can get some exposure in newspapers and online, you can generate interest and sales.

Network. Join a networking group or three in your community to build relationships with potential clients.

Look at Pricing. Maybe your sales are down because your prices don't reflect supply and demand. Consider cutting prices or offering promotional pricing.

Check with Your Customer. See if there's something you're not seeing from your side of the equation. Your customer may tell you your competitor is offering an unbelievable deal, and you'll need to act on it by offering your own promotion.

Get New and Improved. Take this time to make your product better able to compete in a saturated market. See if you can cut costs or offer better service or technology, and once your new and improved product hits the shelves, sales will boost instantly!

How do I present direct mail?

Personalizing your ads

A very effective method which I occasionally use for maximum impact is to simply write the address of the recipient in my own handwriting. I seem to get a better response as the envelope looks less official and appears more inviting. If you have too many letters to send out, then I suggest you buy sofware that can print envelopes and letters that appear to be handwritten.

Is direct mail useful?

Maximum exposure at your fingertips.

If you are on a tight budget, a direct mail campaign may benefit your business. Some of the direct mailing companies offer fantastic deals and you will definately get exposure. Go for companies that will offer printing, distribution and if neccesary a designing service all in a one package deal. I personally use the Adport service on a regular basis to help advertise my latest ebook novel V.E.S.P.A. I have had 15000 leaflets distributed, printed and designed for a small cost of only 350 pounds sterling. A typical campaign should get you between 2% to 4% potential customers if done correctly. if for an example you sell an item for $10, you could be making between $3000 and $6000 monthly. I use this system once a month and I believe an offline direct mailing campaign will certainly get you noticed. Be sure to ask questions before you decide on a direct mailing company, you must choose the one with the best practices and this could mean the differnce between a profit and loses.

How should I price my product?

Pricing low

This is one of my favorite principles that as a consultant advice all businesses to try and do. To be successful and get a bigger piece of the pie, you must keep prices low enough to be competitive and high enough to cover your costs. It is better to make $1 profit instead of $5 if you know you will be selling more which will in effect convert to more higher sales and more profits for you. So as the saying goes “Stack them high and sell them cheap” applies in this case. That is what supermarkets do and you can too. You soon will be selling like hot cakes.

How do I get customers with a sales letter?

Sales letter magic

Do not rely on one particular style of a sales letter. You do not want to be stuck in a rut. Experiment with different writing styles and the way you present the information for an example the type of paper you use or will you include color. Ensure that you keep a record of where and when you sent out the various letters to see which samples gave you the best response.

How much commision should my agents expect?

Commission heaven

Do not be greedy and try and keep as much of the profits as possible. I know through experience that excellent commissions are an incentive for your self employed agents to achieve company targets. Who would want to get out of bed for $2 per sale and the target is set to something ridiculous like 100 sales weekly. If you are selling something heavily priced up, make show you reward your self employed agents appropriately.

How do I creating winning sales copy?

Create Winning Sales Copy

When you create sales copy you want it to be compelling. Here are some tips to creating powerful sales copy that will bring winning sales your way.

1. Grab their attention with an effective headline. Use words like guaranteed and free. Also, avoid using all caps throughout your entire headline.

2. Offer a discounted price at the end of your sales copy. For example, say this, "Act now, pay $80 instead of $100 – a savings of $20. This offer is available for a limited time only; hurry before it's too late!"

3. People love getting free stuff! At the end of your sales copy offer your potential customer a free trial, or better yet, why not offer them two freebies. Let them know if they sign up for the free trial today, in return, they will also receive a free e-book.

Do you have any advice for winning sales?

Explanation of Winning Sales

W – Write compelling sales copy.
I - Identify your customer by name.
N – Notice something special about each customer.
N – Never leave a customer unhappy.
I – Improve on your sales skills by studying.
N – Never let 'em see you sweat.
G – Get past "no" by finding a new approach.

S – Say "thank you" with a card or gift.
A – Ask for suggestions.
L – Learn about the product or service you're selling.
E – Engage in friendly conversation with your customer.
S – Set the right price.

How can I keep my customers coming back for more?

Retaining Clients in Your Start-Up Business

You're just starting your business, and you already have a few clients on your list. It is essential that you retain these clients; they will be beneficial to your business in many ways. "How can I retain my clients?" you ask. Start with a follow-up letter or e-mail asking your client if he/she is satisfied. If the client is not satisfied correct the problem immediately by offering a freebie.

Sending greeting cards lets your clients know that you appreciate their business. Sharing free information with your client will earn their trust. By applying these tips you will be retaining clients in your start-up business.

My employees don't seem to be winning sales, how can I change this?

Winning Sales through Your Employees

Rewarding your employees can make a difference on how they're treating your customers. Showing your employees that you appreciate them brings more winning sales through your door. Offering your employees a small commission for the sales they're making encourages them to be courteous and polite to your customers. Treating your employees like family provides them with a comfortable work environment. Always remember, a happy employee, means a happy customer, and a happy customer means you're winning sales!

How do I build a friendship with my customer?

Winning Sales through Friendship

Building a friendship with your customer brings winning sales. Building a friendship consists of keeping your commitments, being honest, sharing your knowledge and even treating your customer to lunch or coffee.

Once your relationship develops into a friendship don't stop, continue building the friendship until it becomes long-term. Your success will not only come from winning repeat sales, but the customer will be spreading the word to his/her colleges and friends.

How can I tell my client "thank you?"

Retaining Clients in Your Start-Up Business: Ways to Say "Thank You"

A simple "thank you" in business can get you a long way. Because you're just starting out in business it is very important to say "thank you," because retaining clients in your start-up business means repeat business.

After making the sale, sending your client a thank-you note or greeting card shows him/her that you care, and that you appreciate their business.

Your client has just sent a referral your way, show your appreciation by sending a thank-you note or greeting card. Along with the note or greeting card enclose a card for a discount, or you can even send a free gift – word-of-mouth is the best advertising you can receive.

Maybe your client just canceled his order with you, no matter what the reason was still send him a simple thank-you note or card thanking him for considering your services – you can bet he will remember it later.

Finally, sending a box of chocolates during Christmas or any other holiday, maybe even on your client's birthday, is a heartfelt way of saying "thank you for your business."

How can I start winning sales by being loyal?

Winning Sales Through Loyalty

Loyalty doesn't come overnight; it is something you have to earn. Remembering your customer's name and what she likes is a start to earning her loyalty. Does your customer need to buy something you haven't got? Referring him to someone who has what he is looking for, even if it is your competition, shows him you are a loyal person. Faithfully following these tips will have you winning sales, and building long-lasting relationships with your customers.

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Guru Spotlight
Carma Spence-Pothitt