Virtually every small business owner that I speak to tells me that they want (or need) to get more sales. They are always looking for advice on easy or low-cost ways to help sell more of their products or services.
Selling is both an art and a science, and many small business owners struggle with it. Sometimes, the solution is as easy as removing roadblocks or switching up how you sell. With mobile payment systems allowing you to do business on the go, you can get new customers at events, pop-up shops, by co-marketing with other businesses, etc. Going to where your customer is already spending time really amps up sales.
There are ways that you can make it easier (and more likely!) for your prospects to become customers – and, hopefully, repeat customers. Here are a five easy ways to expand your sales:
1. Use the “tasting spoon” technique.
Like they do at your local ice cream shop, give people a taste to see how great your product or service is. If they like it, they’ll want to buy more. Can giving something away for free work? Absolutely. It helps you establish trust and credibility, and build a relationship with a prospect. Or you could use a low-cost “taste” of your service. Consultants do assessments to determine a prospect’s needs and demonstrate their thought leadership. Often, these assessments uncover small projects that then lead to bigger projects and a long-term relationship.
2. Give people just a few choices.
Make sure your customers can have the product or service the way they want, but don’t give them too many choices or, as many studies have shown, they will just walk away. How frustrating is it when you walk into a store for a simple item and there are 20 different versions? Unnecessary variations with few discernible differences will cause you to lose sales, not get more sales.
3. Don’t let payment get in your way.
Make it as easy as you can for your customers to pay you. The last thing you want is for a potential customer to get frustrated and walk away right as they were about to pay you. Think about it: how many times have you walked out when the line was slow or long, or a restaurant only accepted cash? Technology makes it easy and cost effective to accept payments with credit cards in person and online. Let people pay you however they want to!
4. Build trust with your customers.
Trust is hard to build and incredibly easy to lose. And once it’s lost, you very rarely get it back. Show your customers that you value their privacy. Ensure that you have secure systems and strong passwords in place to protect data. Assure prospects and customers that you never sell their data. And make sure that every employee and vendor knows and respects your policy.
5. Provide great customer service.
Never quote “company policy” to a customer. It makes them furious. Train every single member of your staff to listen to customer complaints and empower all employees to make small offers in order to make things right. Perhaps even put in place a policy of some amount, say $100 per order, that they can have discretion over without approval. Your fantastic response to a complaint can turn an angry customer into your biggest evangelist.
And here’s a bonus suggestion: Don’t forget to ask for the business. In a retail establishment, this is easier. You may be answering questions or reading the prospective customer’s body language, so you’ll know when the time is right to say, “May I take that to the register for you?” or “And how would you like to pay for that today?”
When you are selling professional services and you have answered questions and addressed objections to determine that there is a fit, prospects will want you to take the next step and offer to submit a proposal for the work or ask if they are ready to move forward. Small business owners are often afraid to be seen as pushy or sales-y. Don’t lose a sale because you forgot to ask for the business.
These tactics will make your product or service more enticing to your prospective customers and create a foundation upon which to build trust and credibility in your market. As a small business owner, you have the advantage of being able to modify your sales tactics more easily than a larger organization. Good luck and happy selling.
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