Develop a sales strategy
In order to boost sales, you’ll need a solid sales strategy, or plan, highlighting milestones you need to hit to increase your sales. This strategy is the set of actions you plan to carry out to promote the sale of your product or service. Your plan should be based on the specific needs of your customers.
A plan for increasing sales is the cornerstone of every successful business. After developing your strategy and putting it into motion, you can look at your sales numbers and adjust your approach if sales are not increasing. Use the steps below to better gauge the needs of your customers, how you plan to sell to them and ways the competition is succeeding or failing at reaching them as well.
The 4 Ps of sales strategy
There are four key elements that contribute to your sales strategy and improve your business. Consider each of these factors to capture a better picture of your business and increase sales.
- Product – Evaluate all aspects of your product, service or store, including brand name, packaging and production costs. In which areas are you meeting the mark, and in which areas could you improve?
- Price – Consider where you stand on price in comparison to your competitors and adjust your pricing if necessary to stay competitive. You should also determine what payment types you will receive; whether cash, credit, debit or check; and how those compare with your competitors. Continue reading for more on how to price your product.
- Place – Determine the best location for your business and how you will distribute your products to appeal to your customers, as well as where you place your products in your location.
- Promotion – Plan how to promote your products. Although having a great product is important, how well you attract customers is just as important.
Smart ways to increase sales
Once you have a strategy in place, you can begin to turn your plan into action with targeted methods for increasing the sales of your product. Here are just a few of the tactics you can use to meet your goal.
Focus on one goal at a time
When exploring ways to increase your sales, it’s helpful to focus on one specific, achievable goal at a time. Your goal should align with your business plan and include monthly milestones to help you achieve it. To keep it measurable, you may want to target a dollar amount, number of products sold or another measurement, such as increasing sales through specific promotions on your website or offering discount coupons.
Know your customers
Your customers are important to your business. Ultimately, you should be selling a product or service that meets their unique needs and engaging them with those needs in mind. It can be useful to talk to your customers, listen to their thoughts and concerns, understand their needs and wants and adapt your business approach accordingly. Remember that treating your customers well can make them loyal to your business. After all, if you have a good relationship with them, they will be more likely to come back or to talk to others and tell them about your business.
Building interest in your business
When you speak to a customer about your product, service or store, whether with marketing materials or in person, tell them what it can do for them. Once they’re aware of these “product benefits,” they’ll be more interested in learning about the features of the product.
The AIDA model (Attention, Interest, Desire, Action) is a guide that serves to communicate easily and effectively the benefits of a product or service. You can use this guide to help you sell the benefits of your business.
1. Attract attention – You can attract your customers’ attention with marketing tactics, appealing product branding and packaging, or optimizing product placement.
2. Maintain interest – Maintain customers’ interest by communicating the benefits of your product. Your product information should be clearly labeled or communicated and easy to understand.
3. Create desire – Next, you will need to persuade your customers that they want to own this product or use this service. Focus on how the product will help them by selling the benefits instead of the features.
4. Take action – Once your consumers express interest, ensure that they buy the product or service or place an order by making it easy to make the purchase. Your customer service and point of sale system can help increase sales.
Create a marketing plan
Marketing is everything you do to make customers aware of your business through different promotional efforts. Whether you have a small shop or are selling a product or service online, there are several simple ways you can attract new customers and increase your sales, including:
- Social media – Develop a social media community to build relationships with your customers. You can also utilize paid social media advertising to promote your business and any deals you may be offering. Depending on your audience and business type, you could create a presence on social media using Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube, etc.
- Email marketing – Create a customer email list and send out emails or newsletters with special deals, new product announcements and any other news that would benefit them.
- Web presence – Depending on where you’re doing business, having a presence on the web is key for reaching your target audience and attracting new customers. Create a website for your business and ensure that you’re listed on business review sites and mobile mapping software.
- Advertising – Paid advertising is another way to promote your business, and can include ads on social media, radio stations, newspapers, magazines and websites or in print.
- Events – Host events for your business or participate in events in your community to promote your product and raise awareness for your business. Consider hiring a public relations consultant to help promote your company and events you are participating; this will help you generate media coverage and boost sales.
Price your product right
Product pricing is an essential factor in determining the success of your business as one element of the 4 Ps (product, price, place, promotion). There are multiple elements you should be considering if you are unsure if you should be lowering or raising the price of your product.
- Understand your customers – Depending on your industry, your customers may have price expectations related to your product. It’s important to note what your customers are willing to pay and factor that into the price.
- Do your research – Product pricing requires research to determine what your competitors are charging and how that should impact your pricing. You will need to stay competitive with other businesses while still ensuring that you’re not pricing your product too low.
- Focus on profit – Another approach is to set a revenue target and factor in the costs of production, staff time, marketing and selling your product to ensure you cover all of your costs. It can sometimes be easier to work backwards from where you want to end up, and then evaluate what actions are needed to get you there.
- Know the market – Many market factors can impact the price of your product, including economic stability, product trends and other external indicators. It’s wise to keep an eye on the market and stay ahead of any volatility so that you can make any necessary adjustments for your inventory and customer needs. These volatilities could include a change in the price of labor or input materials, or a dip in the price of one of your staple goods.
There are various pricing methods that can help you attract customers and boost sales. A few pricing strategies include:
- Cost-plus pricing – Calculate your costs and add a markup.
- Competitive pricing – Set a price based on what the competition charges.
- Loss leader – Sell your product at a competitively low price to attract customers who may buy other, more profitable products.
- Odd value pricing – Sell products for $.99 instead of $1.00. Some customers view odd value prices as being more attractive.
- Price skimming – Set a high price and lower it as the market changes.
- Penetration pricing – Set a lower price to enter a competitive market and raise it later.
No matter your budget or industry, offering an array of discounts can be a great way to attract customers and make more sales. A few of the many ways you can offer discounts include:
- Offer special deals – There are many deals you can offer, including markdowns, two-for-the-price-of-one sales, buy-one-get-one-free offers or free gifts.
- Bundle your products – You can package multiple products together for a single price to offer customers convenience and added value.
- Distribute coupons – Coupons could come in the form of email coupons, coupon offers or exclusive invitations.
Reduce overhead costs
Another method for increasing your profits is to focus on your management costs. Streamlining your overhead costs and stabilizing your cash flow can make a huge impact on your end profit. You might be surprised by how much you can cut back on day-to-day costs, which could add up significantly over time.