13 January 2015

7 Practical Ideas To Increase Sales In Your Small Business


If you’re racking your brain trying to think of new ideas to increase sales in your small business, start with what you have. You’ve likely done a good bit of work to get where you are, and it may not make sense to wipe the slate clean and start from scratch. But if you think you’re missing a piece that could get your business machine running on all cylinders—or you’re wondering if what you’re doing is working at all—here are seven changes you can make simply by adjusting and fine-tuning the methods you’re already using.

1. Get Local

As a small business owner, you’re keenly aware of the importance of your local community to your livelihood. But are you thinking about—and sharing—how important your business is to your community? Many business owners are selling themselves short when it comes to prioritizing the advantages they have as physically present, relatable, involved members of the community.

Does your community know you by name? If not, it’s time to start putting yourself out there. Attend community events as both a business partner and member of your community. Showcase your pride in your hometown by weaving the narrative of your town into your business activities. Be visible at social and charitable functions, and don’t forget to advertise around town, whether on the radio, in the newspaper, on billboards, or even with something as simple as wearing T-shirts with your company emblem on it while you work around town.

Then, once you’ve begun to put yourself out there, make sure your community knows about it. Don’t be afraid to call up your local newspaper or TV station to let them know the good or interesting things you’re doing. You have the face-to-face power non-local brands don’t have and can’t get, so make sure you’re leveraging it at every chance you get. That includes by being with your customer every step of the way, as we’ll discuss below.

2. Fine Tune Your Online Presence

If you’re going to be online, make sure you’re doing everything you can to make it easy for your customers to find you, understand how you can help, and contact you as simply as possible. That means making sure:

  • Your website is functional, attractive, and has a clear purpose and call-to-action

  • Your location and phone number listings are accurate

  • You keep an updated website

  • Your website represents your company

  • Your social media account(s) are cohesive extensions of your brand’s voice

  • Any online reviews of your company are acknowledged and recorded

3. Showcase Your Strengths

What makes you different from the guy down the street or the company halfway across the country?

According to the Small Business Administration, being able to answer that question can increase your sales both locally and globally. This introspection is something that doesn’t cost anything—however, by identifying how your company can do something for your customer unlike anyone else, you’ll be able to run with a story that is authentic and use it in everything from conversation to advertising.

(To find out more about what you can do to differentiate yourself, check out this article: 5 Tips For Using Differentiators To Increase Your Small Business Sales.)

4. Make Sure You’re Reaching The Right People

In order to grow your business, you can’t stop at just building awareness. You need to make sure you’re sharing your brand’s story and how you’re doing good work for your customers in the right places and at the right times. That comes down to making sure you’re marketing to the right audience. The first step? Rank your prospects according to profitability.

“Take a look at your client base—which are the most profitable for you? This will help weed out those whose work you really don’t need and those it makes sense to pursue. Alongside profitability, identify the client profiles that have proven to be your most satisfied. These are the ones who are referring your business to friends and neighbors. Do they represent a particular demographic or live in a certain neighborhood? Perhaps they have a common challenge or need that can help you fine tune your sales focus. This is market research at its simplest. And it works.”

One simple way you can make sure you’re reaching the right audience is by tracking your advertising through call measurement. By adding a unique phone number to each advertising piece you put out, you’ll get real-time, vital information about potential customers responding to your ads and the specific ads that are generating the most incoming revenue for you. By knowing how much actual business comes from your various advertising sources, you can adjust your budget or switch around your marketing mix to ensure you are maximizing the ROI of every single dollar you spend.

5. Educate Your Clients Instead Of Talking About Yourself

Once you know who you’re talking to, you better make sure you’re giving them what they want. If you have a platform that’s caught the attention of your customers, don’t squander it by talking about yourself. Take advantage of being the expert, and share ways you’ve helped past clients solve problems they have. While not every business needs to share this in long form, or in blog posts, etc., make sure you are using whatever medium you’re investing in to tell what you can do or can offer to the customer that speaks to their needs.

6. Provide Standout Service

If you take away one thing from this article, we want it to be this: make sure every customer interaction your business has is one that you can be proud of, from your frontline employees to the managers all the way to the top. Treat your customers the way you want to be treated. It sounds easy, but customers say it’s not happening, and the ramifications to your business can cost you thousands (even millions!).

Here are some things your team can do (and some things to avoid) that can help you provide exceptional service:

  • Avoid saying these seven things

  • Train your employees on how to win back frustrated callers

  • Use nonverbal cues (like smiling while you talk) as much as verbal cues to show your customers you care

7. Listen To Your Customers

Above all else, take the time to listen to what your customers are saying, whether it’s to your employees, to their friends, or online. For an unbiased, accurate look at your reputation, try call recording. You’ll have the ability to record as much (or as little) as you want, and you can see exactly how your sales are being lost. You’ll also have an archived recording of each call, which can provide a legal advantage to protect yourself and your company from potential liabilities.

Then, once you know what’s actually going on, you can act. You can provide training to your employees to correct the problem, nip problems in the bud through new-employee onboarding programs, or even make personnel changes as needed.

The best place to start with growing your business is by working with what you already have. Give us a call or contact us today to see how we can work with you to improve and strengthen your business strategies.