U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that, in 2020, 80.9% of newly opened businesses survived their first year. In 2021, it was 79.2% and it slightly decreased to 78.9% in 2022. This means that roughly 20% of brand-new enterprises fold within the same year. Businesses that sell goods and services are particularly in a very delicate position, as they can struggle for years to find their niche and connect with customers. It’s a pretty competitive world.
All this may sound a bit grim. It doesn’t have to be. After all, the majority succeeds and so can you. But how can you follow them on that path? Maybe you’ve just started and are struggling to take things off the ground. Perhaps you’ve already had some success but feel like you have plateaued. If you wish to learn how to increase sales and get the ball rolling with your small business, you’ve come to the right place.
Wondering how to increase sales?
There’s a variety of methods to increase your revenue — both by reaching new customers and making sure you get repeat sales from existing clients. I’d like to suggest no fewer than seven dynamic and innovative strategies you can adopt and unlock new opportunities for growth.
1. Listen and learn
The first step is to shift your focus from an active, assertive role towards a more receptive, perceiving state of mind. Put that extra bit of effort into understanding your greatest asset — your customers. They all have challenges, fears, and desires of their own. So how can your product or service address these and truly help them lead happy lives?
In order to build trust and serve them better, you ought to ask relevant questions. Connect, do your research, and gather as much feedback as you can. Get a grasp of what motivates your customers and makes them tick — and only then attempt to educate and inform them. Strive for continuous improvement.
2. Make it easy
Next, all entrepreneurs wondering how to increase sales should consider the structure of their ordering or booking process. Is it a simple one? If not, you better get rid of those endless pages of forms that will put off all but the most patient customers. Make sure your process is clear and seamless. A straightforward call to action always does the trick.
You should also make sure the product is easy to find, the pricing is clear and easy to understand — and always offer multiple payment methods.
Excellent customer service is another imperative. It’s a way to show appreciation for your clients and have them coming for more.
3. Reward loyalty
As you may have figured, sales aren’t only about the influx of new customers. You also need to build a rapport with existing clientele and create a sense of brand loyalty. You can do that with the following strategies:
- Offer discounts. Two for the price of one, free gift with each purchase, that sort of thing.
- Try bundle sales. Offer a price incentive for purchasing in bulk.
- Create a strong referral program. Give your most loyal clients a code they can share with friends. Each will get a discount and you’ll get more people on your boat.
- Give free trials a go. It’s a tried and tested method of reaching new customers, especially if you’re selling software.
- Put a time limit on your offer. This little trick creates a sense of urgency and may serve as a gentle nudge in the right direction.
4. There’s an app for that
A brick-and-mortar shop is no longer enough. A robust digital presence is of utmost importance for anyone still mulling over how to increase sales. An SEO-rich website is the most obvious choice. There are also business listings like Google or Yelp that can help you reach a wider audience through digital word of mouth.
In the last decade or so, having a smartphone app has become an increasingly popular option for businesses of all sizes. Look at it as the front door to your retail space. It should offer crucial information, a straightforward ordering experience or, if you sell services, enable online booking. Keep in mind, though, that not all businesses need an app, so discuss your strategy before investing in developing one.
5. Get social
Social media is arguably the most cost-effective way to tell a compelling story. This goes beyond the basics of mere mission statements, product details, and contact information. What are the problems you can solve? What sort of image or lifestyle are you trying to present?
Try curating informative content, creating blog posts about industry trends, animated tutorials, and other ways to tell your story. Every platform will have a different demographic so knowing who your core audience is will make a huge difference.
Social media is also a great way to engage, interact, and answer questions. In return, you’ll receive greater insight into consumer behavior and be able to create targeted ads that’ll make a splash.
6. Outsource it
All of the above demands some pretty hard work from your in-house sales team. However, this sort of arrangement might not always work out. A sudden drop or surge in demand can be equally taxing. You’ll find yourself pushed to focus on higher-level tactical tasks and strategies. Don’t you sometimes wish somebody else could handle this game?
Here’s where a cheat code might come in handy. It’s filed under ‘how to increase sales’. The password is — outsourcing.
It simply delegates a part (or all) of your sales process to an external sales company or other third-party team. This includes outsourcing tasks like market research, lead generation, and dealing with outbound and inbound calls. You can access the latest technologies, tools, and sales techniques at a fraction of the cost. A remote team can also handle customer relationship management and sales campaigns.
It works in technology, healthcare, retail, real estate, and telecommunications as well as in many other industries. You can leverage outside expertise when experiencing drastic changes, lack of resources, or simply exploring new markets.
Of course, you will need to address the question of accountability and oversight through clear communication and a robust legal framework. Safety and security should remain a priority throughout.
7. Use analytics and audits
Whichever path you choose, be it DIY or outsourcing, it’ll be important to track sales, monitor analytics, and understand changes. Some trends are seasonal, others are driven by circumstance. After all, who would’ve thought that we’d need billions of face masks in 2020? The more accurate your estimate is, the better your business planning and scaling up will be.
An analytical eye can go beyond market observation and performance metrics. It should also review the content you’re producing. Take a good hard look at your website, email campaigns, or app. Are you presenting features instead of potential benefits? If so, it may be time to conduct an audit, do an overhaul, and refocus on how your product or service will improve the lives of your customers.
Making the right choice
This little list of ideas on how to increase sales could easily prove to be your roadmap to success. Remember that none of these strategies is an island. Each works best in conjunction with others. It’s up to you to mix and match.
First and foremost, listen to your customer and understand their needs. Make the purchase process easy and provide good customer service. Don’t forget to reward loyalty to create repeat sales. In today’s world, ways to reach your audience need to spread over multiple channels – from social media to tailor-made smartphone apps.
Will any of this work? Performance metrics gauged through analytics and audits will give you the answer.
If this hands-on approach sounds a bit daunting and you’d rather not deal with it, remember that outsourcing your sales is always a realistic option. Investing in an expert team could increase your revenue manyfold.