Most business owners I meet want to increase sales, which makes sense, because without sales you have no business.
The challenge is there are literally hundreds of ways to increase sales and people are often tempted by the new and complicated strategies and tactics that can take time to implement and cost a lot of money.
Here are seven and a half simple things, that don’t cost anything, which you can apply today in your business to increase your sales:
1) Smile – We all have bad days and you know what helps make a bad day a good day? It’s when someone smiles at you. When people walk into your shop or even when you answer the phone, smile. People can see it and people can hear it. It amazes me at how often when I walk into a business and I almost feel the need to apologise because I have interrupted the person who is meant to be there to help me buy something. Be grateful when you have someone who is potentially interested in buying something from you. This very simple and easy act, will help you sell more than you can ever imagine. Remember without customers you will have no business.
2) Be helpful – Being helpful involves three things, the right intention, the right knowledge and some really good questions. If it is your intention to help someone, not trick them into buying something they don’t need, you will develop relationships with people that will have both an immediate impact on your sales as well as long into the future. Knowing as much as possible about your product or service is important but you want to know more than just the features, you want to know what problems and challenges your product or service solves, the benefits of using it and ultimately how it makes people feel. This is where having some really good questions comes into the equation. The best way to help people is to ask meaningful questions that will help both them and you understand what their needs and wants are.
3) Don’t give too many options – Many people believe the more options you can give someone the better, it’s almost like a measure of customer service. I disagree, for a number of reasons. With too many options a potential buyer will have “analysis paralysis” in other words they will not be able to make a decision because they are busy trying to weigh up all the different options! By being helpful you will be able to identify which products or services are best suited for your customer and be able offer them only a few options making it easier for them to choose and make a decision to buy from you.
4) Provide great value – One of my favourite quotes is price is what you pay, value is what you get. When someone buys from you think about their whole experience. What do your customers experience before, during and after the sale. When you apply some critical thinking to their journey you will be able to enhance their experience and add more value.
5) Ask for sale – When you are helping someone to buy, and you have done your job well you will know whether you are able to help that person. Asking questions like “how does that fit with what you had in mind?” and “does this makes sense?” can help you identify that you are on the right track and that they are interested in buying from you. If this is the case it’s simply a question of asking “would you like me to show you how we can get started?” or “how many would you like?” The key here is you want to make sure that you are on the right track and that the person is interested and then help them buy from you.
6) Follow up – This is particularly important for service based businesses or where you are required to put together a quote or a proposal. Many people assume that once they have sent through a proposal or quote their job as a sales person is done. It’s not! By just making a simple phone call to check if someone has received your quote or proposal and asking them for some feedback you will be pleasantly surprised how many more people will buy from you.
7) Say “thank you” – These two simple words are so easy to say and mean so much and yet are very rarely used. When you stop, look someone in the eye and say thank you, you will surprise many people in a good way. Thank people when they buy from you and even thank them if they don’t. Saying thank you for the opportunity is something they will remember and next time you may have another opportunity to help them buy.
7½) Invite them back – Once someone has bought from you once, it is more likely they will buy from you again. If they have come back a second time the chances of them coming back a third is even better. Remember to invite them back because when you do they may also bring other people with them.
You may have noticed a re-occurring theme in this article about helping people to buy from you. Most people don’t like to be sold to, they like to buy. When you are known as a friendly solution provider who helps people to buy, your sales will increase and your business will thrive.
I would love to hear from you on how this information has helped you or if you have other tactics or strategies that help you get stuff done.
Sam “Apply” Harrop