How much time are you spending on sales? If you’re running a new business, you should devote at least 80% of your day to it. If you’re an established business, you should spend at least 30% of your day on the sales process or connecting with customers. While this may seem extreme, sales growth should be the core to any business plan. The founder of IBM, Thomas Watson once remarked, “Nothing happens until somebody sells something.”
These are some things you can do to increase sales:
- Introduce new products or services – You’ll need to research your market to see if there is an appetite for your proposed offering. Consider using some of your existing clients as a test, which can help you manage some of the risks and even help you learn how the product or service can be improved. Pay special attention to marketing and promotion to get the word out on your new offerings.
- Expand to new markets – While targeting new markets can be costly, it can increase your client base. Market research will help you understand the potential new market and help you devise a strategy to tackle it.
- Enhance your existing sales techniques – This could include providing your sales staff with enhanced training, contracting independent sales representatives, using resellers, and implementing an e-business strategy if one does not exist already. The outcomes of these techniques should be tracked and be prepared to shift your strategy if you are not seeing your desired results. Study your intended clients to know how best to reach them, and plan your marketing strategy accordingly.
- Change price, terms or conditions of billing – Review what your competitors are offering and your own profit margins to determine if you can reduce your cost. Without touching your price, sometimes sweetening the deal with favorable terms can sway the buyer your way.
- Monitor the competition – Be aware of what your competitors are doing to help you understand their behaviors, capabilities and limitations. With this knowledge, you will be better prepared to defend your market position, react to changes, and find niche markets.
- Improve community relations – Activities such as sponsoring community events, speaking at engagements, or supporting a local sports team can raise awareness of your business and stimulate market demand.
- Don’t neglect customer – Keep in mind the customer’s perception of your service quality or responsiveness. The positive word of mouth from a happy customer is priceless.