We are coming to the end of the year and it might be a time to unwind and enjoy the Christmas cheer. However, it may also be a time for reflection and see how you can develop your business and increase sales in the forthcoming year.

1) Listen to Your Customers

 

As simple as it sounds but actually listening to your current/potential customers is the best way to understand and address their needs as well as dispel any concerns they may have with the service/product.  If there isn’t an open dialogue, the chances of misunderstandings can occur and this could lead to a loss of sales.
When customers show an interest in your product/service by “liking” or “signing up” for example, acknowledge their interest and ask them how you can help them in any way or if they are interested in any product/service.
When selling a software for example, ask leading questions if they are unsure of a feature (or if they are not committing to a sale just yet) by requesting a time for them to book a demo with you face to face or using Skype.

 

2) Upsell Your Products/Services

When selling services/products to customers, a great selling strategy is to get them to buy more or to buy an upgraded version of the service/product instead. This is upselling. But don’t just think of it as getting the customer to pay more while the business benefits. It needs to be done in a way where both parties benefit
Sometimes it’s about creating a better option to please the customer, without increasing your base costs too much. If you can make/provide a bespoke product/service that doesn’t cost too much or take too much extra time, then that’s a great way to sell as customers won’t mind paying more because you have created something “special” or “personal”.

 

3) Update Content Marketing

When people see fresh content on your business’ site, especially content that caters to your business market, it stands out and shows that you are constantly evolving and staying in tune with the current business climate.
Content Marketing includes adding blog posts to your websites, images of your latest products, videos explaining your product/service and infographics. It is a great way to increase traffic to your website.
The key is to keep it simple. Content marketing can be a great way for you to increase sales for your business. But fancy strategies can sometimes distract you from the real purpose of your content. For this reason, the single best way to simplify your content strategy is by focusing on real quality, even if it means you publish less content overall. Two high-quality written pieces of content a week will have far more value than four average pieces!

 

4) Bundle Your Products/Services

Many small businesses have found success by selling products and services as a bundled package rather than as individual products/services. Customers often think of a bundle of services as a saving, even if the savings are minor, making it a much easier to sell to them.
Try to keep the bundles flexible; a potential customer may reject a bundle because they feel that only three of the six services apply to them or their business. By being flexible enough to swap out different products or services you increase the chance of getting that important sale!

 

 

5) Provide Limited Offers/Promotions

The holiday period can provide a great opportunity to increase sales for any business. People are always looking for gift ideas to buy their loved ones and getting them for a great deal. Offering a slight discount can make your products and services more attractive to a customer and lead to more sales.
To retain customers, offering promotions or limited time offers on products or services they normally pay for (e.g. gardening services) can be very useful.
Having a ‘personalized promo code campaign’, for example, shows the customers that you value their relationship by giving them a special discount or free item.

  Some examples of promotion campaigns

The aim should not be to just generate as many new sales as possible during the seasonal holiday (although that’s a nice bonus), but rather to continue and develop engagement and loyalty that can be sustained throughout next year. To make that happen, it is important to come up with a plan to stay in contact with the new leads/customers during the holiday rush via a long-term ‘nurture campaign’. This can be done by offering subscriptions or offering upgrades to packages/services at a rate that is personal to them.

 

6) Use social media

Every business, whether it’s a start-up or an existing one, should have online presence, not just by having a website but promoting themselves on various social media sites. This allows for greater exposure in reaching as many existing and potential leads.
Picking the right social media platform depends on many factors. What is the age range of your target audience? What is your business? Is it a service or a product you selling? Are you selling it directly to customers (B2C) or to other businesses (B2B)?
Even if an owner of a business has a small following on Twitter or Facebook, using social media to promote the product or service is a great way to raise customer awareness and hopefully get interest and contact.
Social media doesn’t just have to be a sales tool, but as an open line of communication. Use it to share other interesting industry information, retweet or repost articles of particular significance to your business as well as sharing how your business works.
Social media is first and foremost social; use it as a personal touch base to current or potential customers.

 

7) Get Referrals

For any business, current customers are a great asset in providing client referrals. Asking a satisfied client who is using your product/service will be able to provide contact details of other customers/businesses that might also benefit from the product/service too. Some businesses offer referral deals as an incentive for clients to pass on contacts.
It is also a good idea to ask satisfied customers for testimonials and then use those on the business website or social media sites as well as sales emails or newsletters. Always make sure to get permission first before using a customer testimonial.

 

8) Network

Business networking, whether online and/or face to face, can be very powerful in increasing product/service awareness, especially if you are in the business of selling and marketing to other businesses.
It is important to know beforehand the kind of people you want to meet and find organizations and activities they are involved in. Suffice to say, it is a waste of time to go to networking events unless that’s where your target market will be.
Once a good connection is gained with someone, follow the meeting up with a kind email expressing gratitude for his/her time. It will make you memorable. Humility and gratitude are traits of every successful professional. In that follow up email, you can promote your product/service and ask for feedback and advice about your information – that’s a sign that you respect the other person’s opinion.
LinkedIn (LI) is the place for online business networking. It is rich and easy to use. People will check you out on LI to find out more about you. So, your profile needs to stand out from the crowd and explain what you do in detail, including your USP. Use LI to connect with others. Seek out the people you are connected to that might be able to introduce you to the people you want to meet.

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