A major focus for most business owners is on how to increase sales, and rightly so. Without knowing how to close sales, there is no sales growth or business. So, how do we increase sales? Well, we can increase the flow rate of leads that we generate by ramping up our marketing, advertising and doing more networking.
We could also come up with some creative bundling or packaging of goods and services that increases the average customer spend. We could even introduce vouchers or coupons with a view to stimulating more sales activity. You might even train in new sales techniques to better you sales performance.
All of these approaches will have an impact on our sales and if you’re not already doing some or all of these things, you should plan to implement at least a couple. There is a way to increase your sales revenue significantly without having to increase the amount of leads you’re currently generating, the dollars you are outlaying on marketing or the effort you are expending now.
It is by getting a higher percentage of your prospects to say yes, when you ask for the sale – upping your sales conversion rate. It’s called CRO Marketing (Conversion Rate Optimization Marketing). Now, there are many ways to increase your conversion rate, and I can’t cover all of them in this article. What I’m going to do is cover eight very effective tactics that will improve your sales, if you take the time to implement them.
In fact, at the end of this article there is a link to a PDF download that I created for you that lists 50 different ways to increase your conversion rate. Okay, so onto those eight tactics I was talking about:
Documenting your sales process means listing each step you take, from the time you make contact with a prospect, until you close the sale and they become a customer. After this you will need other processes and sales skills to market to them and retain them (another article there!).
The beauty of having your sales process documented is that now you can test the results that come from making changes to it. All processes have outputs or results, good or bad. Your current sales process, whether it’s documented or not, produces results for you.
The only way to improve something is to be able to measure it from a baseline. Small tweaks to your sales process such as improving your scripts, introducing a follow-up system or a CRM and even redesigning your business cards can have a positive impact and increase sales. At first you may want to just draft your sales process out on a whiteboard or sheet of paper. After a few iterations it may be ready for formal documentation and a place in your systems folder.
We have all heard the saying “If you market to everyone you market to no one”. It’s true, and not being targeted in your marketing will cost you, not only in effort, but eventual burnout. It’s hard work trying to appeal to everyone, and very ineffective. Think abut it. If you have 100 un-targeted leads to contact, you are speaking to an audience that probably has no need, now or in the future, for your services. This equates to a massive waste of your time and potential for generating business.
Research your market and hone in on the role/position you need to talk to, their issues and pain points and how your product or services satisfies those pains. When you do this you save huge amounts of time that can be better spent on high potential leads. High potential leads plus a great offer equals higher conversions and an increase in sales.
If I ask you to tell me what you do, how long does it take to explain your business and what it is about? Your marketing message needs to be short, simple and convey exactly what it is that you do,who you do it for and what they can expect as an outcome of doing business with you.
Think Domino’s Pizza, as an example of a concise message. Domino’s does not say they make the best pizza….just hot, fresh and delivered in 30 minutes. Get very clear on who you are talking to, what you do and your promise to your customers.
I have already touched on this critical component of your business in the previous section on your marketing message. What makes you and your business unique in the market place? What’s your brand promise? Why should a prospect choose you over the many businesses that deliver the same services?
Without uniqueness, without differentiation, you become a commodity. And we all know what happens to commodity services and products. People drop down to the lowest common denominator to make their selection – price. You don’t want to go there. So, to increase sales define your uniqueness and how that uniqueness benefits the customer. Tease out what make you different. It could be any of the following:
Without uniqueness in the market place you will have a hard time being heard or selected.
Believe it or not, when a prospect says no to you, it is a great opportunity! You can ask them (as part of you sales process) why they did not choose you. It may be that they thought your prices were too high. Maybe they are not your ideal customer profile. Perhaps you have not researched your competitors and understand the levels of prices being asked and accepted.
Customers will object to certain things. It’s your task to accept and satisfy those objections professionally. With each objection you handle you take a step toward increasing sales, having removed yet another barrier in the mind of the prospect.
Don’t be scared of objections…make objections your friends.
List at least 10 of the most common objections you get from your prospects. Now, go through each one and flip it into an answer that satisfies that objection. You can use these FAQs to educate and prepare your prospects prior to a sales meeting. Feature your FAQs on your website, marketing materials, brochures and presentations.
FAQs can prepare the ground for fertile conversations about your product or service, once the objections are neutralised. You can rehearse answering common objections and over time you will notice that getting the sale becomes much easier.
You have great services or products and your customers love you. Why not share the love and at the same time remove a major barrier to doing new business? I’m talking about trust. One of the biggest hurdles to overcome when you are first approaching a potential customer is their perceived risk of making a buying mistake.
We humans are social creatures, and whether we admit it or not, we are influenced by what others think and do. Whenever I buy a book I go to several websites, one being Amazon, and check out the reviews. This is social proof I am leveraging to make a buying decision. If the reviews are not good…hmm, maybe I won’t buy!
Testimonials, whether text,audio or video have a powerful influence on your prospects. Whenever you receive glowing feedback from existing customers, ask them whether they would grant you permission to use it in your marketing. Start with 3 or 5 and make it part of your sales process to periodically ask for testimonials.
I once attempted to do business with a company that had, on the surface, a good value proposition. Unfortunately my experience of trying to give them my money proved to be less than desirable. For a start they only accepted one form of payment. They also required copious forms to be completed and faxed or mailed to their head office.
On top of that when I had waited a long time for a response, and decide to call them, I was kicked off the call three times. Numerous hand balls to different staff, to handle my inquiry, ensued. Their website had incorrect contact information.
Frustrated, I gave up. If they wanted my business, why did they make it so hard?
To get more sales, look at your systems for on-boarding new customers, your contact details and payment options. Make sure you are ready for all those new customers you are going to getting with your higher conversion rates!
Lead conversion rates can be improved and there are many ways to achieve this. Including a focus on conversion rates in your marketing strategy will reward you with better sales. To help you out I have included 50 conversion strategies in a downloadable ebook for you. To grab your copy click the button below to get your free ebook – “50 Sales Conversion Strategies For Small Business”.