Having strong sales is the lifeblood of any small business. In times of economic uncertainty, boosting your sales can seem like a daunting task. A lot of entrepreneurs wonder exactly what tactics they should use to keep those prospective customers coming in. Here are five powerful sales-boosting strategies that all small business owners should be aware of.
1. Form a Great Sales Team
There's no fancy technology that can take the place of a strong and motivated team of salespeople. When you hire sales personnel, the first thing you need to do is to make sure that they're all engaged with the vision of your company. Millennials especially care more about the vision of their employer than their salary. The hard skills they need are strong analytical thinking abilities and familiarity with customer relationship management software. Soft skills like creativity, leadership and empathy are often the most vital to success though, so find and nurture employees who can communicate on a deep level with others.
2. Run Exclusive Promotions
Sales and marketing promotions can and should be run for both existing customers and for prospects. This means reaching out to existing customers with special benefits that reward them for brand loyalty. Deals like free trials and discounts are a perennial favorite for getting new prospective customers. One of the best channels for a promotional campaign is text messaging. According to research commissioned by Retail Dive, SMS engagement rates are six to eight times that attained by email marketing campaigns (which are already known for their massive return on investment). Consistency is important here. Reach out regularly in order to keep your brand fresh in the minds of consumers.
3. Provide Better Customer Service
Speaking of text messaging, according to a Nielsen survey, SMS is now the preferred channel for customer service, with 56% of respondents preferring them to traditional phone-based service. The reasons are twofold: the speed of communications and the fact that it's happening on the customer's time. Consider chatbots for customer service as well. Artificial intelligence (AI) programs have advanced to the point where they can effectively emulate human interaction, at least in regards to simple day-to-day queries.
4. Optimize Your Online Presence
A small business needs to be active on social media for the simple reason that all of its customers are already there. Over 3.6 billion users were reported as of 2020 with that number projected to climb past four billion by 2023. The increasing diversity of social media platforms is remaking how we think about sales. For example, Tik Tok has emerged as a powerhouse for influencer marketing, with brands taking advantage of its breezy, short-form content style to reach a market on the go. Micro-niche marketing is benefiting from social media as well, as subcultures proliferate and innovators rush to meet their demand for specialized products. Find your own piece of that pie in the social media landscape.
5. Be Unique. Be Authentic.
In a world of copies, how is your business an original? The best way to be unique to be authentic. This means being honest and forthright with your customers, even if it's less efficient. It means being actively responsive to their needs rather than telling them what they should think. We live in a media-saturated world and people (rightfully) cast a cynical eye toward anyone trying to sell them anything, even if it's something awesome they've never seen before. Research shows that 92% of people still trust the word of family and friends over any advertiser, so building genuine relationships with the people you're marketing to has never been more critical. It's also important to decide upon a general tone for your business; an emotionality that comes across in all of your marketing. Whether you're daring or dependable, let the spirit that drives your business do the selling for you.
Each of these tips has the potential to help you scale your business, but what's important is finding the solution that's right for you. Do your research and find out which of these strategies is right for your company.
About the Author
Kevin Gardner graduated with a BS in Computer Science and an MBA from UCLA. He works as a business consultant for InnovateBTS where he helps companies integrate technology to improve performance. He shares his knowledge and expertise not only with his clients but with his fellow bloggers and readers.