As an experienced business mentor and performance coach who enhances the effectiveness, performance and profitability of owner managed and family-run businesses from Calderdale to California, I understand that keeping the sales pipeline flowing is a perennial challenge.
Having looked at how you can sharpen your offering to secure more sales with Emma Sutton, below is a five-step approach to keep your sales stats powering upwards.
1. Repackage Your Offering
It happens all the time in product marketing – DVD box sets of TV series are made from shows that have already been broadcast and music artists’ “greatest hits” CDs often sell more copies than the original singles and albums.
You can be more subtle when repackaging your business services offering. Internet marketing guru Stu McLaren advocates presenting alternative options for the same services as a targeted tactic which can appeal to a wider audience. Doing this takes minimal effort because the service is already available:
- Could you offer an incentive / referral fee to introduce people to your company?
- Could you create customer loyalty, offering bulk options or monthly options?
- Could you split your offerings into smaller packages, or batch options together into a bundle offer?
- Could you adapt your regular business talks into a pay-per-view webinar?
- Could you transform your knowledge into a hardcopy / kindle book – possibly combining pre-written on-line blogs, newsletters or newspaper columns?
- Could you make your product digital – with an instant download option?
2. Partner with Related Markets and New Markets
When the recession hit and investment in the commercial property market degenerated, the MD of an industrial roof fixings company acted promptly as the demand for his company’s products started to decline.
Searching for a new product, he identified a specialist supplier of roof fall-arrest systems (safety devices for roofers). Since then his company, working with this supplier, has opened up a new market and identified exciting new business opportunities.
3. Broadcast Your Environmental Credentials
With climate change and global warming constantly in the news, more customers and partners are seeking strong environmental credentials from the companies they deal with.
The above roofing company isn’t the first to launch a roof fall arrest system; however, its system has a competitive edge, because it has been specifically designed for “green roofs”, which are growing in popularity and feature in an increasing number of new property developments.
- Which of your products and/or packaging can you make recyclable?
- What environmental conservation project does your company support?
- Are you telling your customers about the environmental benefits of your products and services?
4. Build a 7-Touch Marketing Plan
If only 2% of prospective customers buy on the first sales call, how do you beat your competition to the order?
Red Pepper Marketing believes the 7-touch marketing plan is the answer. Marketing and sales campaigns can often peter out after an initial flurry of enthusiasm and excitement. However, on average it takes 7 engagements, or “touches”, with a prospective client to change the business relationship from someone who has never heard of your company to a client who is ready to do business with you. Having a process to follow up each contact can make the difference between being a business card, filed away “for future reference”, or being the next person they do business with. These “touches” can include follow-up emails, information packs, newsletters, a series of information-gathering phone calls, special offers and promotions, and invitations to special events.
5. “Keep in Touch”
This has long been the mantra of sales managers and trainers. Now there are so many more communication tools available to you! Use them to increase your presence and your company’s presence before prospective clients. E-mails, blogs, Linked In, Facebook, Twitter, e-newsletters, webinars, photographs, podcasts and even YouTube videos, are the building blocks of new relationships.
What else can you do to increase sales, even when the economic climate is hostile? Let us know in the comments below, drop me an e-mail via firstname.lastname@example.org or send a tweet to @richardwhatif.