Here are 10 sales tactics I’ve used with many companies I’ve run or coached over the years.
1. Convert Visitors into Customers: Look at all the people who “visit” your business (either online or physical) but whom you never actually get their contact information. If it’s online, beef up your free offer lead captures to make them more enticing. If it’s at your physical location, look to train your staff to effectively connect with these visitors and find out who they are in a systematic way.
2. Charge for something you’ve been doing for free: Look at the products and services you’ve been providing to prospects and customers for free. Which ones have enough value that you can charge for them? Worst case, charge your prospects for them with a special offer to credit this initial small purchase in towards some larger purchase within a specified period of time.
3. Target people who said no to you as a source of future revenue: This could be by better sales follow up. Or this could be by selling or trading this lead to another business (whether they be a competitor or complementary business). They could pay you for the lead, or you could create a “non-closed” lead swap. Sometimes people who said no to you would say yes to someone else and vice versa.
4. Reciprocal lead exchanges with non-competitors: Building on the above tactic, you could set up a formal lead exchange with non-competitors wherein you each share leads. This could be trading reciprocal links from your websites to actually pooling leads.
5. Step educating and start telling stories: It’s a well established principal in sales that facts tell, and stories sell. Look at how you sell to your prospects (whether this be via copy online, one-to-one in person, or via the phone). Do you overload your prospect with “facts” and “features”? Or do you ask a few strategic questions to uncover their real pain points and tell engaging stories that forward the sales process.
6. Create a “Make Up Offer” and leverage every mix up to deepen the client relationship: A Make Up Offer is a pre-designed tool you give your customer service and sales teams to use anytime they learn of a client who was somehow upset by something your company did or did not do. The ideal make up offer doesn’t just repair the relationship, but it prompts the customer to buy again from you. For example, “Sarah, I apologize for our mistake with your last order charges. Please forgive us, we were in the wrong.
To make it up to you not only am I going to immediately credit back the overcharge, but I am also going to send you a certificate for 25% off your next order. I can’t go back in time and erase the headache and hassle you’ve had to deal with, but I can at least let you know that I totally understand your upset and so appreciate you’re working with me to solve the problem.”
7. Create a special event: This could be a special occasion that your top clients are invited to wherein they can bring a few other guests (i.e. referrals for you). Or it could be an exclusive sales opportunity just for your top clients online. Help your customers feel special, and give them an occasion to connect deeper with you and buy more.
8. Collect on more of what you’re owed: Most companies do a poor job on collecting on all their receivables, yet the impact on a business can be massive. One law firm we started coaching 4 years ago had over 10% of its billings go uncollected. Now this firm had a 40% operating profit margin so that 10% uncollected gross billings was equal to 25% of its operating profit!
Another way to look at this is that by helping this firm collect even half of its previously uncollected gross billings had the same impact on the business’s profit as creating an additional 14% boost to gross sales. That’s right, just going from 10% uncollected to 5% uncollected gross billings had the concrete impact on the company equivalent to an increase in sales (and all the work associated with this) of 14%!
9. Take a strategic look at your pricing: This one is especially important for those companies that haven’t looked at their pricing structure in a while. For example, one contracting company we work with redid its pricing to include an 8% price increase (its first in over 5 years). Not only did it keep all its existing clients, but it grew sales from $750,000 to over $1.5 million per year in a 36 month period.
10. Hire another sales person: It’s been my experience that most sales people cap out earning at a rate that is within their comfort zone. Yet in many cases businesses have the lead flow and / or market opportunity to sell multiples what they currently do. Hiring one or more sales people is an inexpensive strategic risk to take. Most sales people earn a large portion of their compensation based on commission so the fixed base portion is relatively low. If they sell effectively they will yield a great return for your company. If they don’t, you’ll know within 2-3 months and can end your trial with them.
Plus, never underestimate the positive boost to sales that a little healthy perceived competition can spark (notice I said healthy competition, I do not advocate pitting one sales person against another.)
By David Finkel, CEO of Maui Mastermind®, one of the world’s premier business coaching companies. He is the Wall Street Journal bestselling author of ten books, with his 11th book, Scale: 7 Proven Principles to Grow Your Company and Get Your Life Back, due out August 14th from Penguin Random House.
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