fm SBA Blog 22 Oct 1 enhanced by Peter/CXO Wiz4biz
Struggling to differentiate your business against the competition? Hoping to close more sales, but not sure how to do so with your limited resources? Here are eight surefire ways to increase your small business sales.
1. Narrow your Target Market. Focus in business is everything. But doing so is often hard for small businesses owners who worry that narrowing down their target market will leave them with very few customers left to go after. But going after a specific “slice” of the market is a great way to get customers to notice you among the many companies competing for their business.
The easiest way to do this is to…
2. Become an Expert in your Market. Being an expert in your field brings credibility, business & referrals. But you’ve got to work at it. It takes more than simply listing your credentials on your website; you need to be out there positioning yourself as a trusted Advisor. How? Small business owners are writing blogs, hosting free workshops, & writing newsletters – all great channels for sharing information with your target market and positioning yourself as a “credible” expert in your field.
3. Rank your Targets by:
a) Profit-ability. Another way to zero in on your target market is to rank prospects according to “possibility for profitability. Take a look at your Customer base. Which are the most profitable for you? This will help weed out those whose business you really don’t need and those it makes sense to pursue.
b) Happiest Customers. Identify the client profiles that have proven to be your most satisfied. These are the ones who are referring your business to friends and neighbors. Do they represent a particular demographic or live in a certain neighborhood? Perhaps they have a common challenge or need that can help you fine tune your sales focus. This is market research at its simplest. And it works.
4. Promote your Differentiators. Now let’s add a little introspection to the mix. What makes you different? Understanding & communicating this, can really boost sales, and shift the focus away from price alone.
5. Fit your Message to Suit your Targets. Once you’ve identified your target and nailed your differentiators, review your message & marketing plan to make sure you’re reaching the right customers with a relevant message.
6. Sell more to “existing” Customers. Here’s another exercise that can ride on the coat-tails of your customer ranking research. Once you’ve identified your loyal & top-spending customers, think of ways to offer them more. It’s not as perplexing as it sounds. It can be as easy as setting up a Loyalty or VIP program that offers incentives such as promotions, early access to new products & services, rewards points, etc. These forms of customer appreciation are great for keeping you in their mind – to drive repeat business, & referrals.
7. Have a Strategy for each Stage of the Sales Cycle. Does your business have a Marketing Plan? Do you know how to deal with Aware prospects vs Interested prospects? Every stage of the buying cycle is different (awareness, interest, engagement & closing) and deserves attention in the Marketing Plan all of its own, so that you are prepared to nurture those leads further – until you close the sale.
8. Optimize the Conversion Process to:
a) Close more Sales. So you have an interested prospect? Make sure your Sales and/or Marketing people have the tools they need to close the deal. Marketing Automation SW (ie, Oracle Eloqua – the strong Market Leader) can really help with this process, but it’s not an absolute must. Start by creating a Marketing Plan that addresses each phase of the sales cycle – awareness, interest, engagement & sale.
b) Plan your Strategy. Think about the timeline that accompanies a typical sale and ways you can match your out-reach efforts to keep moving your lead toward the close.
c) go from Awareness to Commitment. Use your Blog or a Workshop to generate awareness and earn trust. Then, use Social Media & your Website to encourage prospects to sign up to your Email list with the promise of more information and/or special offers.
d) Target your Target. Now that you have an Email address and basic information about a prospect, tailor a personalized Marketing Campaign to them. Send Emails (once a week, 2 weeks or monthly, as appropriate) and offer more information. Invite them to check back in for a Demo, Webinar, or other “learning” experience. If they still aren’t ready to convert, consider mailing them an irresistible offer or promotion and follow-up with a phone or live call.
e) Build Credibility. All through this process, you are deepening your relationship with the prospect by offering value – not just chasing a quick sale. This type of “guided selling” can really help improve your conversions dramatically.
Comments: Do you have any Tips for > Conversion of prospects?