Ten Things You Can Do Today To Improve Your Sales!

By Robert Imbriale

In the last year or so, I’ve spent much of my time consulting with many small  and medium sized businesses around the country. After speaking with many  business owners in different industries, I  have clearly identified ten ways, of  which virtually 99% of all businesses can use at least one, to improve their  sales immediately. Here are the best ten ways I have found to increase your  sales.

1) Add More Value To What You Sell

Have you ever heard a customer ask you, “Is that all I get for this price?”  Chances are you have. It could mean that you are not offering enough value for  what you are charging, or it could be a misinformed client. In either case, you  won’t get repeat business if you customer feels like they over-paid for your  products or services.

What can you do to add value to your products or services? Try adding value  by including items that cost you very little or even nothing at all. An example  of this might be that you include a free copy of an introductory book on how to  use the computer systems you sell. You might be able to contact the publisher  and buy copies of their book in volume for pennies on the dollar of their  suggested retail price. By adding this small, low cost item, you will make the  decision to buy that much easier for your customers.

This works in all types of product and service transactions. If it is a service you  are offering, include extra time as part of the price. When I consult, I rarely  watch the clock to the minute. This gives my clients the distinct feeling that  they are getting a little more than they are paying for and assures me that they  will both use my services again and refer me to their associates.

Think of creative ways in which you can add value to your base product or  service offerings. A small addition can easily make a major difference to your  profits!

2) Offer Items Of Complimentary Importance With Each Purchase

This is one of the most profitable things you can do to increase your average  unit of purchase. You accomplish two things by offering complimentary  products or services. First, you add value to your products or services by  offering items that you know your customers will need to buy at some point in  the future anyway, and you are saving them the trouble of having to patronize  another business for these items. They will actually appreciate you more if you  have these items available to them at the time of purchase!

If you sell cameras, offer batteries, film, protective cases, and other useful  accessories to your customers at the time of purchase. In a service business, you  can offer products that enhance your service. Let’s say you are a marketing  consultant. You can sell copies of your favorite books to your clients, if they  apply to their situation. I frequently offer this type of product to my clients and  they are happy to have access to these publications because they are generally  not available in bookstores. Use your imagination and get access to  complimentary products that enhance your client’s purchase.

3) Sell Upgrades

Upgrades differ from complimentary products in that they are generally a better  version of the same product as opposed to a complimentary or “add-on”  product. In the computer industry, as in many others, this is done all the time.  There is no reason that you could not apply those same tactics to your own  business with a little creativity.

You’ve been sold upgrades when you bought your new car, your color  television, or just about any other product you can think of! It works like this.  you explain the advantages of the first product to your customer, then you “do  them a favor” by offering them a peek at the next level up. In many cases,  you’ll find that your customer will opt to pay a “few extra dollars” to get a few  more benefits or an altogether better product or service.

Yes, I did say service! Remember your last trip to the local car wash? How  about that undercarriage wash or that irresistible “hot-wax?” All you have to do  is think about your business and what you can offer as the next best thing, for a  few more dollars!

4) Offer Extended Warranties

How many times have you been offered an “extended warranty?” Probably  every time you bought any non-disposable product priced over $20!! How these  warranties work is really quite simple and they generate incredible income for  the companies that offer them.

It is rarely, if ever, the retailer or the service provider who actually carries out  any warranty work. This is usually arranged through a third company that does  nothing but this sort of thing.  You might want to contact the places you send your repairs to about setting up  and extended warranty program where you both benefit by offering that added  security to your customer’s purchase.

Much like in the insurance business, warranty repairs are only a fraction of the  total volume of products sold. That means that most products you sell will  never come in for any warranty work, leaving the money generated from selling  that warranty as pure profit! But there’s more! By offering that sort of warranty,  you’ll also increase your sales by making your customers feel more secure in  purchasing from you.

5) Use Risk Reversal

Here’s a really powerful way to increase your sales, but you have to think this  one out carefully or you might lose your shirt! The idea is to offer your  products or services as risk free as possible to your customers. In the case of  my consulting practice, many of my clients do not pay me a cent until they see  measurable results in their sales. This makes it very easy to hire me as a  consultant. It’s completely risk-free!

You can do the same thing. You may offer a full 30-day money back guarantee,  as opposed to most companies that offer only 7 days. You may offer other types  of guarantees, some as long as one full year, if the product is of the type that  lends itself to this sort of guarantee. A business “how-to” book or business plan  might be an example of that sort of product.

The rule of thumb is to keep the risk to your customer as low as possible.  You’ll see immediate benefits in increased sales. Returns on quality products  have proven not to increase proportionately with sales, so don’t worry about  being overwhelmed by returns, it won’t happen!

6) Create Special Offers To Past Customers

The most profitable market you can sell to are your past customers. They have  already participated in business transactions with you and have developed trust  in your operation and in your products. Why not take full advantage of this fact  by developing specials for “preferred customers?” Credit card companies do  this all the time—just watch your mail this week!

If you negotiate a special deal for some product or are planning on carrying an  entirely new product line, why not let your preferred customers know about it  BEFORE the rest of the world? Go a step further and offer them special pricing  on those products or services if they act before a specified date. You’ll be  amazed at what happens. Your customers will feel special and many will take  you up on your special offer! That’s a great way to improve your bottom line  and customer loyalty!

7) Use Cross-Overs With Other Companies

Maybe you don’t pay enough attention to this powerful marketing technique. It  is so simple, many companies just don’t put any faith into its true power. The  idea is to work with other companies to offer each other’s products and  services to each other’s customers. It’s reciprocal and it is profitable for BOTH  companies. Here’s how it works.

In the case of my consulting practice, I often approach some of my lawyer  clients and ask them to send a letter on their letterhead to their business clients  telling them of my services and how my services have helped them grow their  law practice. The letter offers a free hour of consulting to the clients “on the  house” or compliments of the lawyer who is sending the letter. You would not  believe the response to such a letter!

As a retailer, you could do the same thing with other retailers. You might offer  all patrons of a local restaurant a voucher for 10% off their next purchase at  your store. In return, you might offer your customers a voucher for one free  drink, of half off the regular cost of a dinner at the restaurant you are  reciprocating with. Both companies win, and there is little or no money  involved! Absolutely perfect!

8) Get As Much Free Publicity As Possible As Often As Possible

When was the last time you sent out a press release? Don’t remember, huh? I  thought so. Well, you’re missing out on one the best advertising opportunities  you never bought! It’s certainly true that you never need spend a penny to get  publicity in local, regional or even national publications! All it requires is that  you craft a press release and mail it to publications you feel might be interested  in publishing your information. Sounds easy enough, so why aren’t you doing  it?!

What type of information is newsworthy? Just about anything that is new,  exciting, or different about your business. A press release I might send out to  promote my consulting business is one that announces a breakthrough a local  business has had as a result of my consulting work with them. It might explain  where the company was, what they were doing and what I had them change in  order to gain the success they are enjoying today.

When that type of article is published, you can imagine how much my  telephone rings from other companies wishing to achieve the same levels of  growth! Imagine what it will do for your business as well!

9) Remember Your Customers At Holiday Time

Why not tell your customers how much you appreciate their business all year  long with a thoughtful (as opposed to generic) holiday greeting card? You  might even include a voucher for a special item(s) you have on sale or just a  simple “10% off you next purchase” coupon. What a great way to keep selling  throughout the year!

Not only that, but you’ll reinforce that fact that your customer is important to  you and you appreciate their continued patronage. It’s a very powerful tool that  just is not used nearly enough! Use it!

10) Simplify The Sales Process

Do you offer your customers various payment options? I’m not just talking  about accepting popular credit cards, I’m talking about payment plans as long  as several years, leasing arrangements, or layaway programs. These types of  payment options will allow more customers to take full advantage of special or  seasonal items even if they do not have the funds available to do so at that time.

The more flexibility you have in this area, the better off your sales will be.   Leasing is an easy option to set up with the large number of leasing firms in  business today. Leases can be set up  for products that retail for as little as  $250. If you have the capability to offer your own credit plan, you might  consider that too. The idea is to offer as many payment options as possible so  that you totally remove payment as a barrier to making a purchase with you.

Conclusion

You now have the sparks that will ignite your creative juices and help you sell  more of your products or services. Try the items that are easiest for you to  implement immediately and if they work for you, then try to adapt some of the  others to your business and watch your sales continue to rise! If you can’t seem  to be able to use any of these items, then call me and I’ll work with you to get  you on the right track to growing your business!!

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Resource Information

Robert Imbriale is a powerful speaker, best-selling author, and career marketing  expert. His book, Motivational Marketing (Wiley: June 2007 – http://www.MotivationalMarketing.com) became an instant Marketing Classic and has  gone on to change the way thousands of businesses market themselves. Robert is the  founder and CEO or Ultimate Wealth, Inc. (http://www.UltimateWealth.com)

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