One of the greatest challenges to surviving as a business is persuading people that your product or service can solve a problem they are experiencing. Once you have finished cold calling and prospecting, you need to jump the next hurdle of converting them to a sale. This requires you to understand your target audience and your company. That’s why I want to give you my top 7 out of the box ideas to increase sales.
In my over 10 years of experience in marketing and sales, I’ve learned how to listen and talk to prospects that will convince them of your value proposition.
Let’s begin with the list, and start with researching your competition.
Research Your Competition
Researching your competition sets the foundation for being able to sell to leads and prospects effectively. This first out of the box idea to increase sales is essential to set up success for the rest of the sales tips discussed in this article. You need to be an expert in your field. This means knowing your competitors and being able to accurately answer any questions prospects may have when it comes down to the differences.
If you don’t know why your company is unique, it’s going to be a lot harder to convince someone else of that.
Once you’ve done the research, you should be honest about your company’s placement in the market. Don’t speak negatively about a competitor either in your sales conversations. That could only make you and your company look bad.
When you’re talking to leads and prospects, identify the strengths and weaknesses of both your business and your competitor (if there are any). Then, circle it back to your company as being the primary choice.
Qualify Leads Accurately
Qualifying leads accurately plays a role in researching your competition. That’s because you need to practice active listening with any prospects or customers you come across.
Every Sales 101 course will teach you to identify the prospect’s problem and offer a solution. However, what these courses might not teach you, is that if the prospect doesn’t know they have a problem, you need to be the one to discover that problem and bring it to light.
This is the only way you will actually help them. Qualifying leads accurately is all about listening to understand rather than listening to respond. When you identify what the needs are from your prospect, you can let them know exactly how your company can help.
Even crazier, refer them to a competitor! If you don’t have what they need at the moment, this will be a better choice for both you and the prospect. People love honesty. It’s all about serving value and creating trust. Once you gain their trust, they may refer others to you in the future. They may even come back to you if their situation and needs change!
Focus on Generating Referrals
If you want to increase your sales dramatically, you should focus on creating an amazing customer experience in order to increase referrals. Because although you can have incentive programs to generate referrals, at the end of the day, if your product or service is good, it will sell itself.
If your product or service actually solves your customer’s problems and adds value to their lives, they are going to willingly tell their network about your company. So, you have to focus on quality control and value first.
Then, once you get that down, you’ll be able to confidently say that you have helped other customers with your product or service. You’ll want to showcase this as well. This can be done with simple storytelling or giving leads testimonials and case studies to show the efficacy of your product or service. The more clients that give you referrals, the better.
You also need to look at happy customers as a tremendous resource. Happy customers are more likely to want to see other people succeed and benefit from your product or service.
Thus, instead of taking a reactive approach to generating referrals (accepting a referral every time a customer gives you one), you need to be proactive.
Call or schedule one-on-ones with the customers you know are really happy, and see how they are doing. Ask them if they know anyone in their network that would benefit or be interested in your company’s offerings. If you take this proactive approach, your customers will most likely have a response for you.
Be proactive, not reactive
The last obvious route to go is to offer a referral or incentive program. Although this shouldn’t be the only resource you rely on, it’s great to combine with other strategies to maximize your referral rate. Offer a discount or credit to the current customer who refers the company to their friend and the person who signs up.
At the company I work for, Virtudesk, we have a referral program. If a client refers a friend to our service, they have the option to receive a $300 credit towards their next bill or they can give all or some of that amount to their friend as a discount when they sign up. We leave it up to the existing client to decide what they want to do with that $300 credit.
Establishing partnerships is another important out of the box idea to increase sales, and is similar to the referrals tip mentioned above. That’s because you are effectively partnering with a company or influencer that has already identified you as a partner – similar to partnering with a client. Not only are partnerships mutual, but they eventually become mutually beneficial.
Other companies and influencers already have followers that trust and buy their products and services. Therefore, the trust aspect is already there for you and your team. When you look for a company or influencer to partner with, it’s essential to verify that their objectives and goals are similar to yours, and their target audience is the same as yours too.
Maintain these partnerships just as you would a client. If you jeopardize the company’s integrity, you also jeopardize the integrity of your partnership.
Apply this type of thought process to different types of partnerships, whether it’s a paid partnership, affiliate marketing partnership, or a trusted service partnership.
Collaborate With Internal Departments
There needs to be collaboration amongst the different departments in your company. If one department is affected by a company decision or move, it can have a negative impact on the other departments. Ensuring internal synergy is paramount to a company’s outward facing success.
It’s best to have the heads of the departments connect to discuss the pain points they face with prospects, current clients, processes, lead flow, and more. Communication is key. Make sure your company encourages having department heads get together for huddles, even if it’s as little as once a month.
Not only can this be an opportunity to smooth out bottlenecks and internal pain points, but this can be a great way to foster opportunities to share growth ideas and start initiatives for the company. Plus, it promotes unity among the management team.
Don’t Forget About Client Retention
Oftentimes, it can be too easy to forget about client retention, when all your focus is on generating new leads, new sign ups, and new purchases. However, you have to remember that your actual profit can increase when you focus on retention and maximizing customer lifetime value. Acquiring a new customer can cost a company five times more money than retaining a current client. That’s a lot of potential savings lost when you lose a customer!
How do you retain a customer then?
It starts by delivering accurate information at the marketing and advertising level. So, what is being viewed by the public is accurate and is actually a service you offer.
Next, it continues by accurately qualifying not only the prospect but the company too. Some customers may not be a good fit for the company you represent. The product or service shouldn’t be pushed onto the prospect. If it is, it can lead to future frustrations that can affect the operations side of the business, and ultimately a client’s retention.
Next, you’ll want to actively collect information on the customer experience and use it to improve your product or service. This one may sound obvious, but many don’t use it. If you don’t know what your customers are experiencing, then how will your company increase sales, retention, or revenue? Administer surveys, conduct case studies, read your company’s Google reviews, and check in with clients and ask questions about their experience. Collect information your company can use to improve itself.
Overall, maintain the level of service you represent that was discussed at the sales level and showcased at the marketing level.
Focus On the Future
Constantly find ways you can improve or sharpen your current service. Don’t get complacent. What are new ways to generate revenue? What are new services you can offer to your client base? What new industries can you enter?
If people’s needs are changing, then why shouldn’t your solutions change too? Continue to adapt to your internal and external environment, and push the limits of your industry.
If you make those changes, then follow the tips mentioned above to reiterate the sales process you should be following to increase sales and business growth.
Increasing sales is all about understanding people, and being honest enough to build trust with them. You can employ all of these strategies and gimmicks to try to increase your sales, but if you aren’t meeting the basic requirements in company and industry knowledge, then you’ll never hit your long-term projections.
These 7 out of the box ideas to increase sales should equip you with the foundations to dramatically increase your sales, customer retention, sales KPIs, and overall ROI. Many of them are pretty basic, but can be overlooked for fancier tactics.
Just remember, this is a people’s business, so treat it as such.