Growth is the ultimate goal for any business!
The metrics vary – you might look at sales, evaluate revenue numbers, memberships, conversions. But any way you slice it, the pie needs to grow continuously for a business to survive, and ultimately thrive.
In other words, every business needs to periodically evaluate growth over say, the last quarter or year, and how far do you expect to go in the next year or three?
No matter what the business, every initiative of yours should focus both on existing and new customers.
Tips for a growth focus – 10 Pointers to sell better and grow your business!
Hustle to scale up
As a young intern, I learnt a valuable lesson from an early mentor. When business isn’t booming, he said, ‘throw yourself into the marketplace.’
How can you hustle like mad?
Go back to satisfied customers; market to new ones, promote yourself. Or simply, SELL.
The best way to do this is to use a Pull Strategy – offer something new. If you don’t have a novel product, promotional deals and freebies will get customers to try out your services. Share free trials and give away samples to influence a buy-in. Organize events for visibility and to market to a captive audience.
Many VA’s I work with offer introductory pricing to sign on new clients. Color Street freely offers samples and tools to customers to try out their new nail product, the first of its kind.
What are your best selling strategies?
Whether it’s a new makeup product, a service to sell SEO services, or a Personal training Program, it is getting increasingly harder to differentiate yourself. But even with an established customer base, your business can lose its value perception pretty soon unless you can reinvent it often.
It’s much more expensive to add new customers, so try and find different ways to grow with the current base, or else, you will be forced to start the pursuit for business afresh each time. But that’s not all – good value is the best way to stay on the radar of your prospects too.
If you’re in the service industry, leverage your biggest weapon – your expertise! Sharing content won’t cost you much, but it will surely amp up your worth. Can you share information, offer not just advice but also freebies like tips, ebooks, cheat-sheets, opt-ins.
A fellow Entrepreneur at a business workshop mentioned that the biggest source of leads for her web design and digital business was her how-to videos on YouTube. Similarly, offering product trials has won numerous entrepreneurs, not just customer goodwill but also great endorsements.
How are you creating a wow moment in your sales cycle?
What are the lures or incentives you can offer?
Create ‘upsells’ by offering extra value for a little extra spend – supersizing your product is the most successful example of this and McDonald’s success with this had been legendary.
Similarly, club and Cross Sell complementary products to the same customer. Bundled products which are relevant are a great way to increase your average order size. E.g. if you’re offering a website design, maybe offer social media content templates or an e-business card along with it.
Another option for a recurring purchase like a subscription of paid membership is a discount for a longer term buy like annual plans versus a monthly one.
Do your product bundles and combos appeal to your buyers?
Plenty of entrepreneurs have one good reason to not advertise or promote their business – I have too much business right now.
But business streams, no matter how strong, almost always dry up – it’s a fact! Is your attention solely focused on fulfilling the current orders, or are you building a road to prospects? A thumb rule in business is – the higher the value of your product, greater will be the time to conversion. So work towards not just satisfying your customer base today, but also creating a demand for the future.
If you have a lean period, how smartly do you use it to boost your visibility?
In the wedding services industry, most providers spend the winter months (typically a low season) pursuing bookings for April to October, sending out emails and mailers and connecting with venues for leads. A few clever ones make the time to sell and promote during the spring and summer as well, which helps them land the smaller ( and hence, prized) lineup of events in other months as well.
Are you allocating sufficient time and resources investing in future revenues?
Recognize your customer’s journey
It is important to assess when a prospect is likely to convert and what their shopping intent is.
Yes, all leads are valuable, but you should distinguish between them so you can invest your time wisely on each effort. Sometimes, a customer may be open to buying, but not right away. Then there are those who might be comparison shopping, and yet others who’re looking for some extra motivation to convert.
Discerning the difference between these can make a huge difference to your sales outcomes. If they appear ready, don’t let them walk away – offer a sweetener to close, if needed.
Employ a sense of urgency – car dealerships do this with a great amount of success. They always have a freebie or two up their sleeve “if you do the deal today.”
A fitness studio owner client would host regular open houses and a free month’s membership to all walk-ins. And then she would also throw in 2 sessions with a trainer if you signed up that day. She saw a high conversion rate and a great ROI on the promotional events, well worth the cost of advertising and refreshments.
On the other hand, if your customer is not convinced yet, pushing them can be the worst thing to do. Give the browsers a reason to remember and come back to you. Devise ways to capture leads that you can nurture through email, social media or personal contact. Link
How are you finding effective triggers to convert?
Give more than your customer expects
Because goodwill matters.
Throw in something extra with a completed sale. Fix an error or defect and offer a freebie to reduce the pain and leave a good aftertaste.
Sometimes all it takes is small gestures – a thank you card, small tokens of appreciation or a shout-out on Facebook don’t cost much but make a huge difference.
What extras have you set aside for your customers?
Follow up and Stay Social
Repeat sales are great. Referrals are superb. But what happens to customers who fall on the wayside? How are you connecting with those? Did you lose a customer due to the product, quality of service or simply lose touch?
Try non-salesy ways of connecting, without persistence or the hardsell. Find out what will make them come back to you or refer others. A great way to stay in touch – and not out of sight – is to create groups on Facebook and Linkedin or engage through online platforms like Meetup or peer networking ones like Maroon Oak. The best part – through such platforms, you can connect your customers to each other and offer them way more value that comes from peer advice and insights.
In addition, plenty of entrepreneurs also tap their Facebook connects, Instagram followers as well as reach out to friends for business. If this is something that can work for you, give it a shot.
A local dentistry practice offered an iPad as a sweepstakes prize. To enter, you had to like their Facebook page and a comment on how you were motivating your child to practice dental health. They sent out emails, and shared the promo on various local groups. The resulting visibility and page engagement was huge, without a big cost outlay.
How well do you leverage social media to build communities?
Synergize and collaborate
To barter, partner and ultimately garner.
Can you do a product exchange or co-host an event? Set up a package of complementary services? Contribute content from your area of expertise to gain visibility? Maybe even offer a back-link and traffic from your website to theirs.
Affiliate Product reviews are very popular – they offer an awesome way for the reviewer to score freebies and visibility for your brand.
Find partners to complement your strengths, as well as boost your network. The real estate Industry has a strong network of connects amongst related service providers like attorneys, home inspectors, even title agents and movers. And this helps everyone, most of all, the customer!
Use communication as a tool
At a workshop I recently taught, all but 3 of the 40 attendees admitted that they had never varied their email signatures. Ever.
Apart from your contact info, why not share a link to your service, a good article they can benefit from or a freebie they can use. The best part – this kind of communication is non-intrusive and yet it strengthens your brand. (link).
Here are some of the add-ons to my email signature, which I keep varying from time to time.
Examples of email signatures:
Does your website invite customers or push them away? Get this Free Checklist on Websites that Convert.
How do you use your email signature as a sales tool?
Focus on Personal Development
You’re selling yourself before you sell anything!
If you’re a solopreneur or the sales and marketing face of your small business, your personality matters too. Instead of pushy, the steady not-in-your-face approach to personal selling works much better. That said, there is no benefit in being vague or roundabout. What you say needs to be both clear and effective. Ensure that your pitch lies in that sweet spot between addressing a customer’s needs and highlighting your product attributes. If selling or speaking to people ties your stomach in knots, try and overcome your public speaking jitters.
The most important thing to remember – growth is a journey! Fine-tune selling strategies that suit you and your business. But do focus on value – devise new ways to grab attention and keep up the dialogue.
Pooja Krishna is an Entrepreneur, Consultant and Mom. She has worked both in large corporates and managed startups over the last 20+ years. A co-founder of Maroon Oak, she’s also founded Win Thinks, a small business consulting company, and Trading Paces, which educates amateur and pro stock traders. She blogs and teaches workshops about Brand Strategy, Social Media & Future ready Career Solutions. She loves being a Classroom Mentor and teaching students across the U.S. about Job Skills and Entrepreneurship. Read her interview on Huffington Post.
A trivia buff and yoga & hula hoop enthusiast, Pooja loves spending time with her family playing board games and watching documentaries.
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