Small Business: Driving Sales Growth

What’s the biggest difference between a small business and their larger counterparts? It’s the money. Large companies are large because they have more revenue generated from sales. So if you want your start-up to grow, it’s all about increasing your sales and profits. Here are a few suggestions to do so.

Tip #1: Hire dedicated, full-time salespeople

If your business relies heavily on product sales having a well trained sales team is vital to the growth of the business. The problem in such start-ups is that the team is usually composed of only a few people including the business owner, and selling may not even be their main responsibility, or even in their job description. In truth, having full-time salespeople doesn’t guarantee sales growth. To achieve better sales, your business needs a dedicated and full-time effort from your sales people.

Tip #2: Emphasise on sales

Change the focus of your company from delivering a product or service to an organisation focused on selling. For instance, if your company identifies itself as one that assembles a certain product and then sells it, change the emphasis to selling the product. This will actually have a positive effect on customer value and overall doodad quality, and concentrate all aspects of your business on sales.

Tip #3: Have a plan

Does your business have a marketing plan? Having one lets you flesh out important details like your company’s unique sales proposition, customer demographics, sales and marketing strategy, and sales targets—details that will give your business direction to focus on your strengths and achieve profitability.

Tip #4: Provide the tools

Make sure that your sales team has the right tools for the job. This would include sales sheets for outlining your products or services, sales presentations (e.g. PowerPoint slides), laptop computers or even tablets—everything that they would need so that they’re prepared to meet with your clients. Providing your team the right tools would help them sell your company’s products or services and make the most of their time on the road.

Tip #5: Put up an incentives program

Give your sales team motivation to sell by introducing an incentives program. Your company would benefit from such a program in many ways: better sales, enhanced customer service, increased brand loyalty, and improved productivity and employee engagement. Just make sure that the rewards are achievable and appealing, but at the same time doesn’t strain the start-up’s finances.

Tip #6: Train your salespeople

While there are some things that are difficult to teach (like the nerve to sell) you still need to train your salespeople about your company’s product or service, and knowledge about the competition at the very least. If necessary, you may also wish to refine your salespeople’s verbal and written communication skills, aptitude for answering questions, listening ability, basic computer skills and dress sense.

Tip #7: Focus on solution-selling

Selling isn’t just about giving something in exchange for money. Selling is about providing a solution to your customer’s needs by acting more of a consultant instead of a salesperson. Solution selling is about addressing a customer’s needs with a customised product or service. This kind of focus will bring about not only more buyers, but will also make fans out of your customers.

Tip #8: Treat customers differently

You should see to it that there is a clear difference between treating your regular (i.e. repeat) customers and first-timers. You should show regulars that you value them not only by greeting them by name, but also by giving them discounts, extended credit and other similar perks.

Tip #9: Start a customer rewards program

Want to develop customer loyalty and drive sales growth? Then start a customer rewards program, like providing upgraded delivery or the ever-popular points program like flybuys. Make sure that you don’t limit your rewards to mere discounts; these aren’t as memorable as physical rewards or earned perks like frequent flyer trips. And see to it that the rewards are achievable because hard-to-attain bonuses would only rile your customers.

Tip #10: Give away free samples

Free samples can increase sales through simple referrals to friends. Remember that people trust their friends much more than a magazine spread or TV spot. While ads can build awareness of your product, they don’t win over your audience.