If you want to increase sales (and profits) or market share, you will need to increase one or more of the four segments of your marketing. If one or more of these increases, sales totals will increase. Figure out which one(s) are easiest and best for your industry and then act on what you find.
- More products. Regardless of whether you have 10 or 10,000 things you can sell to your customers, find even more related items. If you manufacture a product, what else can you make with the same equipment you already have? Check with suppliers to find out about other products available for your retail store. Increase the products or services you offer by 10 to 20 percent, and sales will obviously go up, too. Ask customers what new products they want and find a way to offer those products.
- More people. Get more and new customers to buy your product or service. Everyone wants more customers and clients, but sometimes business owners fail to look at other groups than those to which they’re currently selling. Take off the blinders and look beyond your current customer base to other prospects who can purchase from you. Research at the library or on the Internet can help you find new customer groups and market segments.
- More often. Advertising, dated coupons, promotions, or specials can entice people to purchase more often. A restaurant could offer a twice-a-week special, for example—the second time you visit in the same week, you receive a free dessert. An auto-service shop could offer a free tire-pressure check to get customers to stop in more often. Think of an idea for your business that will keep customers active and contacting you more often.
- More money. Oh no! Not raising prices! If your costs increase 6 percent, you can raise prices 10 percent or more to make more money. If you don’t do it too often, there shouldn’t be a lot of resistance, but you should be ready to explain your price increase when asked. You don’t have to say how much your costs went up; you can just say it was for material, labor, or distribution costs. Most customers expect prices to increase occasionally and will accept an increase if it is done correctly.
Decide which of these four factors you can increase in your business and then plan your strategy. If you can increase two or more factors, your sales and cash flow will be that much more. Don’t hesitate—do it today, and you’ll see the positive results tomorrow.