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Every small business owner does a little happy dance (at least mentally!) whenever they close a sale – corny as hell, but it’s true.
For every small business owner, every sale matters, especially in today’s hypercompetitive market.
Unlike huge corporations that have almost unlimited resources, most small business owners just have enough to pay bills and keep their business afloat.
This is why every entrepreneur dreams of getting more revenue. Perhaps the quickest way to do this is to have a clear sales strategy.
Of course, this is easier said than done. After all, if it were *that* easy, all business owners would be millionaires.
If you want to increase the sales of your small business, you’re on the right page. We’ve gathered the most actionable steps you can take to do so.
What is Sales?
The goal is for a business owner to receive money in exchange for a product or service. Sales refers to the activities that lead to the sale of goods or services.
Before we move on to how you can improve your sales, let’s start with the basics first.
Whether you have a dedicated staff working for you or you’re a one-man team, knowing what sales is will help you have a better understanding of what you should strive towards.
Every business owner knows that in most instances, closing a sale won’t happen overnight. There are so many steps that go into closing a customer purchase – from making the product, building brand awareness, developing relationships with various stakeholders, and solving the woes of customers, among many others.
The more you understand each process involved, the more you increase your chance of becoming successful.
How to Develop a Sales Strategy
A sales strategy is a map that will help guide you towards your target and achieve success.
Think about it this way: running a small business without a sales strategy is like driving in an unfamiliar place without a map – you may get to your final destination, but may end up getting lost along the way –
That’s a lot of wasted time and effort.
Considering this, you must prioritize your sales strategy. Here’s how you develop one.
Step 1: Understand your target audience. What do they want?
The first step in developing your sales strategy is to know who you want to sell to.
- Who is your target market?
- How old are they?
- What are their hobbies?
- Where do they live?
- What do they do in their spare time?
- What do they like?
- What are their interests?
- What are their fears?
- What are their problems?
Find out as much as possible about your target market. You need to understand their needs and determine if your product or service is right for them.
Think about it – your goal is not to sell to everyone. Your goal is just to sell to the right customers. You want to target your sales and marketing efforts toward those who will most likely purchase your product or service.
Step 2: Assess your current standing
Once you have a good understanding of your target market and how to reach them, it’s time to determine how well you’re doing.
Your sales strategy hinges on whether or not you have been able to position your product or service effectively in the market already.
Do people already know about your brand? How is your presence on social media? Have you hit your sales target in the past? Are your marketing efforts lacking?
Without having a clear assessment of your current status, you won’t be able to determine what to do next.
The best way to know your current standing is to do a SWOT analysis.
SWOT analysis is a popular business strategy that helps you identify your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats – all in all, it gives you a good overview of your current situation.
If you’re not familiar with this strategy, here is an overview of what it entails:
What makes your business stronger than that of your competitors? What makes you more competitive?
Even if your business is just starting, don’t be afraid to include your strengths in your analysis.
What areas do you think your business can improve on? Be honest.
What are the opportunities in your line of business? How can you be in a better position in the future? Do you see an upcoming event or trend that will benefit your business?
What do you consider to be your biggest threat? Will your competitors take over the market? Are you moving at the right pace?
Based on your analysis, are the opportunities that you’ve identified enough to take you to the next step? If so, what should you do next?
If not, then you need to determine where your business is lacking and what should be done to take you to the next level.
Step 3: Establish SMART goals
Having clear business goals is important. However, it would be a disadvantage if your goal does not have a deadline and relevant expectations.
For your goals to be effective and your sales strategy to be a success, you need to make sure that your goals are solid – this means that your goals must be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely (SMART).
Your goal needs to be clear on what you want to accomplish and how you want to do it.
“I want more sales” is a broad goal. Instead, try “I want to increase my sales to 25%.”
You can’t manage something you can’t measure. This means you need to be specific in how you’re going to measure your goal.
If your goal is not attainable, you will be faced with disappointment. This is not only bad for your business, but it can affect your morale, too.
It’s better to set goals that you know you can attain as this will make you more motivated to achieve them.
For example, don’t just have a goal like “I will increase my sales 5000x in 2 months.”
Instead, try “I know that I can achieve my 25% sales increase goal because I have an effective sales team and an interesting product.”
The goal you set should be relevant to and aligned with your business objectives.
Lastly, your goals should have a deadline. Think of it this way – you can’t win a sales race if you do not know when the race starts and ends.
Going back to the sales increase example, you can say you want your sales to increase by 25% in six months.
With these goals in mind, you can now design a plan to be more effective at what you do.
Step 4: Think about your communication strategy
When it comes to selling, what you say and how you say it can make a difference.
Having a good communication strategy is crucial – this is what will guide you on how you should talk to your customers and how you can better prepare for your sales pitch.
For example, if you’re selling to Gen Z, it wouldn’t make sense to use a direct, aggressive marketing approach.
With this generation, it’s important to encourage people to communicate with you through social media platforms, and use trendy lingo such as “FR” (for real) or “NGL” (not gonna lie). The more you talk like them, the more they’re going to relate to your brand.
Alternatively, if you want to sell to an older person who is more traditional and prefers to communicate better through phone calls or real-life interactions, you would need to adjust your strategy accordingly.
Step 5: Don’t be afraid to experiment
The truth is, the first strategy you will develop may not work 100% for you. That’s just the reality of business.
As an entrepreneur, you want to make sure that you are doing everything you can to sell more of your product or service. If you’re not ready to experiment, you may be limiting your potential to maximize your success.
Considering this, come up with a strategy that can be adjusted as you go along.
Take into consideration the various approaches you’ve tried so far. Are you happy with the results? Are you getting the sales you desire? What can you do differently to be a better salesperson?
It’s only through experimentation that you will find what works for you and what doesn’t. Take note of this and use it to your advantage.
Step 6: Track your performance
In order to make sure that your plan is effective, you need to be able to track your performance.
After all, how will you know if the changes you’ve made are working? How will you know that what you’ve done has made a difference in your sales?
For an outsider, running a small business may seem as simple as producing a product and posting it online.
However, one of the most important things you must do is to look at data.
If you want to improve your sales, you need to be able to evaluate what’s working and implement changes accordingly.
You need to be able to say “this is how much I sold last month,” or “I get the most likes on Instagram when I post this type of content.”
By tracking your performance, you will know where you’ve been in the past, where you stand today, and where you will be in the future.
Types of Sales Strategies
Here are several sales strategies you can follow.
Become an industry leader
As an entrepreneur, you want your business to be a success. One way you can achieve this is by becoming a leader in your industry.
A lot of people think that the only way to become an industry leader is through sheer determination, grit, and hard work.
However, there are a lot of other factors that contribute to becoming a leader in your field – this includes effective sales strategies.
You need to be known as someone who can provide solutions to the problems of your industry. Developing your industry expertise builds the power to capitalize on opportunities, create new trends, and affect your immediate surroundings.
Filipinos love industry leaders. This is exactly why we say “Xerox” instead of “photocopy” or “Downy” instead of “fabric softener.”
People will trust you more if you are knowledgeable about your products and services. This can also give you an edge over your competitors.
SPIN stands for Situation, Problem, Implication, and Need-payoff. It is a listening and questioning technique used by salespeople to extract information from clients.
This is when you ask questions so you can understand the situation of your target market better.
In this step, you must focus on getting to know the unique pain points of your target market so you can understand how you can present your product and the value it adds to their life.
What are the implications of the pain points faced by your target market? After determining this, present your brand as a way to solve it.
Presenting your service or product is not enough. You must also quantify the value it can provide to your target market.
Solution-selling concentrates more on the benefits of your product or service. It talks about how what you are offering solves your customer’s problems.
The trick to solution-selling is to present your product in a way that solves niche problems or solves pain points that your competitors don’t account for.
For instance, if you are selling cupcakes, your solution may be that it’s sugar-free. Therefore, you can sell it to diabetics who love sweets, but have to watch their sugar intake constantly.
Challenger selling is a sales approach that is similar to solution-selling. But instead of solving problems, this type of sales strategy highlights finding opportunities where your product can help.
Your aim should be to “challenge” the current situation of your target market and make them rethink how things work. From here, you can create a void that only your product can fulfill.
Going back to the cupcake example, you should think of the content like this: Just because a person is diabetic does not mean they cannot enjoy something sweet, delicious, and tastes just like regular cupcakes.
Value-based selling is a sales strategy that focuses on the value of the product or service.
While other sales approaches concentrate on the problems of their customers, value-based selling focuses on how products or services can support customers.
This can increase your chances of creating the perception that your product can make the lives of your target market better.
Also Check Out: 17 Business Strategies to Grow & Scale your Business
20+ Tips to Increase & Boost your Sales
Now that you know how to develop a sales strategy and the different types of sales strategies you can use, you are finally ready to increase your sales. Follow these tips below.
1. Make your unique value proposition clear
Your unique value proposition tells why your products or service is better than your competitors.
You don’t just want to be a product or service – you want to be someone who offers something one of a kind.
- Are you someone who makes your target market’s lives better?
- Are you someone who is trustworthy?
- Are you someone who creates value for their lives?
If you can answer these questions positively, then you have found a good foundation for your business.
List down the value you offer to your customers. Are you going to save them money, is your product new, better, or more convenient that your competitors? The more specific you are in your value proposition, the better.
2. Make sure your marketing efforts are consistent
One of the best ways to get more sales is by promoting your business and making sure that your target market knows that you exist.
A lot of small businesses make the mistake of running a lot of marketing campaigns. The result? A brand that can’t seem to keep up with its online and offline presence.
The key is to come up with a marketing plan that is consistent and sustainable over time. This way, you will have the opportunity to create long-term relationships and get sales that are worth the investment.
You also want to make sure that your marketing message is consistent.
For example, you may want to use the same language and keywords every time you’re posting on your social media channels.
3. Take care of your existing customers
You want your customers to be excited about your brand. You want them to remember you when they need your products or services.
A great way to do this is by providing them with value through great customer service and support.
When you take care of your existing customers, you can improve your brand image and make your target market more receptive to your marketing efforts.
It’s important to remember that satisfied customers will always refer their friends and family to you. This can help drive new sales.
4. Sell the brand before you sell your products
You should make an impression on customers before they go to the checkout page. This can be done by developing a brand that your target market will see as someone they can trust and be loyal to.
Provide value through blog posts, social media content, or any other channels relevant to your niche. This way, your target market will be able to connect with your brand more.
Don’t just promote your products – promote yourself.
5. Show results more than products
As an entrepreneur, you have to think about your target market in a different way than a manufacturer would.
You want your customers to come to you because they know they can trust you. They should buy from you because they know that you can help them.
So how can you show that you can be trusted? Show results.
Through videos, photos, and written testimonials, demonstrate how the products you offer have helped other people – how they were able to change their lives.
6. Work on closing the deal early
Some people will want to research before they buy. Other people will want to buy right away. Take note of the type of customer who you are working with.
If they fall in the latter category, you should try and close the sale as early as possible.
To do this, minimize distractions. Make sure your website loads fast, optimize your checkout process, include your phone number in your website, or list your physical store on Waze. There are a million ways to do this.
7. Always check out your competition
Your target market needs a reason to choose your brand. Be it because they believe in your values or they were moved emotionally, they need a reason to buy.
That said, it’s always a good idea to see how your competition is doing. After all, dealing with competition is inevitable. You can learn a lot from the way they present themselves to the way they promote their brand.
You can also check out how they are promoting their product. Is it effective? Do they cater to the niche of their target market? How are they addressing the pain points of their target market?
Figure out how you can do better than your competition.
8. Prioritize customer service to drive loyalty
One of the most reliable ways to increase sales is by providing good customer service. But how? Simply create a brand that customers can be loyal to.
Imagine this: your customer gets a box in the mail. Inside is a t-shirt, a couple of stickers, and a handwritten card with a thank you note. They also got a discount on their next purchase.
This is what you call customer service.
You don’t have to be in a huge corporation to do this. Even a local business can create a brand that customers can connect with and appreciate.
Your customers are the reason you are in business. So your customer service should be your number one priority. Customer service can include anything from in-person support, live chats, and even your return policy.
Think about it: your customers will be more eager to buy from a business that takes care of them.
When a person has an impeccable experience with your brand, they will want their peers to experience the same thing. This leads to more referrals.
9. Use emotional design
Emotions are powerful. If you want to increase your sales, you should make sure that your target market feels something when they are looking at your brand.
This emotional design can be done with your logo, packaging, or social media content. For example, some brands use a color that evokes an emotion or uses a word or phrase that can represent them.
Emotional design can help your business transcend the products you are selling and create a brand that your target will see as something that is valuable to them.
This video explains emotional design perfectly.
10. Leverage Tiktok
With over 36 million active Filipino users, TikTok is one of the most important channels to advertise AND sell on, especially if you cater to Gen Z and millennials.
On TikTok, you can share a behind-the-scenes look into your business, or tell people about your story.
There are also a lot of influencers who post on Tiktok, so you can get your content shared if you connect with them. Since TikTok shop is still starting to build hype, you can use this to give your sales a boost.
11. Don’t be afraid to delegate
We know – your small business is your baby! But you don’t have to take care of every single thing about it. Doing this will only drain you mentally and physically.
There are plenty of things that you are better off delegating to someone who has the time and skills to do them.
For example, you can hire someone to pack orders, deliver packages, post on social media, or handle your customer service.
Not only will this allow you to save time, but it will also help you focus more on the things that really matter.
12. Create a business profile on Google
A lot of small businesses underestimate the importance of Google, especially now that it seems to be overtaken by social media platforms.
But the truth is, most people still get their information from Google – whether it’s the newest showbiz chismis, where to eat in a new city, or what gifts to buy.
Not only will Google Business Profile give you more exposure, but it can also help you get more customers. It can help you improve your online presence and show your target market that you exist.
Don’t miss this opportunity to tell your target market about your business.
Make sure that it is easy for your customers to find you – whether they are searching for local businesses or a national brand.
13. Use social media ads
Social media ads have been a part of online marketing for a while now, but it remains relevant in targeting customers. Online ads are so easy even for beginners because they are optimized for your specific goals, whether it’s increasing awareness, or driving more conversions.
Social media ads are also one of the cheapest ways to advertise and help you get more customers. It may take a little experimentation but once you get the hang of it, you’ll be able to reap its rewards.
Just make sure to test different ads first to see which ones perform better before going full force. Don’t want to stress yourself about social media ads? Delegate this to a professional.
14. Invest in high quality images & videos
It’s the golden rule of advertising – always use visuals in addition to your copy. The truth is that visuals are much better than text.
They capture the attention of your target market and help you get more conversions.
If you’re not the best at taking videos and photos, or making infographics, hire someone to do it for you.
15. Request for customer feedback and reward them
This can be done when they check out, or after they receive their product. Some companies encourage feedback by sending customers a follow-up email.
After customers submit feedback, reward them with freebies, discounts, or vouchers.
Whether it’s the review section of your website, your comments section, or separate posted videos on social media, reviews are a gold mine for driving sales.
16. Don’t be afraid to upsell
You want to provide customers with the best deals imaginable. After all, you want to sell as much as you can.
Additionally, your staff must be well-trained in upselling. If a customer is on the fence about buying something, you should make sure that your staff knows what to say to close the deal, or drive more sales.
For example, if you own a restaurant, teach your staff how to upsell in a non-aggressive way.
If someone orders a salad, the follow-up statement can be “would you like bacon or chicken with your order?” can help. For online checkouts, recommended items do wonders.
17. Ride on social media trends
You may not be able to transform your brand overnight, but you can always ride on the social media trends to increase your chances of going viral.
Imagine this: you own a clothing store, and you want to target Gen Z. If there’s a new dance craze on TikTok, you can use it to showcase your upcoming collection.
Sidenote: As you may have already noticed, we’re really putting HUGE emphasis on TikTok in this article. We’re not sponsored by Tiktok, we’ve just seen how helpful it can be to brands whose target audience are active in the said platform.
18. Create a sense of urgency for sales
Everyone wants to get a good deal, but you have to create a sense of urgency to close the deal faster, and compel customers to take action.
Whenever you have discounts, always make it time-bound. Use statements such as:
- 50% off ends tonight
- Promo is valid until (date) only
- Promo ends in 2 hours
- Last 2 hours to buy!
If you don’t make your promotions time-bound, people are just going to think “I’ll just buy tomorrow!” until they forget about it, and it’s already a missed opportunity for your brand.
19. Make your checkout process as easy as possible
If you want your customers to buy, you should make sure your checkout process is as simple as it can be. It should be easy to navigate, with minimal steps.
If it is too difficult, chances are your customer might abandon their cart, and you don’t want that to happen.
Optimizing your checkout process can be done through the following:
- Make your site mobile-friendly
- Ensure fast load times
- Remove surprise fees
- Offer a wide array of payment options
- Don’t ask for unnecessary information
- Use Autofill
20. Provide Cash on Delivery option
If you are selling online, prioritize Cash On Delivery as a mode of payment.
Keep in mind that many Filipinos are still on edge about giving away their card information, and some don’t even have access to banks at all.
Not only will COD give your customers more confidence in buying from you, but it is also a convenient option for them.
Of course, be prepared to face the consequences such as returned parcels. However, the rewards will far outweigh the disadvantages.
21. Ensure your customers can afford your products
You can’t just base your pricing on gut feel. Make sure it is backed by data. How much are your customers earning per month? How much are they willing to spend on clothes, food, or other items?
It’s also a good idea to survey your target market to see what they think about your pricing.
Once you know what your customers can afford, you will be able to optimize your products to their budget. This way, you will be able to get more sales.
22. Motivate your team/staff
We all want to see our teams succeed. To achieve that, they should be motivated. After all, it’s not just the business owner who loses if your business doesn’t perform well. It is your staff as well.
Even if you are just a two-person company, you need to make sure that your team GENUINELY cares for your brand. However, this can’t be done simply by pep talk.
Congratulate your team members when they have done a great job, provide them with incentives, and most importantly, pay them well.
This will help your employees have pride in what they do. When they are more enthusiastic about their work, productivity will follow.
23. Organize or participate in events
Events are one of the most effective ways to advertise your brand. It allows you to build connections with people. This provides you with an opportunity to show off your business and have people sample your products.
For example, if you own a skincare brand, you can organize a pamper day for your loyal customers and invite influencers to join.
If you have a limited budget and can’t organize an event, join bazaars and participate in pop-ups. During these events, selling won’t be your only goal.
More than that, your goal is to network with potential customers and build brand awareness.