Easy Ways To Increase Small Business Sales
Small businesses are at the heart of the Canadian economy. According to the latest study published by the government of Canada, small businesses (1 – 99 employees) employed about 70% of all Canadians in the private sector and almost 3 out of 4 businesses in Canada have only 1 – 9 employees. Unfortunately however, only about half of Canadian businesses survive longer than five years.
There could be any number of reasons why businesses fail including:
- Not having a professional business plan and strategy
- Poor financial decisions
- Inadequate funding
- Poor location
- Lack of experience
- Lack of sales skills
- Lack of training
For this post we focus on sales. Just as small businesses are at the heart of the Canadian economy, sales are the lifeblood of any business – large or small. Without sales, it doesn’t matter if you’re in a prime location, have a business plan put together, buy the most expensive Bay Street consulting firm or have funding up to your eyeballs, if you can’t attract and retain customers, you’re dead in the water.
So let’s start there: with the customer.
Know Your Customers
In today’s economy data is key and there is no more valuable information than knowing your ideal customer. That’s the not-so-secret recipe for “Big Data’s” success. By identifying demographic and psychographic information on your clientele, you’ll be able to anticipate when they will need your products and/or services, what messaging will work on each segment of your customer base (assuming you have more than one) and which segment brings you the most sales.
Getting feedback from your customers isn’t a new concept by any stretch so listening to what your customers tell you about why they purchase the products or services they do can help you identify new sales opportunities and optimize sales for your best sellers. If there’s a way to differentiate yourself from your competition, servicing that niche may get you more exposure, and therefore, more sales from your ideal demographic.
Feedback can also give you valuable information about areas of improvement to help you retain customers and hopefully win over new ones.
Customer Service, Customer Service, Customer Service
Now that you’re armed with valuable intel about what makes your customers tick, make sure they keep coming back by giving them value for their money. What your ideal client finds valuable could fall under one, or a combination, of the following factors:
- Service – listen to what your clients like and, more importantly, what they don’t like about their experiences with your business
- Reliability – a fair and transparent return or dispute policy could be all you need to make you dependable to your clients
- Convenience – offer different payment options including financing for bigger-ticket items through a company like Financeit
- Quality – cutting corners may make you temporary profits, but sales is a long game that means quality products and services
- Pricing – this is where knowing your customers will better inform you on the optimal price points for sales
- Selection – having a wide variety isn’t necessarily always a good thing, know what makes you money and what doesn’t.
Going above and beyond to show customers your appreciation for their business is a good way to ensure that you get more of it. Having staff that care as much about your customers as you do is fundamental so keeping employees happy is also key to improving sales.
For extra customer service credit, think of using a loyalty program to incentivize your customers to keep coming back. And if possible, let them know when you have new products or services available either by phone or email.
Want to Boost Your Sales? Boost Your Marketing!
This is why knowing your customer is so important. Knowing if they’re more likely to spend their time online and where they go online will tell you if you should focus your marketing spend on digital advertising and if so, what kind. Is you’re ideal client on YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Google, TikTok, Snapchat, Twitter, Reddit…? Or are they more likely watching television or listening to the radio?
Knowing your customer will also help you craft your marketing and advertising messaging more effectively as we alluded to earlier. You may think that your target market is “everyone” but looking at your current sales data will probably tell you that isn’t the case. It’s also impossible to market to “everyone”. Also, have you thought about your business’s brand? Knowing who you are and what makes your customers your customers can go a long way in helping you find a voice and tone that gets you noticed by your target market over all the noise.