How to increase sales (and make more money)

What creates sales for your company? What is one thing can you do today that will increase sales in the future? What can you do that will move the needle on your top line?

how to increase sales

It’s surprising how few of my clients have ever sat down and thought about the answers to these questions. If you need more sales what do you do? I’m not talking about what 50 things could you do that might cause sales. I’m talking about what are the 2 – 4 steps you can take that will clearly open conversations with new prospects. Because, no matter what business you are in, more conversations with prospects will mean more business.

How to increase sales

I’m all for powerful marketing. I’m a huge believer that you should be bringing more traffic to your website every month. But when it comes to selling something, usually a conversation–face-to-face, or over the phone–is what’s required.

You need to somehow get appointments so you can talk to people who are interested in buying from you. How do you get prospects to volunteer to have that conversation?

I’ve got more than a dozen things I’ve tried on how to increase sales. I’ve listed them starting with the ones I’d try first, and ended with those I consider “If you’re desperate,” ideas. Look them over and find one to try this week.

1. Increasing Awareness

People have to know you exist. If you are just getting started, or have a specialty that not everyone needs, you must focus here. Some ways to “get the word out” include:

  • Calling past clients–prospects who weren’t a good fit (I sent them a proposal and they said no)–and asking for referrals.
  • Speaking engagements in front of audiences that contain a substantial number of potential customers.
  • Writing something for publications that my customers read.
  • Being a guest on a podcast, or show (that my prospects, or people like my prospects, listen to).
  • Promoting a new piece of content we published that highlights the need which my service meets. (The promotion has to include getting other people to talk about it or write about it).
  • Advertising (another way to promote that content piece!)
  • Sponsoring a contest.
  • Giving something away (something that’s very relevant to your targeted prospects.)

From Awareness to Consideration

In this part of the sales process, you’ve made a lot of “business friends”; but now you need prospects–people who can actually hire you. You have to convert that awareness into consideration. In order for folks to consider turning to you for services, they have to believe you can help them. They need to see that you are an expert at what you do. Some ways I demonstrate expertise to my audience include:

  • Calling past clients–again, those prospects who weren’t a good fit (the ones that rejected my proposal)–and asking for new opportunities; telling them about new service offerings; or just reconnecting.
  • Hosting an event with clients and prospects in attendance.
  • Hosting an educational event; a seminar, webinar or conference. When I do this, I’m always addressing my prospects. And at some point in the event I want to highlight for them the benefits of working with me.
  • Follow up calls. Call people who downloaded that content piece that we’ve been promoting.
  • Specific calls to action. Whenever we are creating awareness, we are specific about what we want people to do in order to work with us.
  • Asking, “How can I help you?” when I see someone in person at an event.
  • A “needs survey” on my website or in person.

Discovery Conversations

In this part on how to increase sales, once people are considering you as a viable solution to their challenges, you need to do some investigating. Do they really have a problem? Is it a big problem–one they would pay money to solve? Are you a good fit for them? You have generated some leads from all the activities I mentioned above. Now it’s time to come out and ask, “Can we have a conversation to see if our services are a good fit for the problem you’re having?”

If you are generating awareness with the right audience, you will have just “caused” sales to happen!

Notice that none of these examples include the following (which for me and most of my clients don’t cause sales. They may feel like they are going to cause sales, but, more often than not, they are just a big distraction):

  • Respond to an RFP that didn’t initiate with a conversation with me prior to the RFP getting written. This is tantamount to investing in lottery tickets as a retirement strategy. It might work.
  • “Networking”. If I don’t know if there are prospects in a group, or referral partners who can get me to prospects, then I’m fishing, not networking.
  • Re-writing or re-designing my website. Not that it doesn’t need to be done, but go find some clients then pay someone else to do it.

So, I want to know. What do you do that causes sales for your business?

Sales pipeline report template

Photo credit: 드림포유

Brad Farris

As principal advisor of Anchor Advisors, Brad Farris has experience leading businesses & business owners into new levels of growth and success. Through his work with over 100 Chicago area small businesses he has experience in guiding founders and business owners through the pitfalls and joys of growing their business. Prior to joining Anchor Advisors, Brad spent over 10 years managing business units for a family-owned conglomerate with sales of $2 million to $25 million.  When he's not working, Brad enjoys cycling, cooking and the NFL. He is married with 5 children and lives in Chicago, Illinois. Connect with him on Google+, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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