Posted at 09:48 AM on 11 Sep 2009 under
It seems that the latest answer to everything is the economic crisis and I think we are all guilty for blaming bad sales on the economic slump. The fact that people don’t have as much disposable income, whether it’s due to forces beyond our control, seasonal sales or a decline in foot traffic, many industries are experiencing a slump in sales. The fact of the matter, as with most small business owners I hate to admit defeat and always feel like there is something I can do to create my own destiny. I started doing a little research into some of the options available to business owners as well as those people just looking to hit sales targets.
Advertise More - Just when you may think it’s time to cut back the marketing Rands, you should probably be advertising more! It is wise to increase marketing efforts during slower sales periods because there is more competition and fewer consumer Rands. One of my personal favourite sayings is “50% of your marketing works, the problem is nobody knows which 50% it is” the point is marketing is a very important part of each business, and sure you will do things that do not create a direct return, but chances
Generate a Buzz around your business - Whenever anything noteworthy happens within your business, send a press release to the media. The idea is to grab any free coverage possible. Get involved with community events. Consider hosting or sponsoring classes, meetings or other networking events on your premises, or if you don’t have suitable premises, partner with someone else who does. Use a unique promotional event to generate a buzz about your business.
Examine Your Pricing Strategy - When purchasing and pricing products, be sure you’ve considered the cost of goods and that your retail shop is able to make a profit at that price point. Your product price should be competitive, but still profitable. Ultimately, the right price is the price the customer is willing to pay for the product. Always remember, “Price is what you pay, value is what you get” so always make sure your customers are getting value, they will reward you with return business.
Design your Business for Sales - Take advantage of cross-merchandising strategies with products in your stable or do some joint marketing with other brands to facilitate sales impulse sale opportunities. Use various techniques and creative displays to attract customers.
Connect With the Customer - Excellent customer service is the key to increasing sales. Listen to your customer to understand their needs and wants. Then educate him/her about the products. Probably one of the most successful salesmen you know is you personal doctor or GP, how many times have you gone to him feeling sick, he assess your needs and gives you a nice shopping list of products to buy at the chemist. And why is it that you buy absolutely everything on that list? It’s because you trust that your doctor is providing you exactly what you need to get well. So the trick as a business owner is to access the needs of a potential customer and provide products to suit their needs.
Finally, let the customer know you appreciate their business. Offer value-added services and products. Create a mailing list by asking for contact information from each customer.