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How To Improve Sales When Times Are Tough

Updated on November 9, 2014

Some Ideas On How To Improve Sales

When sales are slow and the economic outlook is gloomy, it may be time to adjust your company's marketing strategy to stay afloat. Quite often there can be quite simple ways to generate more business and for most business owners it is not having the time to think outside of the business that can create this block. A time away to look at your business opportunities objectively can be time well spent, or, why not call in an expert - it could be money well spent.

Business Consulting
Business Consulting

Some Ideas On How To Improve Sales When Times Are Tough

There will be very few companies that have not felt some effect from the global economic downturn over the past few years.

And when times are hard, you need to have a re-think of your strategy to give your sales that much-needed boost. Whether it's employing more online marketing techniques, reaching out to local media or even getting outside help through a marketing consultant, we look at how you can achieve this:

Think Local: If you're a small business, local companies or consumers will be your clients so you should take advantage of local media such as newspapers, magazines, radio stations and online local business directories. However, even if you are a big multinational you still need to have a local marketing strategy you can roll out across all your sales areas. If you are seen to have a strong local presence clients are more likely to trust you - and you should hopefully then reap the benefits in sales terms.

Think Different: To get more attention from potential clients you may need to use your imagination. Sometimes using the standard marketing methods aren't enough. Why not hold a special promotional event? Something fun and innovative that will draw in the crowds and advertise your brand at the same time.

Build Up A Mailing List: Maybe your sales aren't so hot at the moment because you're not taking the time to get contact details from clients or visitors to your website. This is essential for building up a strong mailing list. You need to find out as much as you can about customers so you can categorise them accordingly. This way, when it comes to sending out marketing emails you can target each client with the right information. This will make them feel that you value their priorities.

Website Design: A poorly designed or functioning website may be another reason for slow sales. Whilst your site needs to look good, it should above all else be easy to use and navigate. If yours is not, it may be time for a re-design. Have a search function that makes it easier for customers to find products and make sure the descriptions tell them everything they need to know. Also, it's vital that you have an efficient checkout facility so purchases go smoothly. If they don't, you are unlikely to get repeat business.

Hire A Professional: If all of the above seems a bit daunting, or you think you're already doing all these things and you can't work out what might be causing the sales slump, it may be time to bring in a business consultant. They can help you look at things in an entirely different way and hopefully devise a strategy that will set your company on a path of positive growth.

Keep An Eye On Trends: Sometimes improving sales can be a simple matter of keeping an eye on what's 'in' and gearing your products or promotional campaigns around this. Have a look at what's topical and will appeal to clients.

Business Development Consultant
Business Development Consultant

Why Is Your Business Struggling To Succeed?

Thousands of businesses go under every year for various reasons, ranging from market fluctuations to poor organisation. If you find that your business is struggling then you need to do something to make sure you don’t join them. What you need to do is identify the areas in which your weaknesses lie and take practical steps to address them. If you really don’t know where the problem is it may even be worth getting in a small business advisor to get an outsider’s perspective. But to help you get started, here are just some of the common reasons why some small businesses can get into difficulties or have trouble achieving growth:

Poor Market Research: If you’re not pulling in the new customers then maybe it’s a simple matter of not having done your market research thoroughly enough. Have you taken the time to find out what your core customer base actually wants, or indeed who they even are? Customer demands change very rapidly so even if you were supplying them with what they wanted a couple of years ago, things may have moved on in the meantime. Market research should be a constant, evolving process to keep step with your existing and potential customers.

Poor Money Management: Poor accountancy and cash management is probably one of the most common reasons for the failure of a business. To begin with, it’s essential to be realistic about what you expect to earn in any given year and create a budget around this.

There must also be an awareness of the kinds of tax breaks available to smaller business. For example, research & development tax credits can be claimed by many small- to medium-sized companies and are designed to help them maximise their innovation capabilities. A lack of awareness of the opportunities available such as research & development tax credits may be another reason why your company is not growing as quickly as you would have hoped.

Bad Marketing: Not everybody is a marketing genius, but if you are running a company and your skills don’t lie in this area then you really need to hire somebody who does know how to market products and services. Put simply, if you can’t find a way to make your products visible and attractive to your target market then you will never expand your customer base and your business will never grow. Don’t ever assume that a marketing expert is an unnecessary expense: rather you should think of them as one of the cornerstones of your operation.

Media Training
Media Training

How Would You Like To Have Theo Paphitis Promoting Your Business?(For FREE)

As a business owner working to a tight budget, it is prudent to always be on the lookout for free or cheap ways to promote your business to a wider audience.

So here's a great idea - and what's more it's free:

Former 'Dragon' and current owner of high street brands: Ryman Stationers, Boux Avenue, and more recently, Robert Dyas, Theo Paphitis, runs a weekly online event via Twitter dubbed 'Small Business Sunday.'

Here's how it works:

Business owners can tweet Theo (@TheoPaphitis) between 5.00pm and 7.00pm each Sunday evening using the hashtag #SBS.They must then describe their business in one tweet only (including hashtag).At the end of the two hours, Theo reviews the tweets he has received that evening and selects his six best, which he then re-tweets to his 300,000+ followers.

Can you see the potential here?

If you are based in the North-West, here's something else that might interest you: media training Manchester delivered by one of the UK's foremost media relations companies.

Whether you are looking for bespoke one-to-one training, group training, or training for your associates or team, these expert coaches will get you media savvy in no time. Not only will you be able to get your core messages across with clarity, but you will be able to give them the 'wow factor.'

And talking of wow-ing . . .

If you are a female entrepreneur, Ann Summers' glamorous CEO, Jacqueline Gold, also runs a Twitter-based awards programme (similar to Theo's) called 'WOW', which stands for Women On Wednesday. You can tweet Jacqueline details of your business via Twitter (@Jacqueline_Gold) - see her website for more details and an overview of previous winners' credentials.

Social media is a great platform from which to tell the world about your business and why you are the best at doing what you do. And if you can get well-known people with a massive online following to champion your cause or business idea too, then you'll be streets ahead of your nearest rivals.

Half the battle with online marketing, is knowing how to use social media effectively to further your business interests; the other half is knowing which influencers to target and by what means. Media training Manchester can show you the way to cash in with social media success. Why not find out more about how to make social media work for your business today?

Business Consultants
Business Consultants

Sales Teams . . . Could Asking The Right Questions Skyrocket Your Sales?

It’s a well known fact that generally speaking, salespeople talk too much.

Perhaps a lesser known fact is that during a telephone call, the person who enjoys the conversation most, is the person who gets to speak the most.

Which appears to go against everything your average script-reading telesales person is taught! And the opposite of what a knowledgeable business consultant would advise.

Frankly, there’s nothing worse than having a salesperson call you up and talk at you. They drone on about the fantastic offer they are promoting – but only if you sign up today mind. Ten minutes later and you’re on the verge of trooping off to ring your own doorbell just to get them off the phone before your favourite TV programme starts.

Something every salesperson should consider is: am I asking the right questions? Asking the right open-ended questions will help the conversation flow more naturally than questions people can kill with a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ response.

The problem with reading any script is that the conversation is stilted. It doesn’t flow naturally. The salesperson is constantly anticipating the answer to his previous question and getting ready to counteract the next obstacle to the sale.

And this is equally true when it comes to face-to-face selling. How many times have you been approached by an overbearing salesperson whilst browsing in your favourite store? The kind of irksome individual who tries to sell you something before you are ready to buy. It’s the sort of situation where you have to pretend that your parking ticket is about to expire just to escape their clutches, even when you have caught the bus into town!

Which isn’t how selling should be.

Ideally, selling is about identifying and overcoming your prospects’ problems. But until you know what those problems are, you won’t be able to proffer a solution. So train your salespeople to ask lots of pertinent questions and listen hard to the answers. Certainly aim to talk only half as much as the other person. Even if you get a ‘no thanks’, it doesn’t necessarily mean ‘no, not ever’ – but simply – ‘no, not on this occasion.’

And whether you sell over the phone or face-to-face, or a bit of both, at least you’ll know that by allowing your prospect to speak freely and uninterrupted, they won’t have to resort to pretending the car parking ticket is about to expire, or ringing their own doorbell to get you off the line.

If your company could do with some assistance with telesales or face-to-face selling, then engaging the input of a business consultant could help your outfit become more successful and more profitable.

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