growing-sales

Five Under-Utilized Sources of More Sales That Any Business Can Tap Into

Looking for some quick, fundamental ways to rev up your sales? If you make an active effort in each of the five areas mentioned in the post below, you can expect to see a significant increase in your business revenues within a few weeks.

Skeptical? Read below.

Is Your Business Optimized?

When I first starting building up The Frugal Entrepreneur, one of my goals was to provide content that would create a strong nexus between frugality and business. One challenge that I had was that many people misunderstand what it really means to be frugal (People misunderstand what it means to go into business as well; but that’s a topic for another post). At its core, “frugality” involves not only making the most of the resources you have at your disposal and trying to save a few dollars; it means sometimes working a bit harder, and all the time working smarter.

Today, it’s in vogue to be financially savvy, to “think green,” and to look for ways to save and conserve resources on a personal level. Plus, there is a ton of information out there on how to do it all. But when it comes to running a business on a shoestring budget, I’ve found that while there is a lot of information, fundamental, practical, actionable advice on day-to-day operations is hard to come by. The stuff that is out there is often lacking in quality and/or clear direction.

Ironically, the majority of businesses operate with a tremendous amount of waste and leakage- often without realizing it.

In the following post, I’m going to bring five areas common to just about any business that business owners can tap into for more revenue. If you are running any kind of business- whether you are self-employed or have several employees, provide services or products- chances are that you are not maximizing the potential of some or even all of these areas. Focusing on these areas alone can significantly increase sales typically without an extra investment of money, working many more hours, or needing to hire additional workers. They are fundamental methods for maximizing your operations.

Five Simple Ways To Quickly Increase Your Revenues

1. Previous customers. One of the biggest untapped sources of increased sales involves the very people who you’ve already done business with and who were satisfied with your products or services. Plenty of your customers may be willing to refer you to other potential customers or offer their recommendation, but they need to be prompted to do so. Getting your previous customers to take this kind of action can happen with a simple email where you ask if they would be willing to introduce you to others who may also be in need of your products/services or to send out a general recommendation for your business to their social networks.

Another way to tap into a happy customer is to ask for a testimonial. If your customer was well-known in the industry, or within a particular targeted region, and/or is connected to a lot of people, you should ask for testimonial that you can include in key marketing materials or places in your online conversion process to help build credibility and establish yourself as an expert.

Even if you already have a collection of testimonials, you should keep replenishing it with new customers. The reasoning behind this is that different people may be influential to different sub-groups within your target market. If you are doing business online, you can show hand-picked, targeted testimonials to different groups of people, or do some A/B testing to see which testimonials drive the most conversions.

Now, I know that many of you may be feeling a bit uncomfortable at the prospect of asking customers for referrals, testimonials, or recommendations, but as long as the request comes in a pleasant way and doesn’t make your customers feel like they are being forced into it, there really is nothing wrong with it. On the contrary, you may be surprised how many doors will open for you. You just have to knock.

2. Strategic business partnerships. Another very big source of additional sales is other businesses. By teaming up with other businesses or peers either within your industry or in some related field, you may be able to significantly expand your reach, expose your business to additional streams of income, and even increase your product or service offerings. Even one really good partnership can make a tremendous difference to your business. For more information on building profitable business partnerships, take a look at my previous post: How Teaming Up with Other Small Businesses Can Help Your Business.

3. Fruitless leads. So, first let me explain what “fruitless leads” are. Fruitless leads are those people who showed some initial interest in your business, and then for whatever reason decided not to make a purchase. In other words, the lead didn’t bear any fruit. Often, business owners leave this trail once it gets cold and never return. But, by doing so, you may pass up on future sales. Why? Because sometimes people may not be ready to buy when you first approached them, but their circumstances change later on. For this reason, it’s almost always good to keep the lines of communication open, and to try to re-approach things later on. Again, this can happen with a simple email in which you offer some little bit of added value to make your product/service “more attractive” and then ask if they are interested.

4. Non-customers. I like to think of these people as “passersby” and the “window shoppers.” They may never have any real intention of buying from you. They take advantage of your freebies and passively enjoy your content. Why even bother with them? Realize that there is value in these people as well. Even if they won’t ever buy from your business, they may be connected to others who will, and they can act as a referral engine. This is one additional reason why it pays to offer something of value with no cost or obligation, such as an ebook, online webinar, or product sample (you can still use it simultaneously as part of your sales funnel for those who are interested in buying). Here, you want to offer something that is branded and where appropriate links back to your site or a landing page, that has the potential to be shared via social networks or talked about to others, or is a useful branded item that potential customers would be exposed to.

The other part to this story, is that people by nature will be more willing to promote your business and help you out (if you should ever try to mobilize their assistance in promoting a new product or service) once they’ve recieved something of value from you.

5. Face-to-face interaction. The last area to consider in your business that can significantly increase sales is face-to-face (or at least on the phone) communication. Why am I mentioning such an “old fashioned” tool? In these days of instant communications, it seems that too many people are relying way too much on social media and email. While Twitter, email, and SMS can be powerful customer service tools, a phone call, face-to-face conversation (even via webcam), and a handshake can go a whole lot further. Have you ever called up a recent or current customer to ask how he or she is feeling with the products or services you provided; have you ever had online webchat to answer customer questions or address concerns; how often do you attend live networking events? If you answered “no” or “not often” to these examples, then get cracking. You may see a significant change in conversion rates once you look for ways to add that “personal touch.” You can even use it as an added value feature to your product or service

In short, focusing on any of the above areas can significantly increase your bottom line with little effort or additional investment on your part. All you have to do is take the time to consider how to apply them to your business. You may be surprised by how effective these little tweaks can be.

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