Looking for ideas of how you can increase the sales of your business. There are seven ways that any business can increase sales. If a business increases sales it will always fall into one of these 7 categories. My hope is that by reading about these 7 categories it may trigger ideas for your own business of how you can increase sales.
Have you ever sat down and listed all of the possible ways to increase the sales for you business? The first time I did this it gave me a whole bunch of ideas, and what I quickly saw was that regardless of what kind of business you run their is only really 7 ways to increase sales. Since developing this list, anytime I review it I get additional ideas for how I can increase the sales of my business or the sales of my client's business. I highly recommend you review this list as I think you will be forced to create new ideas of your own for your business just my reading this list. Enjoy.
1. Current Customers - Sell more of an existing product or service to current customers
Sometimes the easiest way to increase sales is to sell more of an existing product or service to existing customers. It is usually much easier selling to existing or past customers than new ones. Aquiriing new customers is often requires a high investment of time and dollars. Often bringing new customers on can also have a long lead time before you will see results. It also requires minimal work or investment to be able to start selling. Selling more of an exisiting product or service to existing customers is usually the best place to look first when looking to increase sales.
A great example of this would be Godaddy. I am a customer of Godaddy for my web hosting because I needed a webhoster who has 24/7 customer support as I built my own website with very little programming knowledge. Godaddy has this service for free, so they were the logical choice. I am a customer of theirs for web hosting, email hosting and domain registration. Godaddy employees a strategy to increase sales by selling more of an existing product to current customers by taking advantage of customer emails they gather. What Godaddy does is sends emails to its existing customer base given them ideas for other domain names or higher grade web hosting services. I get an email from Godaddy probably about three times a week. In each of these emails Godaddy is try to get me to buy more from them from a selection of products or services they have been selling for years. They often include significant discounts (10-30%) to entice me to purcahse these products or services. I think partly why they can offer such steep discounts is that there are almost no additional costs to Godaddy. They have spent almost nothing on marketing. This approach is very effective as the cost of designing and sending these emails to the millions of people on their list is probably barely more than a laptop computer.
2. Current Customers - Sell a new product or service to existing customers
A second way to increase sales with existing customers is to sell more of a new product to existing customers. A great example of this is Amazon. I often get emails from Amazon notifying me of new products they have started to carry. A great example was an email I received from them when they started carrying the new Kindle Reader. Since I am an existing customer that buys from them on a regular basis they already have my information so it is very easy for them to market to me. The same benefits for marketing to existing customers holds true as was described in the previous example about Godaddy. Since I already buy from Amazon and I trust their site it is much easier for them to convince current customers like me to buy a new product than trying to convince someone who has never bought from Amazon to buy the new product. As a result I am sure they get a great return on investment in their email marketing campaigns for new items like the Kindle Reader.
3. Current Customers - Sell an existing product to current customers that do not buy that particular product
A third way to increase sales by selling more to existing customers is to sell an existing product to a current customer, which that particular customer does not currently buy. For example I am a regular customer of eBay and I regularly get emails from eBay that feature various products. Just the other day I received an email from eBay that featured computer screens. I have never bought a computer screen from eBay but after receiving the email, if I did need a computer screen I will probably check eBay and considering buying them there. As with the Amazon and Godaddy examples it is very easy for eBay to market to me because I buy from them on a regular basis. They have my contact information and I accept their emails, looking for deals. As with the other examples, using an approach like this is often very successful because the customer has already decided they like your company enough to purchase something from you and their is an existing positive relationship. You can also see in this example how it is very easy for eBay to offer me these products because they already carry them and sell them to other eBay customers. If they can convince me to buy a computer screen from them, it will not cause any additional operational issues as they sell this product every day to other people. Is their anything you currently sell to some of your customers and not all of them? Would it be worth your while to do some email marketing to convince these existing customers to also purchase this existing product or service?
4. New Customers – Sell a new product targeted at new customers
A great example of this approach to selling a new product targeted at a new customer is when Apple launched the iPod. When Apple launched the iPod, the only major apple products available where apple computers and apple laptops. The iPod was not targeted at existing Apple product buyers, but instead at the masses of people that had never owned an Apple product. The iPod was a new product that was designed to significantly increase Apple's sales by increasing the size of its customer base. It was very easy for apple to create this device because it already had the software and infrastructure of iTunes to work with the iPod. I think we all know how this strategy turned out. By taking this approach with the iPod, it paved the road for selling many new products, like the iPhone and iPad much easier to the new Apple iPod customer base. By taking that initial step of creating and launching a new target that non-current customers would be attracted to, Apple greatly benefited. Do you see any new products or services you could launch that would be easy to sell to people you currently don't sell to?
5. New Customers – Enter a new segment or geographic area
Another way to increase sales is to enter a new geographic area or segment. A great example for both of these scenarios is RIM with its BlackBerry.
RIM initially dramatically increased sales by entering the cell phone market. Previous to that point they had only built two way pager models. When they launched their first BlackBerry with cell phone capabilities they dramatically increased their customer base and dramatically increased sales. By entering this new segment of smart phones they were able to reach a mass audience of potential customers that were previously not interested in purchasing their existing products.
RIM also dramatically increased is sales first by expanding from Canada into the US and then internationally. RIM continues to expand into new countries with its BlackBerry smart phones, which has helped them continue to grow sales despite a decline in market share in the US. Just as with the BlackBerry, if their are additional geographic locations you can take your product or service to this may allow you to increase your sales dramatically. For your business it might not be another country, maybe it is just another city, than again don't be afraid to expand into another country. With the internet it makes if very easy to sell to other countries.
Sometimes a great way to enter a new geographic area is to license your product or service to a partner that can sell if for you. The benefit of this approach is that you may be able to benefit from someones already established distribution network, resulting in huge marketing and infrastructure costs. Sometimes this can also lead to a much faster ramp up to your sales, given your partner is already operational. Their are drawbacks to this approach as well such as less control over your product or service and the logistics of working with a licensing partner. Only you can decide if this approach might be good for you business. This is just another alternative to explore if you are looking for ways to increase sales.
6. New Customers – Invent a new usage for one of your current products
This method of increasing sales can be very difficult to undertake because it requires a great idea for how to expand usage. It can also deliver very high rewards, often much higher than the other methods, as this method will actually increase sales with current and new customers, but the majority of the sales in this approach usually come from new customers. The example for this approach to increasing sales comes from my brother. Two weekends ago I saw him using Pledge to clean his car instead of ArmorAll. He told me that in the united states they actually sell Pledge in the car care section. Up until that point I had only ever thought to use Pledge to clean wood furniture as that is what is was designed and created for. Next time I need to clean my car I will be cleaning with Pledge as it is far more inexpensive then ArmorAll. As SC Johnson has done with Pledge you may also be able to do with any one of your products or services. If you can find a new use for your product or service I think you will find that you may have a great opportunity on your hands to increase sales.
7. New Customers – Attempt to capture greater market share within current market
And finally the last way to increase sales is to attempt to capture greater market share within a current market. The example for this approach is a company i think does a great job of marketing. That company is Geico. Geico in recent years has spent massive amounts on television, radio, magazine and numerous other advertising methods to capture a greater share of the automobile insurance market in Canada and the United States. It seems like they come out with a new commercial every day. I am sure you have probably see one of the hundred commercials with the Geico geko. Then their is the Geico caveman, then there is all the other commercials without a mascot. I am sure you have heard there slogan...."Geico.....15 minutes could save you 15% or more on car insurance". An aside...what a great tagline. By heavy marketing efforts in an existing market to attract new customers Geico has been able to grow their market share from 2.7% in 2000 to over 10% at the end of 2010. That increase in market share has led to an increase in sales of $8.6 Billion or 154%. This is a great way to grow sales as usually as your market share grows your profits grow exponentially. The only downside to this approach is that you must be an expert marketer to pull it off.
Now that you have some ideas together of what are the ways you can increase the sales of your business pick the ones that you feel are the most attractive and include them in your marketing plan. If you have yet to develop a marketing plan you can download a free marketing plan template. Having a marketing plan is essential to being successful at increasing sales. Without a plan it is hard to reach any goal....
Other Related Article You Might Be Interested In
My name is Chris R. Keller. I work at Profitworks Small Business Services helping various B2B small businesses in Waterloo and Kitchener Ontario generate new customers. Feel free to connect with me on Google+ or if you are just interested in getting new customers for your B2B small businesses enter your email in the box provided below and click the "Send Me Free Updates" button.
Get Customers Blog - Go To Blog Homepage
I hope you have enjoyed this article on how to increase sales. If after reading this article you are still not sure which of the above 7 ways to increase sales would be the best approach for you business check back to this blog. In the near future I plan on writing an article to outline a process to help determine for any business which approach has the highest chance of success and which is most likely to be the most profitable. Which approach is the best will be different depending on the particular situation of your business. Be sure to check back!