Small changes that will improve your sales
If you want to maximise your business’s sales without reinventing the wheel, you’ll have to consider making small changes that can have large impacts on sales.
Racking up sales, generating revenue and keeping your cash flow positive is the name of the game when it comes to operating a successful small business.
Yes, there are several pivotal business considerations and activities you’ll also need to tackle, but if your till isn’t ringing with regularity, your trading days are under threat.
Ruthlessly interrogate your data
Business data comes in many guises and formats:
- Google Analytics
- inventory management
- accounting software
- sales pipelines
- cash flow statements
There’s sales gold in that data, you only need to know how to extract it.
First, ensure you have adequate systems in place to collect and aggregate sales and consumer data. Use automated and cloud-based solutions wherever possible to cut down on the steam required to produce reports and gain insights.
Once you have a reasonable view of this data, get to work analysing it more methodically, and more regularly.
You should be able to discover several valuable insights, from which you can make decisions on where to focus (or abandon) sales efforts:
- What is the most popular product? Is it seasonal?
- What offering has the highest profit margins?
- Who do you sell to the most?
- What’s commonly purchased together?
- How do your customers find you?
- Do you have underperforming or low margin offerings?
By setting aside small pockets of time to scrutinise and perfect your data analysis, you’ll find you can better target and adapt your sales strategy. This will inevitably lead to more sales and a deeper understanding of your own business.
Focus on farming, not just hunting
Many small businesses make the mistake of concentrating their sales and marketing efforts on ‘hunting’ new, unknown customers.
Yes, growing your business is predicated on ‘hunting’ activity. But if you’ve abandoned your ‘farming’ activities, you will have neglected some dependable, easily won, and highly cost-effective sales opportunities.
To farm is to cultivate that which you already have: an existing customer base.
Did you know its up to five times cheaper to sell to your existing base than it is to hunt for new customers?
Your existing base has not only demonstrated their willingness to buy from you, they’ve also likely shared their contact details with you (if you aren’t capturing contact details, then you need to try and do it).
Capitalise on this information with email and social media marketing campaigns. Directly approach your existing customers with offers and analyse what they bough to suggest matching offerings.
Adjustments to your customer service approach
The most incremental improvements to your customer service approach can reap immense benefits to your sales revenue. The psychological impact of a positive customer experience produces a potent effect that reverberates for significant periods of time and leads consumers to inform others of this experience.
Selling one coffee is great. Creating an ‘above average’ experience which converts a single sale into a loyal, regular coffee drinker, is a whole different tier of success. Think about every single way you can create that kind of loyalty through exceptional customer experiences.
Take stock of your customer service approach, in what ways can you:
- create a smoother online or physical experience with less friction and fewer steps – aka, tighten your customer workflow
- respond to feedback in a timely and helpful manner
- offer ‘something extra’ that sees you rise above your competition
- actively garner and capture consumer feedback
- be more genuine in your approach to customer satisfaction
- hire (or train) the best customer service staff
- create a warm and inviting physical or social atmosphere
- increase the quality of your offerings, without sacrificing revenue.
Focus on improving your reviews
Favourable online customer reviews and scores are rapidly increasing in importance. There’s a rising and extremely significant consumer habit of checking your business’s Google Reviews before they decide on which competitor they want to engage with.
This may in fact be the most important point in this list – neglect online reviews at your peril.
According to statistics compiled in 2020 by Review 42:
- 90% of buyers read online reviews to decide on a product to purchase.
- Almost half (49%) of users think the quantity of reviews matters. Back in 2016, that figure was 35%.
- When searching for a local business, 60% of customers check Google My Business for reviews.
If you have less than a 4-star average review score, you’re in trouble. If you have a recurring complaint in your reviews, you’re also in trouble. We now know that a massive proportion of consumers will actively filter out businesses which receive less than four stars. Use that as a benchmark for success.
Do everything in your power to improve your rankings and eliminate the sources of negative feedback. If you do, your sales will immediately improve.
For a full rundown on the how and why of increasing online customer reviews, see our article here.
Increase your average sales size
By creating additional sales from a single opportunity, you can make use of the effort it took to get a customer to part with their hard-earned cash.
When you tally up the costs of acquiring a sale, and the apparent willingness of your customer to be sold to, you can see the value in upselling and cross selling.
If you run an eCommerce business, this can be done with automated ‘like’ or ‘often bought together’ product suggestions.
If you run an in-person retail business, upskill your sales staff (and yourself) in pushing for extra sales items with every customer.