17 Mar Small Business Boot Camp: Generating Sales
Have you ever walked into a store and felt like you were being blasted by people trying to sell you things? Ever wonder why the product you need is always at the back of the 100-acre superstore? Certain stores, especially those owned by big corporations, are notorious for using tactics to trick the mind into buying more now. These include the location of products, the flashiness of ads, and insisting that sale on jeans ends TODAY (even though another one is set to start tomorrow). Seem repetitive? Yes. But companies keep using these techniques because they work.
Blossoming small business owners might not have the capacity to utilize these ploys to the same degree as established chain stores. However, they do have an edge over big companies in other ways. Being smaller and more specialized, they often know more about the products they sell. This makes it easier for them to help customers if they’re in a jam. Depending on the industry, the products offered could be more unique, exotic, or high-quality, which can be perceived as more valuable than what can be found elsewhere.
As an entrepreneur, here are some things you can do to promote your services or items in a sincere way that won’t have your customers rolling their eyes.
Think About Long-Term Relationships
When creating a business, it’s good to have short and long term goals. Client relations factor into this immensely. Why would you try to make a cheap buck when you can cultivate lasting relationships with your customers? Although not everyone who uses your services or buys something from you will come back, they’re a lot more likely to if you treat them well.
Never think of your customers as numbers or worse, people to take advantage of. If they have a problem, help them as best as you can. You might not have the answer, but by thoughtfully pointing them in the right direction, you’re more likely to earn their loyalty.
Listen to Your Clients
It isn’t always necessary to give people the spiel about today’s sale when they first grace your store. Saying hello and being polite is golden, and so is giving them a bit of time and space to browse (obviously, it’s different if they approach you with a question). While they look around, keep an ear out for any passing inquiries or interests they express. You’ll be able to see if you have a potential customer or a browser on your hands.
When the time is right, engage in a friendly conversation about their interests. People love it when others take an interest in them. After an exchange of pleasantries and finding out what they’re looking for, you can then make suggestions about products. This approach might take a while, but it will often be worth it for both parties.
Focus on Your Brand
Hold true to your company’s original purpose. If your goal was to open the best Italian restaurant in the city, dig into the culture, explore delicious Italian cuisine and put your spin on it. Don’t resort to promoting yourself on social media with funny cat videos and other irrelevant click bait. Be yourself and evolve. Clients will sense the genuineness and even feel like they’re a part of your vision.
Be Responsible the Whole Way Through
This goes back to helping your clients when they need it, even after the original transaction has taken place. If you sell something to someone and it’s damaged when they get home, be sure to help them overcome the issue to the best of your ability. Sometimes, there’s nothing you can do. By being upfront with customers about what your return policies are, offering them a courtesy discount, or referring them to someone who can help them, you can get off the hook the right way. Even a sincere apology can work if the problem hit a dead end. As long as they know you care, you can bet people are likely to come back for more.
You do not have to be shallow or manipulative to sell yourself. While bigger companies can push out more products because they rake in a ton of stock, you can sell what you have in a more rewarding way. This doesn’t mean you should never hold promotions, special events, or use certain items to entice your customers’ senses. It just means there should be more to your core values than just selling. Be proud of what you do and those who stop by will know you’re the right person to buy from.