Three ways you can grow your sales in a startup business
Looking for ways you can start or grow your sales in a new business? Here are three strategies you can try.
When you have a startup business, getting your sales going can seem an uphill task. You know you make first-rate products, or your services are excellent, but how can you let people know about them?
And more importantly, how can you encourage people to start buying?
Your starting point should always be understanding why, how and when customers will want to buy from you, and using that process to build your own marketing and sales roadmap.
But at each stage of that roadmap you’ll need to use specific strategies to reach and convert potential customers, and start to build a reliable sales pipeline. Here are three ways you can grow your sales in a startup business.
1) Engage in direct response marketing activities
‘Direct response’ marketing differs from general brand building activities in that you are looking to convert people directly into a sale. You’re not building awareness or engagement, or warming them up for future sales pitches. You want them to buy from you now.
Here are two strategies you can use for direct response marketing.
Telesales is the quickest way to scale up many businesses. One person can contact 50 to 70 people a day and pitch them the product or service that’s being offered. You can easily use your mobile phone, Skype or a home phone to start pitching the products or services that you plan to sell.
You’ll find that because you are holding a conversation with people, it will be easier to engage with and convert them into customers.
If you don’t personally feel comfortable calling people up to pitch to them, you can always hire the services of a professional telesales company.
Direct email pitches
The success of this tactic depends on the amount of qualified email contacts that you have. If you can access a list of people that are interested in the products or services that you have to offer, you’ll be able to scale up your business pretty quickly.
However, you need to be aware of, abide by, any anti-spam laws in your own country, or that of the person you’re emailing (you can find out more about the anti-spam laws in each country here).
Some options that you can consider include:
- Building your own opt-in list and pitching directly to people in your audience.
- Pitch someone that already has their own list and promote to their list in exchange for a deal. This deal could see you paying a one-off fee to access their list, or you could offer a commission on the sales of your products or services in exchange for promoting to their list.
If you’re considering email marketing, we recommend reading these articles:
- Why you need to stop email marketing – and start email automation instead
- 10 ideas for a killer email marketing campaign
- How to use email marketing to promote your business
- 27 tried and tested tricks for successful email marketing
And if you are going to send out sales emails, we recommend reading these articles:
- Learn the secret of writing powerful headlines
- Five simple rules for writing copy that SELLS
- 14 ways to make your email subject lines compellingly clickable
2) Face-to-face pitching
Pitching face-to-face is effective, however it can be a much slower way to ramp up the sales in your business. This is why you need to work out the value of the product or service that you are pitching, and decide whether it’s worth your time and energy to proceed with the sale.
If the products or services that you are selling are worth more than £1,000, then it is worth doing face-to-face pitches and engaging in field sales. However, if the products or service value is worth less than that amount, it may be better to focus on other, less time consuming marketing activities.
These videos can help you construct your pitch and the story behind what you are selling:
You can also read advice on honing your elevator pitch here.
How to develop your face-to-face sales pitch
One of the biggest reasons why people don’t succeed at face-to-face selling is because they don’t have a rehearsed sales script.
It’s important that you carefully develop and practise a natural-sounding sales script (one that you believe in and feel comfortable delivering) if you want to convert prospects into customers.
It’s possible to buy lessons in creating a powerful sales pitch, and even to buy a prewritten script. But be careful about using a script written by someone else. Yes, it may be a perfectly honed., professional script. But is it right for your business and your customers? And just as importantly, will you be able to deliver it convincingly?
And if you decide, as some businesses do, to put your sales script fully or partially online, you need to ensure it doesn’t replicate the original too faithfully. (You can use this plagiarism checker tool to optimise your sales script so it is unique.)
Whatever script you decide to go with, you can read seven pitching mistakes you really want to avoid here.
3) Focus on one very specific niche
If you want your business and the product or service that you are promoting to stand out in the marketplace, and to appeal directly to a clear audience, then you need to focus on a specific niche. And the more you can microniche (tailor your offering to a micro audience) the better – as long as there is enough of a market for you to make money.
For example you may decide to:
- Sell cake toppers for babies turning one in your local area.
- Sell goalie gloves for boys aged 13 to 18.
This will allow you to exclude people that aren’t in your target market, and laser-target on people with a strong intent to engage and purchase the product or service that you are offering.
It also helps you avoid competing with other very similar businesses for the same market – and being forced to lower your prices as a result. Instead, by owning your own niche, customers will want to buy from you as the sole expert or only supplier of what you do, and will be happy to pay your prices.
In order to successfully own a niche, you need to know your USP. You can read how to work yours out here.
Test, review and adapt
Working out the optimum way to build your sales funnel and get money flowing into your business will take time, and much trial and error.
So don’t panic if a strategy doesn’t work straight away or sales are sluggish. Instead, approach your sales strategy as if it was an experiment, and test and measure different approaches, before reviewing and adapting as needed.
With time, perseverance and creativity you’ll begin to find strategies that work, and use them to grow your business.
Need help pricing your products or services so they sell AND make you money? Watch our Pricing Masterclass now.
Tom Smith is a content marketing specialist and home-based entrepreneur. He develops web-based businesses and operates from the luxury of his own home in Melbourne.
Photo by Michael Prewett