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How to boost sales for your small business

groupofmenatlunch30338711.jpgThe reality is that no business, regardless of size, is immune to a sales slump. This can be due to many factors that include but are not limited to: changing market conditions, sagging consumer confidence, unmotivated staff, and new competitive threats. These and many other factors can all quickly turn stellar sales performance, into a fast downward spiral. Small business owners and their sales teams are especially facing intense competition for accounts, eroding margins, and longer sales cycles. However, there are things that a savvy small business owner can do.Here is what you need to know about how to boost sales for your small business-

Get back to basics-Sometimes the best way to revitalize anything is to take the approach of getting back to the fundamentals. Begin by looking at each stage of your sales process. You should ask yourself the following questions-

  1. Do your lead generating activities bring quality, interested clients or mere "tire-kickers"?

  2. Does your team really understand your customers with in-depth needs assessments?

  3. Are features and benefits of your product or service, tied to specific problems facing customers today?

  4. Can you and your sales team close sales effectively in a smooth well-timed manner? If not, how can you change this?

Fire your customers-This may seem counter-productive to increasing sales. However, after closely examining all of your clients, if you find that there are high maintenance customers, who are using up your time and resources, with little or no profit; it may be time to get rid of them. You need to focus on your customers that appreciate your business and are profitable.

Examine your staff-It is important to realize that in flourishing times, sales come easy so your top performer, may have really been an order taker. You need to realize that the current market requires professional sales personnel. You need to closely evaluate your under performers, support, and coach them. Then if they can't learn the necessary skills, or are unmotivated, it's time to part ways. Your staff needs to understand that if they cannot function in a sales position, (and everyone in your organization, should be selling in some way), then they need to look for another job. Another aspect of motivating your staff is to give them goals, with applicable rewards. You can hold regular monthly meetings for your staff. During these meetings you can spend this time to role-play skills, share best practices, have fun, and give a motivational boost.

Take a close look at your marketing-When things are going smoothly, your marketing plan may be just fine. When the economy tightens, it becomes crucial that every marketing dollar you are spending is effective. Re-evaluate your marketing plan, to determine if your marketing dollars are being spent in the best possible way. If they are not, do not simply cut marketing, (this can be a death sentence for your company), but re-allocate the marketing budget where it will do you the most good, and drive sales.

Re-examine your pricing models-It is crucial to understand that blindly cutting prices to increasing competitive pressure, is a sure way to shorten your businesses lifespan.Small business owners should carefully, look where to change prices and find ways to tie pricing to a long-term relationship. Remember that your ultimate goal is to build a long-term relationship with your market. When things are tough the small business that prospers and survives, is the one who adjusts their sales approach, to meet the current conditions. You should not wait for an automatic turn around; the time is now for a closer look at your sales tactics.

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