3 Simple Ways Any Business Can Increase Sales
Sometimes the best methods are hidden in plain sight.
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
I've yet to speak with an entrepreneur who doesn't want more sales. Generating more sales isn't easy, but it's simpler than many leaders think. After a decade of teaching leaders how to improve sales, I've distilled all creative tactics into three simple ideas that can create more sales now — even in tough markets.
Raise your price
Think about it for a second. When was the last time you raised your prices? Maybe it's been a few years. What would be possible if you raised your price by just 5-10%? If you stopped using discounts as a closing tactic, most of your customers wouldn't even notice.
Say you're a freelance designer and bill 40 hours a week for 50 weeks. That's 2000 billable hours. Increasing your rate by 10% from $80 to $88 will increase your sales by $16,000 a year.
But how do you increase your hourly rate from $80 to $88? One way to subtly increase your hourly rate is to move to a flat rate for a project. This requires a little front-end math to accurately estimate the number of hours a project will take, but it's one way to raise your revenue without having to discuss hourly rates. Raising your rates is especially effective for newly acquired customers.
Add new customers
Stay in business long enough and you'll experience the pain of a customer unexpectedly leaving. It's just how it goes. In fact, I tell my consulting clients to expect a certain number of customers to leave each year. If your business isn't adding new customers, then it's dying. The solution is simple. Set a goal of adding 5-10% new customers each year. Here's the best part about new customers: They don't think twice about your newly increased rates, because they don't know anything different.
Staying with the freelance designer example, if you currently bill 2000 hours and grew your customer base by 10% that would, at a minimum, increase your billable hours from 2000 to 2,200. This 10% increase at the new rate of $88 would result in a sales increase of $17,600. Maybe you don't want to work more hours. No problem. Partner or contract with another freelance designer that will accept a lower hourly rate, like your old rate of $80, and pass the work along to them. You can make an additional $1600 without working overtime.
Sell your customers something else
This is the most practical — but most ignored — tactic. It's far easier to do more for an existing customer than it is to get a new one. It's so much easier to call your existing customers and offer them a new service than it is to sell your services to a new company. Existing customers have already seen the quality of your work and trust you. Now is the time to check in with your existing customers and find ways to expand your offering with additional services.
Using the freelance example, you could create an additional stream of 220 new billable hours at the new rate of $88 if only 10% of your customers took advantage of the new offering. This would result in a sales increase of $19,360.
Sometimes the best opportunities are the simple ones. If you implement just one of these tactics, you could grow your business by leaps and bounds in a year's time.