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Three ways to increase sales

It’s often said that there are three ways to grow a business; finding more customers, increasing your average sales value and increasing the number of times a customer buys from you. In this article, we look at how you can encourage growth with some practical ideas you can apply in your own business.

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It's often said that there are three ways to increase sales; by finding more customers, increasing your average sales value and increasing the number of times a customer buys from you. In this article, we look at how you can encourage growth with some practical ideas you can apply in your own business. Ideas to find and attract new customers Understanding your target market and what drives them to buy – use this knowledge to create products that meet their needs and winning marketing campaigns. Getting more visitors to your website using search engine optimisation or pay-per-click advertising. Asking customers for testimonials about your business and products for use in sales and publicity materials. Creating strategic relationships with businesses that provide a complementary service to help you both reach more customers. Meeting new contacts by attending local networking events. Raising your profile with your through PR and social media. Using a money back guarantee to eliminate any risk customers may perceive. Exploring opportunities in new markets, including foreign markets. Running competitions and promotions to build your mailing list. Offering free samples, workshops or information in order to gather leads. Asking for referrals from your current customers, perhaps offering a reward as an incentive. Finding out who your most valuable groups of customers are and how they found out about your business so that you can target new customers in the same way. Increase average transaction value Provide complementary products or a useful additional service to make your business a one-stop-shop for everything your customer will need when making a purchase. For example, if you sell shelves, could you offer a service to fit them? Or sell the screws to fit them? This is a basic example, but it can be applied to any business. Up-sell to the customer by offering a more expensive product or premium service. Incentivise multiple purchases by bundling your products together, perhaps at a slight discount. Offer free delivery on orders over a certain amount, if your margins will allow for it. Train sales staff in up-selling and cross-selling, make sure they know your product range well enough to make recommendations. Simply raising your prices can be a short term strategy and may alienate existing customers. If you do raise your prices, remember that price goes hand in hand with quality. Could you create a premium range of products that justifies a higher average price? If you have an e-commerce website, use recommendation features such as ‘customers who bought this also bought…' to encourage multiple purchases. How to encourage repeat custom Offer excellent customer and after sales service – going above and beyond will make you stand out in their memory for all the right reasons and make them want to do business with you again. Build relationships with your customers by staying in touch with them through a newsletter, then use this newsletter to send them special customer-only offers. Recommend relevant products based on previous purchases. Listen and respond to customer feedback. Offer loyalty discounts to customers, i.e. 10% off their next order. Send out bonus gifts with new purchases. If your customer pays you in instalments, encourage them to pay by recurring Standing Order or Direct Debit payment. Stay in touch with your best customers and clients and always thank them for their business. Send out birthday and Christmas cards. Give your customers and clients public recognition in your newsletter, on your website and in your publications. These are just a selection of ideas you can use to attract new customers, increase average sales value and encourage repeat custom. If you have more ideas that you'd like to add to the list, why not join the discussion on our LinkedIn group? If you need advice on how to grow your business, find out how the Forum can help. Members can call our development helpline on 0845 130 1722 to discuss any business issue between 8.30am and 5.30pm, Monday to Friday, plus get access to a complimentary consultancy session to establish your marketing needs.

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