I didn’t see many stores this year for Black Friday because I was in the trenches with a client as usual. My wife, however, was out and about enjoying the sales and battling the crowds looking for some fun gifts. One problem? Several stores she went to were closed. During normal business hours. On Black Friday! She said she saw several other cars pull in, check the door and leave as well. Of course, she reluctantly went to their competitors and spent her money with them as I’m sure the other people did as well. Money just walked out the door and no one was even around to know. If you are in retail, you are open Black Friday, it’s just the nature of the beast. I cannot imagine why a retail store would be closed during normal hours on Black Friday. Meanwhile here are some tips for the rest of you who were open to increase your sales over this holiday season.
One way to boost your sales is to provide free samples to potential customers. We have all see the people in the store handing out free tastes of various products but the sampling game can go much further than that. If you are in the food industry it is the perfect way to get customers to try your product and typically sees a 23-30% conversion rate, well worth the expense. Tastings can turn a “satisfied customer” into a “highly satisfied customer.” The difference here, according to a wine tasting study is “she (or he) is likely to spend an additional $10 buying an extra bottle of wine (with a probability of 93 percent), and to re-purchase wine in the future (92 percent probability).”
It’s not just for food. A yoga mat company sent out small examples of its economic and environmentally friendly Yoga Mats and in response to a mail-out of 500 samples, the company received a whopping 300 phone calls.
Here are some tips to help you get your sample game going.
1. Produce small samples of your products. – If you are in the restaurant business, they could be bite-size portions of a new product. Retail shops can purchase sample-size products from distributors to hand out to potential customers.
2. Attach a coupon, business card, or flier to your samples to further advertise your business. -This will provide an incentive for consumers to come back and purchase a full-size version of your product. This also increases the longevity of your marketing effort. When they see your card or flyer they will remember the goodwill created by giving them the sample.
3. Hire employees with good customer service skills to stand by the entrance of the business to pass out the samples. – Be sure they are friendly and can answer questions about the product. Having someone who doesn’t know the product as they give out samples can be disastrous so don’t skimp on the training.
4. Make note of what consumers say about your products or business as you’re handing out samples. – This is an opportunity to find out if you need to make any adjustments in price, appearance, taste, or effectiveness. Converting customers plus market research, it’s a win-win.
The always stressful, most of the time entertaining, dread-inducing Black Friday is here. I will be in the trenches, helping out clients, getting a read on the selling situation and modifying battle plans. Your employees are the most important part of this arrangement so make sure they are trained and ready for Black Friday. Brush up on customer service. Make sure they have the flexibility to deal with situations as they arise. Make sure they have the support and tools they need. Here is a quick infographic to help with employee engagement on this big day!
There are tons of sales tools out there (too many in fact) and every single one of them “Revolutionized” sales. It’s hard to cut through the clutter and choose the right system for your needs. Here is a list of my top 5 sales tools and why you need them.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software is the most important tool for managing your sales pipeline. Keeping customers needs and contact information at your fingertips, a good CRM is portable across platforms and easy to use. I have used many CRM’s and they all have their pros and cons. Of course, Salesforce is the big one out there but the price might be a barrier for some. Insightly and Zoho are a couple of free CRM’s but they don’t always have the functionality you need without paying. Even a bad free system is better than no system. You can always port your information to another system if you need to but try and avoid that as it takes time.
The worlds most popular social media platform dedicated to business is a must in the current sales environment. It doesn’t matter what type of sales you do from big medical deals to retail, LinkedIn is useful to everyone. If you are in B2B sales make sure to check out LinkedIn Sales Navigator. Use LinkedIn to make connections with suppliers or with potential clients or just to build better relationships whith those you already know. It really is a versatile platform and will be useful if you take the time to cultivate it.
From sharing information across your organization to giving information to customers you need a platform to make the flow of information easier. Getting a cloud-based service keeps your business agile and the information flowing. I use Dropbox but Google Drive has come a long way to being a useful cloud storage service. If I suspect I might need to share a bit of information it automatically goes on the cloud storage to make it easier.
Face to face selling is the ideal but not always possible. Invest in a decent camera for either video or conferencing. Selling in today’s market means you need video of one type or another. Use video to showcase a product or service, use it as an explainer or use video chat to sell. You can use your cellphone if the resolution and sound quality are high enough. I use a GoPro for most of my videos but a few are shot on my phone. For video conferencing the camera on a laptop is usually sufficient but don’t rely on your phone for such conferencing, it would be better to buy a dedicated webcam for your desktop if that is your only option.
Time is money and in sales, the golden hours are doubly important. Use a scheduler to keep on track and to schedule tasks around your golden selling times. In retail those are your busiest hours, don’t let small tasks or meeting interfere with making a sale. There are schedulers that can coordinate teams and ones that can automate setting up meetings with clients. Make sure whatever you use it is integrated with whatever calendar you use on a day to day basis to avoid double scheduling or worse, missing a meeting.
A Sales Pitch deck is pretty standard for certain types of selling. Even those who don’t use an actual pitch deck would benefit from considering these slides. This deck is focused on gaining investors in your business. I modified it from one I found on a site I frequent, put my spin on it and popped it up here for you. Stay tuned this week as I explore setting up your sales program. Do you use a pitch deck like this?
I was chatting with a client about finding more people that needed my help and they struck on a good point. I give out great general advice but know much more than is seen on my blog so why not give out a pro tip that I normally wouldn’t give unless you were one of my clients. It sounded like a good idea to me so I put together this infographic on reaching the C-suite. This still isn’t everything I know on the subject but will give a good idea of why you might want me as your business coach. I have been navigating the business world for over a quarter of a century and have run into many of the problems business owners face. Beyond that my list of connections is pretty substantial so if I don’t immediately know the answer to your problems it’s likely I know someone who does. For now, enjoy this pro-level infographic and send me an email or give me a call if you are ready to take the next step to help your business. Jason@jasonmporter.com (435)554-8209
Just……don’t. That’s the short answer. I understand the desire to help but I see the use of charity being used as a sales tool more and more. If you want to help then help but don’t hide behind a charity to try and get more customers. It’s not good for your business and it’s bad for the charity.
In a study conducted in 2011 by marketing professor, Aradna Krishna found that people gave less money in direct donations to charities when they made cause-marketing purchases. “People may mentally assign their cause-marketing expenditure as their charitable giving,” Krishna said. She also found that cause-buying had a tendency to decrease happiness, probably because we realize that buying, say, a $40 necklace, is more self-serving than donating $40 directly.
More and more I see “10% of revenue will go to Charity X” and it is an obviously a ploy to get more clients and be seen as giving back. Studies show customers will switch brands if the brand loyalty isn’t too strong, the price is the same and one is giving to a charity and the other isn’t but those are a lot of variables. The most blatant example I have seen of trying to use charity for a business trying to benefit from charity giving was an MLM. They wanted people to buy their product then they would ship it down to the victims of Hurricane Harvey. That’s not charity, that’s commerce.
If your business wants the goodwill of giving back then do so without stipulations and want for reward. Give time, give money, give supplies but don’t sell. If you want to brand the giving go for it but that really isn’t the point. Ask yourself what the real motivation is behind what you are doing.