6 Tips to boost sales in a down economy

Everyone I know is having a harder time with product sales these days (yes even me), but I look at it as a challenge as to how to improve sales by coming up with unusual techniques that I never had to think about before.  Sales have always come fairly easy for me as I have always had what I like to call a “Cash Cow” stack of cashproduct.  With my handbag line it was my Pinked Bag that made me stand out in the crowd, and now with Simply Sarah, my patented Handy Hold All® that sets me apart. So I thought I’d share some of the tips I have been using this year to boost my wholesale sales when stores are afraid to buy anything.   Some of these tips can be used for retail internet sales as well so see what works for you.

  1. Trim the fat: Double check all your pricing and see if there is anything you can change to reduce your costs of goods sold (meaning the actual cost of each item you sell).  Perhaps if you sell jewelry you can make silver plate instead of sterling…..if it doesn’t affect the quality or what your customers expect, that could be a great way to lower your prices. This is an exercise in looking at where you can trim the fat so that you can pass on a savings to your customers.
  2. Incentives: Once you know that you have some “room to play” with your pricing, this gives you the opportunity to offer incentives.  I like incentives because the customer is super happy and you don’t loose on your margins (profits) if you’ve got a good COGS.  Incentives could be an instant discount coupon on the first order, maybe 20% off for a few days, a gift with purchase or free shipping……you get the picture right?  Give and get!
  3. Communicate: Some of us (me) hate doing sales calls. But your customers want to hear from YOU.  Don’t just call them with a sales pitch, now is a great time to pursue more of a friendship angle with buyers.  Most of them are hurting and afraid they are going to loose their stores.  They might even just want to have a bitch session about their situation and why they can’t buy from you.  Or they may just want to hear a friendly voice.  Either way, it forms a bond and they will think fondly of you when they have dollars to spend.
  4. Build Trust: Hey, you believe in your product more than anyone right?  If that is the case, consider putting your money where your mouth is and offering a 100% money back guarantee.  I have done this recently and it has opened doors for me that otherwise had been closed.  Put a limit on the return date and hope they sell enough to keep what’s left after the holidays.  Hopefully they will turn into a reliable future customer!
  5. 5. Give Ideas for FREE: If you send regular email newsletters or something to your customers, give them some tips on how to sell your product so they need more! For example, I have done videos to show the different ways you can use your Handy Hold All® and shown them how it’s done.  Sometimes boutique owners are so busy they can’t train their staff to sell as well as you would……so give them some easy tips and tricks to show them how it’s done and they will feel more indebted to sell your line once they “see you”.  It’s not hard to do so give it a try!
  6. 6. Align with complimentary companies: Have you ever thought about selling special “holiday gift package” of one or more of your products along with something from a complimentary company?   I have been doing this with a company called Eco-bags that sells a mesh black cotton bag that when used on the Handy Hold All – it becomes the Handy Hold Everything!  They gave me a great deal on the bags as we give them away and they liked my product so much that they are going to sell it on their website.  They are a very established company so this could be great exposure for me….. and both our customers get a cool idea for storage.  Win win!

I hope you found some, if not all, of these ideas off the beaten path enough to get you to try them out in your business.  As we all know from social media training that building the trust factor is the new key to success.  Everything I have suggested above, I have done this year in my own company and it works.  Get them to know you, like you and trust you……they will continue to buy from you.

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    Written by Sarah Shaw

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