By David Koch
Small business success is built around maximizing sales… it’s that simple.
Achieve strong sales and cash flow problems magically disappear, your banker becomes your best friend and staff can feel the success.
There are plenty of boring business books on how to build sales, but the tips that resonate with me are practical real-life examples. I come across hundreds of great small business owners every year. They are inspiring and have given me some great, and effective, sales tips.
Whether it's the way they engage with their customers on social media, develop their personal brand or forge a connection with their clientele, here are seven smart sales ideas that have paid off in spades for these savvy business owners.
Don't Take No for An Answer
Marketing guru, Justin Herald had his first taste of success way back in 1995 when he launched his clothing brand with just $50 in his pocket. Justin's clothing line specialised in t-shirts emblazoned with quirky slogans and funny quotes. His target was the surf-skate market. While the products were perfectly suited to the market, as a newcomer, Justin was having trouble getting his gear stocked in surf stores.
In classic Justin fashion, he'd pay a personal visit to a surf store to see if they would stock the range. For those who didn't buy, he'd organise mates to ring or visit the store as a potential customer and ask whether they stocked his product. Two weeks later he’d revisit the store and invariably the owner would say 'gee I've had a few enquiries I'd better stock it'.
Real stories resonate
There's no doubt the fitness arena is a crowded market place, but that hasn't prevented Kayla Itsines from making it big. The 26-year-old Adelaide-born entrepreneur has 10 million followers on Instagram and has embraced the power of personal stories to share her health and wellbeing messages. While her Sweat With Kayla app is hugely popular, it is those millions of followers sharing their own fitness milestones on Kayla's feed that has really helped her crack the big time.
Part of her sales tactic is celebrating the success of her customers… and it works big time for her.
The Power of Good
Customers are moved by your values. They want to know what you stand for and want to be proud of it. It is a powerful way to engage customers and build sales.
Trying to end the world water crisis is a pretty lofty ambition for a small business, but that's exactly what the Thankyou Group planned in 2008. Initially met with scepticism, MD Daniel Flynn's notion that you could buy bottled water and the profits would also change the world for good has resonated with consumers. 55 products later and the Thankyou Group has expanded its quest to include baby products, skincare and food. The profits go to digging water wells, improving hygiene and helping births in Third World countries.
Make it Special
Husband and wife team Dean Jones and Audrey Khaing-Jones have rewritten the fashion rule book with their high-end hire service, GlamCorner. GlamCorner supplies fashionistas around the country with fabulous clothes for rent at a fraction of the price. As a purely online business, Audrey and Dean understood keeping their brand alive offline was incredibly important. With this in mind, they've paid huge attention to detail when it comes to the unboxing experience. Just Google 'Glamcorner Unboxing' and you'll see the real world impact this simple branding solution had on their business. Packaging as a sales tool.
Leverage your personal brand
When former Olympian Michael Klim decided to launch his skincare brand, Milk & Co, Klim had very little influence in the cosmetic space. But what he did have was a huge profile, thanks to his gold medal-winning antics in the pool. Klim understood that the beauty market is a crowded space. In order to make an impact as a newcomer, he leveraged his personal brand to help launch Milk & Co.
Exploit a gap in the market
After struggling to find a compendium she liked that she could afford, monogram mogul Alyce Tran, left behind her career as a lawyer to start her business, the Daily Edited. Initially setup as a side hustle, Tran was soon making enough sales to leave her day job behind. In the space of a few years, Tran has grown her business from three products to a line of over 300 that is stocked in retail stores around Australia. Tran credits her success to filling a need in the market and the power of Instagram which let her showcase her products without the advertising costs.
Put the community first
Never underestimate the power of a community initiative. Spartan Sports is a 4th generation sporting goods company with a legacy of creating great bats and balls for the cricketing industry. Their handstitched handcrafted products are renowned. The company gave away $1million dollars’ worth of equipment to schools and clubs that are struggling and garnered loads of publicity and goodwill in the process. While small business is unlikely to have the bottom-line to donate this volume of product, getting some backing from a community initiative has the potential to reap dividends for your business and brand.
While every business is different and therefore requires sales strategies to be tailored around their individual needs, the key is to always keep your ear on the ground and leverage all the opportunities available to you.
The author has no affiliations or commercial ties with the businesses mentioned in this article. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and may not reflect the view of Rest. Examples chosen for this article were selected solely by the author and are not intended to represent any endorsement by Rest of the products or services referred to. No representation is made as to the accuracy of completeness of the information in this article. It is the reader’s responsibility to verify the information.