No business can be a success if it doesn’t keep its sales numbers high, and maintaining a winning sales strategy is no easy feat. When it comes to direct sales, whether you’re operating from a brick-and-mortar location or selling your goods door to door, finding ways to attract and retain customers is crucial.
While showcasing a friendly and professional attitude is a good start, savvy business owners also use tried-and-true direct sales strategies to get their physical goods into the hands of customers. Here are five strategies for achieving direct sales success.
1. Give Free Samples
Startups and small businesses rarely have the funds for financing large marketing endeavors, so convincing customers to pay for products they haven’t yet tried—or even heard of—can be tough. An effective strategy for direct sales success is to provide free samples, allowing customers—whether they’re retail or wholesale—to try a product or service before they buy it.
Not only do you have the opportunity to turn these shoppers into long-term clients, but you can also benefit from word-of-mouth referrals if the trial period was a success. Additionally, offering free samples enables you to collect feedback, identifying possible issues earlier on in the product life cycle.
2. Utilize Email Marketing
While the days of door-to-door sales aren’t entirely behind us, today’s businesses are increasingly leveraging the internet for their direct-sales needs. And though email marketing offers a number of benefits, including greater reach and affordability, companies need to be aware of the best practices when employing this sales strategy.
When contacting customers and potential customers via email, be sure to avoid using automated marketing programs. Additionally, smart sellers keep their email pitches short. Limit your first message to a few sentences during which you encourage the recipient to contact you by phone. The goal is to begin the process of building trust rather than try to sell someone during the first interaction.
3. Engage on Social Media
Social media is great for keeping in touch with friends, but it’s also a great tool for businesses looking to engage in direct sales. With social media, companies can create fan pages and garner feedback from their customers. Additionally, they can promote special events and sales.
As an added bonus, social media enables businesses to keep in close contact with members of their sales teams. Send employees a quick reminder about an upcoming product promotion or encourage teammates to brainstorm their ideas for increasing sales.
If you want to be successful with your social media sales, it’s important to choose the right platform. For example, Pinterest may be the ideal place for a product-based business to showcase their goods. Both service- and product-based businesses can use Twitter to post spur-of-the-moment updates and advertisements that are likely to be read—and acted upon—quickly.
4. Cross-Promote Your Goods and/or Services
Convincing a client to try your products or services for the first time is rarely easy. If you want to succeed in the direct sales game, you may want to increase your focus on cross-promotion. After all, customers who already use and appreciate one of your products are typically far more likely to try another. Don’t be afraid to advertise different products to your existing clientele. If your budget can sustain it, consider providing customers with discounts to incentivize them to buy.
Additionally, business may try cross-promoting their wares with other companies in their region. As part of your overall direct sales strategy, strive to build relationships with other sellers in the community. You may be able to cut costs by sharing ad space, or expand both of your client lists by handing out fliers and coupons.
5. Offer Extras
To succeed in direct sales, businesses need to find ways to attract customers and retain them for the long haul. One of the best ways of garnering customer loyalty is by offering something extra. Extras can be value-added services, sponsorships that raise your business’ profile or even contributions to local charities.
Try sponsoring a local youth sports team, or providing free gift wrapping services in your store or online. What some call “the little things” can make a big difference, as they help ensure that your company stands out and leaves the right impression in customers’ minds.
Whether you’re just launching a startup or celebrating a decade in business, finding and securing customers is a crucial part of your job. Whatever direct sales strategy you employ, it’s important to make every customer feel like a valued member of the company’s family. The goal is to turn one-time customers into permanent and loyal clients while encouraging them to recommend your services to friends and family.
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