For many entrepreneurs, sales can be the most dreadful part of operating their business. When small business owners struggle with sales it can often be attributed to lack of a sales strategy.
Here's how you can create an effective sales strategy for your small business:
Step #1: Assess Your Business
Start by taking a look at where you're at with your business. A good way to do this is through a SWOT analysis, where you write out your strengths and weaknesses, as well as the opportunities and threats facing your small business. Take into account the business landscape you exist in, what you do well, who your competition is and your business goals. Make sure you incorporate your current sales budget and the amount of time you have to devote to sales. Also look at what you've already sold and what methods you used to make those sales.
Step #2: Set Sales Goals
Now that you have a clear assessment of where you're at, you can set realistic goals to get you where you want to go. Make sure your goals are specific and concrete, such as selling 50 units by the end of the year, earning three new clients by the end of the month or increasing sales by $20,000 in the next six months. As you achieve each goal, you'll re-assess your business and set new goals.
Step #3: Create a Customer Profile
Write out a description of your typical customer and fill in all possible details about them, including age, gender, education level, occupation, income and geographical location. What are their likes and dislikes? What's important to them? What do they do for fun? Where do they get their information? What benefits does your product offer them and how are they likely to find out about it?
Step #4: Select Your Tactics
Once you have a clear understanding of your customers and their habits, you can decide the best way to market to them. Take into account your sales budget and available time. Possible tactics run the gamut from traditional methods such as print advertising, radio or TV commercials, sales letters, presentations and phone calls to online methods such as social media, email blasts, website offers and banner advertisements. It is important to select tactics, or a combination of tactics, that you are comfortable with. Don't force yourself to participate in a sales method you don't enjoy or you won't do it well and you likely won't stick with it.
Step #4: Make a Plan of Attack
Put the sales tactics you have selected into a calendar. You may want to combine this part of your sales strategy into the master calendar you use to manage your ongoing projects. Make sure you are creating a healthy balance between marketing your business and your other business operations. Examples of how to calendar your sales routine include setting aside four hours every Monday afternoon to make sales calls, sending sales letters with your business card the first day of every month, changing your newspaper advertisement every six months or updating your social media accounts with new posts at 10 a.m. every morning.
Step #5: Evaluate the Results
Make sure to frequently measure your results against the goals you've set. What worked? What didn't? Learn from the experience and make changes as necessary. Your small business sales strategy is an evolving document that will change as your business grows.
Are you a San Diego entrepreneur or business owner looking to take your business to the next level? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to see how my marketing writing expertise can help.
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