Although this title may generate skepticism, you will see that there are alternatives to grow without diminishing the value of what you sell. There are sustainable options to keep the business healthy and sales growth.
We often resort to price decreases as emergency measures to increase sales. Short-term reactions to stimulate price-sensitive buyers. The problem is that using discounts too much erodes the profitability of the business, in addition to being so widely used by competitors that its effectiveness is less and less.
Lowering the price is not the solution
To pretend that the consumer is mobilized when we offer him an additional discount is to presume that if in normal conditions (usual price) the product does not sell as we want, with a discount people will line up to buy. Not precisely. And we are surprised that the discounts we offer do not generate the demand we expect. Why?
(1) Because there are too many discounts every day and on all products (including our competitors), we lost the ability to surprise ourselves, and
(2) Because if there is no real purchase need, why should you buy it if you do not need it, for cheap? There are other options and other priorities for spending money.
A discount is not a bottom solution. In some cases, it generates additional sales, but are they sustainable actions or are we simply anticipating future sales that would have been made at regular prices? Selling under the pretext of discount is something that sooner or later returns: excess inventory, difficulty in recovering the “normal” price, or worse, loss of perception of value (it did not cost what he said). Do exercise. Look around you. Take a look at the communication that offers you “limited time” discounts. Does it surprise you? Does it take action? Is it the product that you have been waiting for prices to drop for several months?
It is not that it is not possible to compete with a discourse of low prices. The problem is that it has its consequences:
They all offer discounts, so they became “scenery” for customers.
It attracts price, not value, buyers. What comes for a price, goes for the price.
There will always be someone willing to lower it more than you, so it will be a temporary “bonus”.
It will have enormous pressure to stay “cheap,” even as its inputs or operating costs rise.
You will not be able to create wonderful experiences for your clients because you will not have anything to pay for them.
There are options to sell based on value and not just price. There are people willing to pay for better solutions. Not everyone wants to buy cheap. There are other ways to increase sales. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
5 ways to increase sales without lowering the price
Alternatives to grow the business and increase sales without compromising the future, without reducing the value of what you sell and without losing your dignity in the market.
1. Recover Inactive Clients
Reappear on the radar, reestablish contact. Reactivating a client is like that old friend who has always been there, but who never heard from him again due to life circumstances. With a simple call or email, friendship is easily restored.
For customer reactivation to work, it is necessary to have organized the information of the people who have bought from you to know to whom you are going to offer what. The more data you have (date of the last purchase, what you bought, replacement date, etc.), the greater the chances of reactivating them. Options to quickly generate new sales:
Reincorporation Package – Offer a “reincorporation package” to those customers who have not purchased in the last 6, 12 or 24 months. Send them a personalized email with your “We miss you!” Message. Make a follow-up call after three days and remember the benefits of your product/service.
New Collection / Product – Send a letter or email reminding you when you last bought: “Dear Ana, it has been 183 days since we last saw you in our store [putting the exact number of days shows personalization]. We would love to have her again and for that, we have [a new collection/products] that we are sure she will love… ”
Periodic Renewal – Special for products or services that have a certain purchase frequency or renewal date such as oil changes, birthdays, anniversaries, medical check-ups, dental appointments, vacations, children’s parties, costumes, school season, vaccination, preventive maintenance of household appliances, etc. Keep track of simple CRM of each customer’s renewal dates and one or two months before, send a reminder to schedule or order the product/service in advance.
2. Offer proof of your product/service
This would be the equivalent of “Try it without obligation” and applies to both products and services. The principle is that when someone tries or approaches what you offer, they are more likely to buy. The test is not just about tastings in supermarkets. Even for services, there are interesting alternatives to allow rehearsal before deciding.
When a potential customer tests, it not only tests the product or service itself, it tests all the collateral benefits. The punctuality, the presence, the fulfillment of the promises, the packaging, the administrative organization, the clarity of the process, among many other things. So the testing phase is much more than a simple trial, it is experiencing first hand what that client could obtain permanently if they made the decision.
Product Test – These are things like the car test drive, recreating an event room for a household rental company; food tastings; the temporary loan of decorative objects; the garment test in the clothing store; or the point-of-sale demonstration of the pool cleaning robot.
Test for services – These can be things like a free night for a hotel; a diagnostic meeting to sell consulting services; limited trial periods for software; the guitar show open to the public for the music academy; weekly shipping of a sample logo for the graphic design company; the patient question and answer session on a specific procedure for a plastic surgeon; the talk about time management for one; or a video with exercises to do at home during pregnancy for a company prenatal courses.
3. Develop a referral plan
A referral plan is a program previously designed to offer both clients and partner companies the possibility of mutually benefiting in exchange for generating referrals for our business. Despite what you may think, economic incentives are not the most common or the most effective. There are many options to encourage customers and partners to send you referrals.
Customers as a referral source – Lean on your customers to refer you to more customers. When a customer wants to share his experience with the people he appreciates, money is clearly not a motivator. In fact, it can generate rejection feeling “bought” for talking about your business. However, offering additional benefits that can be transferred to the referral, donations to charities or added values in the service will be more responsive. Learn about examples of referral programs applied to a computer store, a mall, a dentist, a business consultant, and an accounting services company, among many others.
Allies as a referral source – A powerful referral source that is commonly overlooked is strategic allies. A strategically is another company that targets the same market as you but is not in direct competition. The big difference is that while a satisfied customer can talk to 3 or 4 friends, a strategically can put him in front of 300 or 400 potential customers. The philosophy is to form a group of companies that complement each other, in order to promote each other in front of their clients. An easy way to identify a good potential ally is to determine what other products or services your customer buys so that you can search for those other companies and establish productive alliances for both parties. See ideas on how to start a strategic alliance that generates more referrals.
4. Sell more to your current customers
This is called cross-selling and means selling additional products or services to those who have already bought from you. Think about it when, after ordering at McDonald’s, you are asked, “Would you like your cheeseburger and bacon (additional)?” or “Would you like ice cream with your order?” That is cross-selling.
Current customers are “the lowest fruit to drink”, as they are the people who have already trusted us, know our products and the benefits of doing business with our company. You can use something as simple as a (professionally designed) poster at the point of sale, or send a letter saying that since you have purchased Product A in the past, you may be interested in Product B; to make a breakfast with clients where in addition to his interesting conference, he reminds them of his portfolio of products and services. You can also send them an email updating their portfolio with an attractive offer, a downloadable online catalog or a video with ideas on how to use the product you have not yet purchased. Even every time you launch a new service or product, Include a strategy to offer it to your current customers and stimulate the purchase through an additional benefit. Let them be the first to know and buy it.
Cross-selling is about offering your customers other products/services in your portfolio. If you have a musical instrument business, remind them that you also teach private guitar lessons. If you have a jewelry store, remind them that they also make special designs on request, different from what they have on display. If you’re an English teacher, remind them that you also offer support for admissions tests at American universities. If you have an executive country hotel, remind them that you also have one-day or half-day express ecotourism plans. If you have a Mexican restaurant, remind them that they also ship at weekends and attend theme parties. If you’re a graphic designer, remind them that in addition to logos, they also work on direct mail pieces and packaging design.
5. Step Up Distribution
Intensifying distribution means being available in more places so that more people can buy from you. The principle is quite simple. The greater the distribution, the greater the exposure to potential customers. The more exposure to potential customers, the greater the probability of selling. The only alternative to intensify distribution is not only to look for more of the current channels it uses (more distributors, representatives, open more points of sale, etc.); but to develop new channels that allow it to reach people whom it is not reaching with the current infrastructure.
Internet sales – This is the most obvious option to increase distribution. Nowadays any business has the possibility of reaching its clients 24 hours a day, seven days a week; and cross the geographical barriers of your own city or country.
Selling through allies – Leveraging third-party outlets to distribute your products or services. In this way and permanently, you can partner with another business to pay a commission for the sale, being displayed in a section of the warehouse.
Sales through franchises – The franchise as a distribution model allows it to expand much faster since it uses third-party resources, which establish and promote a brand under the guidelines of the parent company.
Vehicle sales – The “rolling business” model has been extended to all types of industries, from original food trucks to the sale of women’s shoes and plants. Selling through vehicles has become an interesting alternative to put the business in front of more potential customers.
Sales through vending machines – Although it does not apply to all types of products, vending machines or vending machines are an alternative to increasing the presence in related distribution points. Ideal for small size and impulse buying products, which are a consumer opportunity.
Sales through independent entrepreneurs – This distribution model is based on making the portfolio available to people who act as independent entrepreneurs, who earn a commission for the marketing of third-party products or services. It is used for areas where it is not profitable to have own sellers or for businesses that cannot afford exclusive sellers.
They buy from us because we generate value, not because we are cheap
Selling based on value and not on price, make our client tell us, «I buy from you because I enjoy your product/service; because it’s different; because it offers a wonderful experience; because it does what it promises; because I trust you; because it is not passing; because he strives to do it well; because he stands up when there are problems; because you are interested in long term relationships. I buy it because it generates value, not because it is cheap ».
That’s what this whole issue of having a business and serving the people for whom we have designed is all about. It is about generating value.