Over the past two months, I shared the first two ways of increasing sales:
- Get more sales from existing clients by marketing to them. This can come from calling, e-mailing, mailing and upselling. Do you have systems for all four of those strategies?
- Get more clients. The best way is through referrals. Do you have a system for that? Or, are you spending money attracting strangers?
The third way is Increase Price. This is a powerful way to increase sales, but probably the last one that small business owners think of. In fact, you only think of it briefly, because after all, “With the economy being what it is….” I hope to change your mind on this, because when you increase your price without losing too much in sales volume, your top line increases. If you raise your price 20 percent and lose 20 percent of your sales volume, you are still making more profit. If you raise your price 50 percent and lose 50 percent of your sales volume, you are still making more profit.
By positioning yourself and your company differently—by creating a different message—you will be able to continually raise your price. The beauty is that you probably won’t lose any sales volume! If you do lose clients, it’ll be the unprofitable ones you don’t want anyway. And if you do this right, you’ll quickly replace them with clients who are willing to pay a higher price because you will have developed a compelling experience they want to have.
Speaking of experience, I came across a term some years ago that explained what I was already doing in my marketing, and explained how I was able to get the highest prices. The term “experiential marketing” is sort of an unusual, obscure term, but is key to getting the highest prices for your service. In his book Experiential Marketing, Bernd H. Schmitt states:
Today, customers take functional features and benefits, product quality, and a positive brand image as a given. What they want is products, communications, and marketing campaigns that dazzle their senses, touch their hearts and stimulate their minds. They want products communications and campaigns that they can relate to and that they can incorporate into their lifestyles. The want products, communications, and marketing campaigns to deliver an experience…
Notice that it says to deliver an experience in the marketing campaign. Hopefully all of us know that we must create the most unique and powerful experience when we actually serve our clients. But what this is saying is that it is created in the marketing campaign. Interesting.
The quote goes on to say:
The degree to which a company is able to deliver a desirable customer experience (in the marketing) and to use information technology, brands, and integrated communications and entertainment to do so, will largely determine its success in the global marketplace of the new millennium.
You may not be concerned about the “global marketplace” in your industry, but the degree to which we understand and implement this concept determines the degree of success we will have in getting higher prices.
What is the marketing message of most business owners? How do aver- age, everyday businesses advertise their services? If your industry is like most, you will find that the message is either about price or about how they do their work. If you sell a product, it’s all about the features of the product.
Let’s deal with price advertising first. Price advertising comes in many different ways. The most common type of price advertising is placing an ad that offers a low price. But that’s not the only type of price advertising. The way that you carry yourself as the business owner is a reflection of the value of your service experience.
How you dress, what your company materials look like, what your office looks like, how you answer your telephone, etc. You see, you will take up a position in the marketplace, just by existing. The question is whether you will take up the position that you want or not. You have to design and create your position, rather than letting it happen by accident.