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Six ways to make more sales in 2013

More sales in 2013Some no-cost and low-cost ways to make more sales using methods you might not yet have considered

1 Sell via online marketplaces

These are popular e-commerce websites through which you might be able to make some welcome additional sales on sites that attract far more visitors than your own website. Popular examples include eBay and Amazon, but there are many others. Some online marketplaces are business to business, but most are business to consumer. They might offer you the perfect channel to make more sales or even a way to raise cash from stock you’ve struggled to sell. Typically, online marketplaces charge a listing or transaction fee (or both), but that can be a price well worth paying.

>> Find out more about selling on eBay and Amazon.

2 Strike up affiliate deals

Why not team up with another business whose products or services complement yours and agree to promote each other’s products/services? So, if, for example, you run a pet-grooming business, you could come to an affiliate deal with a nearby dog-walking business or pet shop. Or if you run a mobile nail business you could agree an affiliate deal with a mobile hairdresser. The best deals generate sales for both parties, of course, but even if incentives are part of the arrangement, the extra sales generated can make them worthwhile.

>> Learn more about affiliate marketing deals.

3 Focus on your existing customers

Are you maximising your returns from your existing punters? Remember, the costs associated with selling to existing customers are usually significantly lower than attracting and selling to new ones – and it usually takes much less effort. And often your customers can be the best advocates for your business, and ‘word-of-mouth’ is the most effective form of advertising ­– so why not ask them to spread the word? If necessary, offer them a reward, such as a discount or gift, if they introduce a new customer to your business.

>> Find out more about selling to existing customers.

4 Make better use of social media

Still not convinced about the potential of Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other social media sites to help your business make more sales? You could be missing a trick, because such sites enable businesses of all sizes to stay closer to their customers and potential customers. Although blatant advertising isn’t advised on such sites, getting customers to know, like and trust your brand can be an effective way to make sure they buy from you.

>> Learn how to use social media to attract consumers.

5 Introduce new products

Sounds obvious, right? But one of the key reasons why many businesses are faced with stagnating or declining sales is because they fail to keep their products or service fresh, they fall into the trap of offering the same products year in, year out. Sometimes this comes from a reluctance to change or try something new, but in business, solution is evolution, which means successful businesses aren’t afraid to try new things. Even if you don’t want to introduce new products, you should always be looking for ways to improve things you already sell.

>> Find out more about developing new products.

6 Add a ‘tail’ to your sale

Budget airlines are skilled users of the ‘tail on sale’ tactic. For example, you book your flight online and before you check out you might be offered car parking, travel insurance, vehicle hire, hotel accommodation, etc. Another example might be a shoe shop that offers cleaning products as sales are being rung through tills. Look at your products/services and consider whether you could offer such extras. It could be something the customer buys and takes away there and then or a service you supply at a later date. Focus on your customers’ likely needs.

>> Get more advice about developing a sales strategy.