It is the beginning of the last quarter of the calendar year, and if sales are down, you know that a burst of revenues before December 31 could be a great way to end 2010. This is the time that many people start planning on 2011 revenues, since it may be too late for those with complex products or services to bring dollars in by year's end - but are there any ideas for sales growth?
1. Definitely focus on existing clients for new services and incremental business. Have you had an annual review with them to determine what their latest issues are, and whether your company can help with that? if you determine a need that you cannot fill, is there a way you can get a referral fee by sending them to one of your trusted referral partners?
2. Speaking of referrals, you might be surprised to know how much some companies make just through referral fees and affiliate programs. First of all, you should have 20-50 strategic partners who you can refer business to - whether for a fee, a percentage of the referred deal, or just to be more valuable to your clients and prospective clients and their point of contact for everything. Start with at least 5-10 companies who help your customer base in ways that you don't. if you are a graphic design firm, find two or three printers to refer business to. Each could have a specialty - and you don't want to be stuck with just one company to refer. Learn about these companies and choose ones you trust - give a trial project or two to see how they do. Then discuss mutual referral fees. Online there are affiliate programs where you might have an ad or two on your homepage that goes to a product or service you wholeheartedly recommend and you let people know about your affiliate relationship.
3. Clarify your offer(s) - what IS it that you package and sell? If services, are they clear, and are you doing enough to get the word out about them? Do your strategic partners understand what you offer, how much it is, how people can engage with you,and what your endorsers say about the value you bring? Get some third-party input on this one - it is easy to mess up on this and not see what others are seeing about your business. Many small businesses have unclear marketing messages, so those that know and trust them want to refer them, but they don't because they are confused. Tackle this one head on before the year is up.
Three ways to grow sales right NOW. If you have another idea, please post it in the comments and you may win delicious Belgian chocolate from MY strategic partner, Totally Chocolate. The person with the most good ideas wins - deadline is October 31st to have your comments posted.