Use a sales and marketing strategy to get the very best results from the discounts, special offers, and sales tools you use to attract new customers.
Many sales organisations make the mistake of using new customer offers and discounts as stand-alone incentives to entice prospects to make their first purchase or sign up for a service.
When you have a sales plan for these offers and discounts you use them in a sequence.
All your actions are timed to have maximum effect.
You will multiply the numbers of prospects that you convert to paying customers.
You could offer a free trial of a service to a prospect.
Your aim is to get them to sign up as a paying customer at the end of the trial.
What actions do you then take during the trial to help win the sale?
When you’ve given a first time buyer a price discount what do you do to get the second order at the full price.
An important point to remember is: If there is an opportunity to close take it, don’t think you have to compete your strategy first.
Here are some thoughts, ideas, and suggestions...
The aim of any new customer offer or discount is to make the move from prospect to customer as small as possible, and to motivate prospects to make that move.
When used on their own offers and discounts will motivate some prospects to become customers.
A free trial makes the distance between being a prospect and becoming a paying service user a lot smaller. A price discount encourages a first step towards becoming a regular customer.
Put the two together in sequence and you twice reduce the sales prospect’s view of the distance to move.
This multiplies the benefits to you and the number of potential customers you convert.
That could be just a start if you expand the sales technique, the sequence can be as long as appropriate for your market.
You have probably seen the marketing campaigns of some charities where they ask you to donate a very small amount, to a worthwhile cause, sometimes as low as few pounds or dollars per week or month.
While a lot of people donating a small amount on a regular basis will go towards the funding of the cause of the charity that’s not the real reason that they use this marketing strategy. The real reason is that once you start to make small donations on a regular basis it is only a small step to donate larger amounts.
They show you what a big difference your small commitment will make using great sales copy and images and many people agree to this small step.
Once this small commitment is made there is a sales strategy to get the donator to take another step and give a little bit more. This can be phone calls asking for donation to a specific incident or emergency, or a questionnaire that asks what you are concerned about so they know how to target you.
This small step sales and marketing strategy works, whether you are seeking donations to a good cause, selling services to B2B customers, working in retail sales, telesales, or you sell direct sales to the public in their own home.
Start your strategy with a special offer, an incentive for the prospect to move forward a step.
The first incentive that you use should be a real attention grabber, a free trial, invitation to a demonstration, test drive, or some similar opportunity that requires just a small amount of commitment from the prospect.
Once the prospect has taken the first step, for example agreed to a free trial of your services, or to a small purchase at a reduced price, what will be the next incentive to get them to become a full paying customer?
For prospects that had the free trial it could be a reduced price for the first 6 months of the service.
It could be a contract for a shorter period than usual while they further assess the service you provide.
For customers that have purchased at a reduced price you want another purchase at a higher price but you may be able to offer another type of benefit as a small step towards this goal.
An example could be an order below the usual minimum order value, or with some additional benefit on the transport or postage.
Once you have decided on the incentives and offers you will use the next step is to add your sales action plan.
Your Prospect has agreed to your first offer of an incentive, which could be a free trial, discounted purchase, or some other big motivator that moves them a small step nearer to becoming a customer.
How will you put your sales and marketing strategy into action?
Now you need to create an action plan of what you are going to do, and when you are going to take the actions, to get the prospect to move forward to the next stage of your strategy.
You know what the next step is, it is the next incentive offer that you want them to agree to accept, the action plan is how you guide and influence them to accept it.
For prospects that accepted your offer of a free trial of a service, and you now want them to accept a reduced price or a short term contract, you next actions could be contacting them for feedback on the service, asking for ways to improve the service for them, going in to fulfil the service with whoever does that within your company and meeting the key people on the ground.
Decide on the action you will take and when you will take it, which is likely to be towards the end of the trial.
The prospects that purchased at a reduced price, that you want another order from at a higher rate, your actions could be asking for feedback, discussing benefits and value of the products you supplied, and getting an idea of when they will be ready to order again.
Again decide on timing of the action. After how long will you phone for feedback or to arrange a visit.
For both the above examples you might also want to consider actions that will encourage reciprocity from your prospects. If you’re not sure how this great sales technique works have a look at Reciprocity in Action.
While creating your sales and marketing strategy, and your action plans, remember that each incentive you offer gives you an opportunity to try to close the sale. Use a trial close at each stage and if it doesn’t work carry on with the plan. If you want sales training on closing sales take a look at How to Close a sale...
You don’t need to be a small business owner, or a director of a large organisation to use this strategy.
If you are selling a product or service and you are able to make special offers, give something as an incentive to gain customers, arrange free trials, or you can have some flexibility on price, then you can use the above action plan and grow your customer base.
The techniques can be used by sales representatives that have incentives they can use. It can be done by individuals or built into the company sales and marketing strategy.
The techniques here can be used as a quick sales action to win new small customers, or as a longer process to acquire the big prospects in your market place.
However you use it think of the process as a way of moving prospects to become customers in short planned steps that gradually close the sale.
The first part of this process requires you to contact the prospect and for that you need a really good reason for calling them. Your reason for wanting to make an appointment with them can be linked with the strategy you have seen here and can be the first incentive offer in your plan. To get step by step instruction on how to do that see Appointment Call Introduction...