5 Tips to Sell More Merch in 2019

2018 is over, bring on the new year! This article will give you five tips on how to sell more merchandise in 2019.

On a personal level you may be jotting down some ideas for new year’s resolutions, in business we need more than a wish list. When it all comes down to it, this time next year we’d like you to be laughing hysterically at the outstanding year 2019 came to be.

It all starts with these:

Tip #1 – Set Action Goals and Use a Calendar

That doesn’t seem so difficult does it? Well, from my perspective I talk to a lot of shops and they do a great job at setting goals. Getting them handled is another story.

My advice is always the same. Use a calendar and set some deadlines. 

What works best is to break things out into smaller chunks and have each assigned to a person with a deadline attached to it.

For example, you could say that you want to create six more InkSoft stores per quarter. Great goal!

What’s the first step? Six stores may equal two per month for the quarter. That comes out to one about every two weeks.

So in two-week cycles, can you find a potential customer, set up a meeting, make a store presentation, and then close the deal? All of those can be targeted with dates on a calendar. 

If you find you need to make more presentations to hit your one per two-week deadline, then you need to spend more time with your lead generation to find qualified potential customers.

When you think about things that way they don’t seem so daunting. Don’t get overwhelmed by looking at things from the big picture perspective.

Think smaller. When you put smaller goals together, they form the route to the success that you wish to achieve.

Tip #2 – Know Your Customer

There isn’t enough time in the day to sell to everyone. And, I’m sorry to report, not everyone wants to be your customer.

Instead, you need to identify who your best potential customer might be?

If you’ve been in business for any length of time, take a hard look at your sales history. Using the 80/20 rule, we know that the top 20% of your customer base gives you about 80% of your revenue.

Who are those people? When do they buy? What do they buy? Why are they spending money with you? What pain points are you solving for them?

Write that out on a pad of paper. Take a look at what you see. Any similarities or things that stand out?

What you might find is the path to your ideal customer. I wish I could describe that to you here, but it’s up to you to do the research.

Once you have that notion, take a look outward. Where are these customers in your area? Maybe yo know them personally? Do they belong to an association or organization that you can target easily? Where are they on social media?

What you want to do is to build what’s called a “Brand Persona” of the typical customer. This will help you build a marketing plan and lead generation funnel, as you will be able to describe them better.

Tip #3 – Use Data

They say you can’t manage what you don’t measure, and sales is one thing you should be constantly digging into. 

Are you keeping track of things with any sort of data analysis? 

You should.

For example, can you describe your typical sales cycle? From first contact with a potential customer until they buy from you, what’s describe that length of time or journey. 

A good way to think about the sales cycle is to apply the theory of Know, Like, Trust, Buy to the equation. 

A potential customer has to know who you are. That’s the Know.

Then, they have to Like what you are doing and think that your company is in alignment with their needs.

After that, it’s all about building Trust. Do they think you can do a good job for them?

Once you have those three handled, when the time is right they are more apt to Buy from you than your competition.

But this doesn’t just instantly happen. Keeping track of these points as you progress your potential customer through the sales cycle helps you understand what’s cooking in your sales pipeline.

Want more business two or three months from now? How many new potential customers are you starting off with the Know or Like part of that cycle? This can be measured by views on your webpage or sign-ups to your newsletter or for more information requests.

Trust can be quantified by how many questions you are being asked or quotes you are sending. 

Of course, your Buy numbers are your conversion rates and total sales. When you have more people in the hopper for the first three, you’ll have more sales when you need it.

Tip #4 – Be Action Oriented

Do things now. There is no waiting.

In sales, the best time to call is always five minutes ago. “I’ll start that new program tomorrow” or “I need to work up a flyer to send.”

If you have done the work identifying your customer base, the best time to reach out will always be immediately. You need to get them going into that sales cycle.

Customer acquisition is one of the hardest parts of any business, but it can’t be delayed until the time is right. I was speaking with a shop owner the other day and he was complaining about his poor sales for December. “We just didn’t hit our sales goals like last year”, he said.

I asked him about his planning and lead generation that should have started in September and October. “Well, we waited too late to construct anything and didn’t really get off the ground until after Thanksgiving.”

That was reflected in their December totals.

So pushing him a little bit I asked, “So what are you doing right now for January and February sales”?

He said, “Once we get back from the holidays, we’ll start working out a plan.”

That’s when I had him take a look at a calendar. “So, if you wait until after the holidays to do anything, then it really looks like it will be the second or third week of January before you’ll start seeing people and getting set up for 2019.”

Which means that the results of that effort probably won’t show up until late January or early February. The action mindset will deliver more results. 

What did you do today? Did it beat yesterday? How are you going to improve for tomorrow?

Are you devising a plan for a killer first quarter now? Or are you waiting around to January to get started?

Tip #5 – Less Friction

Every hoop you make your customers jump through has an effect on your sales. The easier you make it so they do the right thing, the better.

On your website is there a clear call to action? Do people have to scroll down or click through to another page to see something?

Do you make it easy to take my money?

People want simple.

Use less words. Nobody reads all that stuff. Use bullet points and write like a caveman.

Make things obvious.

Take a hard look at your sales process. How easy do you make things? When you meet with a potential customer do you allow them to leaf through one of the inch and a half thick catalogs to choose what they want?

What if you built a flyer with good, better, best options already defined? Start with “Here’s what sells best.” Remember, you are the expert.

Define 2019 Now

Take a good look at last year. In each month, what happened? Good or bad, those were your results.

Decide now what you are going to do to improve.

Use the SMART goal format and create realistic goals that are tied to your calendar with due dates. Assign responsibilities and delegate tasks. Tie those to a calendar too.

Better success is yours for the taking, but you are going to have to work for it. Relying on luck only gets you so far.

“Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude.”

– Zig Ziglar

“Be grateful for what you have and stop complaining. It bores everybody else, does you no good, and doesn’t solve any problems.”

– Zig Ziglar

“There are no traffic jams on the extra mile.”

– Zig Ziglar