To get sales in any business, one of the first things you must know is your audience, aka your target market. And you can use psychology for that. Psychology has been studying the buyer’s brain for decades to understand what makes it tick. What scientists have discovered is that although people behave sometimes irrationally, their brains follow specific rules.
Business owners can use this knowledge to design more effective strategies to boost sales and increase customer satisfaction.
If you want to know how to get sales in your business, take a look at these 10 ways you can use to get more sales in your business.
1. Don’t offer too many alternatives
People think they like choice – but too many options can be paralyzing. This is what scientists call the paradox of choice:
In a popular study, Iyengar and Lepper (2000) set up two tables in a grocery store. At table A, customers could have a taste from a selection of six jams; at table B, they could choose among 24 different jams. Although more people stopped by table B, where the selection was larger, only 3% of them actually made a purchase. On the other hand, 31% of people stopping at table A left with a jar of jam.
The lesson, for business owners, is simple: limit the flavours, colour and brand options you offer. You may end up selling less if you have too much product variety.
2. Distract and confuse shoppers
When people get interrupted during shopping they lose focus and become less price-sensitive, studies show. To answer your question “how to get sales?”, you can distract shoppers in-store with vocal pop-up ads, digital signage, images, and by asking them “Can I help you?”. When people return to look at products after a distraction, they are more likely to buy and spend more. For the same reason, supermarkets and malls often have counter-intuitive store plans – they are specifically designed to confuse shoppers, as that supports sales.
3. Have a loyalty program
Loyalty programs are a great tool for business: they provide important insights into customer preferences, increase loyalty – and, according to studies, they also make customers feel happier in your store.
In their 2006 study, Kivets, Urminsky and Zheng found that customers with a rewards card for a coffee shop smiled more while shopping, chatted longer with coffee shop employees, said “thank you” and left a tip more often than customers who were not part of the program.
4. Personalize your service
When stuff is relevant to people, they pay more attention to it. This happens primarily when we hear our name (a magic word which activates various sections of our brain), but also when we hear something we are interested in – be it a sport we are interested in, our favorite band or the name of a country we have recently visited.
Businesses can use their loyalty program to gain intelligence around customers’ actions, used the data to optimize and personalize communications, products and offers. And don’t forget to use people’s names!
5. Connect With the Customer
Excellent customer service is the key to increasing sales. Listen to your customer to understand their needs and wants. Then educate him/her about the products. Finally, let the customer know you appreciate their business. Offer value-added services and products. Create a mailing list by asking for contact information from each customer. Remember, the customer is looking for an experience and not just a product.
6. Be Social
The easiest, most cost-effective thing you can do is social media. Make sure that you have a steady stream of activity online. Customers who see a flurry of activity from you and then periods of silence know you are only online because sales are down. Use social media to position yourself as the place to shop and buy.
7. Spy your competitors
Analyzing your competitors’ strategies isn’t just an option. It is a necessary part of your growth strategy. The more you find out about your business and your competitors, the more you learn, adapt, and ultimately flourish. Moreover, by understanding your oopponent’s strategies you better position yourself over them, you could identify their missed opportunities and take action based on that.
8. Use online advertisement
Just when you may think it’s time to cut back the marketing dollars, you should probably be advertising more. It is wise to increase marketing efforts during slower sales periods because there is more competition and fewer consumer dollars. Newspaper ads, and magazines used to be very effective, but not anymore. Nowadays, online advertising is one of the most effective ways for businesses of all sizes to expand their reach, find new customers, and diversify their revenue streams.
With so many options available – from PPC and paid social to online display advertising and in-app ads – online advertising is the way to go as it will definitely help you on how to get sales. If you want to reach more people through paid ads, we recommend use Facebook as a main platform.
9. Create the illusion of scarcity
People value things differently depending on how common or scarce they perceive them to be. The rarer a product, service or opportunity, the more valuable it appears. Martin Lindstrom,the author of “Buyology: Truth and lies about why we buy,” found that he could increase the sales of canned soup simply by adding the sentence “maximum 8 cans of soup per customer”. People bought more cans even if the soup was priced the same as the day before. The feeling of scarcity —the Millennials’ “fear of missing out”— triggers in shoppers a survival instinct that makes them buy more, quickly.
10. Give free samples
When people receive something for free, they feel special, and want to reciprocate the favor.
In his book “Influence: The psychology of persuasion”, Dr. Robert Cialdini reports how one waiter increased his tips by 3% offering diners a mint after dinner. When he offered two mints, tips went up 14%. By giving shoppers a small freebie – be it a cookie or a sticker – you can increase the chances they will buy from you.
BONUS: How to get sales by offering surprise rewards
Surprise rewards are great: they make people happier and more motivated. On the other hand, expected rewards are not as effective – they may even lead to lower levels of happiness, according to this article.
Do you want to make your customers happy? Send them surprise coupons or deals. Avoid, though, running repeated promotions, such as offers valid every Tuesday. You can print coupons or use email marketing for this.
Once you know how your audience thinks, what makes them tick, you can adjust your strategy to become more effective and boost sales. Make sure that you use the right approach for your industry and target market, and that you always combine these strategies with the most effective weapon of all: an amazing customer service.