By James Helliwell

As an entrepreneur, one of the biggest challenges you will face is finding novel ways to make your product stand out against hundreds of alternatives while generating sales in the market. If you floundered with this objective last year, 2018 presents a fresh break to make new waves. The first thing to do is revisit your overall marketing strategy; identify new prospects and personalize your message to appeal directly to them.

Finding a new market for your product or service is a critical part of the sales process. Do you have a wonderful product that is “silent” in the market? Not sure how to push it to your prospects? Use any of these fresh, fabulous ideas to boost sales this year.

1. Focus On the Benefits

A common mistake many marketers make is to sell a product’s features. The main reason people buy things is for the benefits. Features such as color or aerodynamic designs are only secondary. When wording the copy of your product description, let them know how your product or service makes their lives easier. Identify your ideal customer and make a list of benefits they stand to gain from using your product.

2. Define Your Customers Clearly

It is difficult to position your product or craft a great sales strategy if you don’t know your prospects. Achieve this by creating a robust buyer persona instead of generalizing the typical buyer with age, sex, profession and so on. Know who they are by adopting a loyalty program that retrieves information such as their profile, purchase habits, preferences and more. This will open doors for more targeted marketing.

3. Create a Proper Sales Budget

Sales should be a major department in any product-led business. Unfortunately, many companies still allocate a skimpy budget for its activities. As cliché as it may sound, in business, you cannot make money if you don’t spend it. If your business is short on funds, there are financial institutions that offer short-term business loans for entrepreneurs with a great business plan. A sound bridging finance and a killer strategy can produce significant winnings in sales.

4. Identify Your Prospect’s Problem

This stems from knowing who your potential customers are, for it is only when you truly know them that you can identify their pain points. A major part of business is finding solutions to people’s problems; this should be the bedrock of your sales offerings. Sometimes, a quick market research is enough. Or, to keep it cost-effective, just ask. A simple survey or poll on your website could produce amazing insights.

5. Develop Your Competitive Edge

What makes you different? There are probably many other businesses that offer the same product or service. It is important for your customers to see the advantage in you. Your unique selling proposition (USP) is the defining factor of your operations. Ensure you develop it consistently to stand out in your niche. Start by downloading this USP template that will help you create yours.

Apple’s USP is their leading technology. Through the years, they have spent time, money and research to maintain that status.

6. Use Social Media and Content Marketing

It is 2018; digital marketing will take many businesses beyond their objectives this year. You could be one of them if you take advantage of the opportunities in social media and content marketing.

Social media is not only an engagement platform, but a potential sales network. More websites are generating leads through growing social media followership. Likewise, a great content strategy can build your business as an authority and influence product sales.

7. Practice Cold Calling

Some marketers think cold calling is a thing of the past, particularly in the age of the internet. Far from it, you can use this strategy to warm up a potential customer ahead of meeting them. Many sales have closed successfully through well-timed cold calls.

8. Use the Right Price Tag

How commensurate is your pricing with the value of the product? If you have an expensive product, be prepared to over-deliver on quality. Pricing alone is a separate sales strategy, but it can win or lose you a potential customer. Conduct a market research to see how much your competitors are offering. Then compute a suitable price.

9. Improve Your Negotiating Skills

The sales process is a lot more than presenting an awesome product. Some customers like to wheel and deal, and will often drive a hard bargain. Good selling is the ability to make a compromise without jeopardizing your business. Meet your customers half-way, so they can do the same.

10. Give Away Something Valuable

We all love freebies. Retaining existing customers is more cost-effective than winning new ones, and one way to achieve this is by offering loyalty rewards. When you give freebies, make sure it is something your customers will appreciate. Free tickets to a movie, gift vouchers or valuable white papers are good examples of loyalty rewards. A satisfied customer is likely to share their experience with family and friends. The power of positive word of mouth cannot be underestimated.

Are you planning to close major sales this year? Try any of these strategies and you will be pleased with the results.