Published February 12, 2008

The Four P's: Effective Sales Strategies for Your Small Business

The ability to market products and services will determine the success or failure of an organization. The growth and development of any small business depends on the profits or revenues earned from sales.

To survive in today's competitive business environment, a suitable sales strategy is mandatory. An efficient sales strategy addresses two matters: overcoming intense competition and increasing sales of products and services.

Lack of planning and/or a failure to execute the strategy will lead to an increase in unsold inventory. If this cycle goes on for too long, sales will plummet and bankruptcy is likely to raise its ugly head.

A good sales strategy effectively guarantees the availability of a ready market for the goods and services produced by your company, addresses the demand-and-supply factors, and will keep your small business on an even keel.

Designate a marketing team, either in-house or from a marketing firm. You need to know that an effective sales strategy focuses on the four Ps: production, pricing, placing, and promotion.

Production

Production involves the manufacture of a product. A variety of factors, such as requirements of consumers and market conditions, should be analyzed carefully before your product undergoes production.

A good sales strategy will include a lean budget. You need to keep production costs down, but the quality of your products should always be as high as possible. Customers simply won't buy a product if it is inferior.

Pricing

Pricing involves the determination of the cost at which your products and services should be sold. A successful sales strategy will employ good judgment and perception in determining the price of your products and services.

This procedure involves research - and takes a great deal of planning and consideration. The selling price of your products and services will only result in a profit if it covers all the expenses incurred in its manufacture by a significant margin.

Placing

Product placing means the determination of the location where the product is to be sold.

Promotion

Promotion refers to the tactics involved in marketing. Your small business would do well to follow the following guidelines:

Commitment: Generally, members of a successful marketing team will work long hours. At the same time, they must be alert and relaxed during product presentations, which require a great deal of energy and effort.

The successful, committed marketer will do whatever is necessary to conceal any stress that they may be feeling from clients.

Enthusiasm: Experts believe that for every sale lost due to over-enthusiasm, a company could lose a hundred more if salespeople are not enthusiastic enough.

Respect: Courtesy pays. No small business has ever lost a sale by showing respect for a client. Even if there is no chance of the sale taking being made, showing respect will only benefit your company, no matter what products and services you sell.

Testimonials: Commercials use celebrities to provide testimonials all the time. They do this because people value the opinions of those they respect, and this can be used to increase sales.

It is often not necessary to use celebrities, however, to promote a product. Testimonials from people who have actually bought and used your product and services can be just as effective.

As a small business owner, you have your work cut out for you when it comes to sales. But if you follow the tips above, you'll soon have more customers than you know what to do with!