Not every business owner is a natural born sales person. For some people, selling is only marginally more enjoyable than a root canal. I believe that selling is a skill that can be learned. For the most part though, the people that need to learn it prefer not to do so. They find excuses to do something other than selling. So how can you grow your business without selling? At first glance this seems to defy common sense. But in reality there are several very effective strategies that will allow your business to grow without ever having to make a cold call.
Let’s take a closer look at some proven strategies to grow your sales without selling.
Grow through acquisitions
I recently had the opportunity to attend an event sponsored by the Inc. Business Owners Council (“BOC”). The BOC is a membership organization that provides support for business owners who generate at least $2 million in revenues per year. There I met Rick Haig, owner of Haig Service Corporation, which offers security solutions. Haig offers a perfect example of how you can grow through acquisitions. After careful analysis, he realized that his customer acquisition costs through traditional sales were high. In seeking a more efficient way to grow, he came to the conclusion that buying smaller competitors to capture their customer base would actually reduce his cost of acquiring new customers.
This won’t prove true for every industry. But if companies in your industry are selling at relatively low valuations and if existing customers generate recurring revenues then growth through acquisition could be a very viable strategy.
Grow through distribution networks
I recently wrote about how to establish a distribution network for your business. Distribution networks allow your company to tap into the sales organizations of third parties. These distributors already have relationships with the end users of your product, and they can also bundle your product with value-added services like maintenance, updates and installations. In many cases, distributors will also deal with invoicing and collections, not only eliminating tremendous headaches for you, but also getting rid of the need to cold call at all.
Grow through product extensions
Many companies spend all of their energy trying to prospect new customers, educate them, build trust with them and eventually sell them. This misses the potential of your existing customer base. The smartest sales strategy is to sell more to your existing customers. You don’t have to overcome the trust barrier; they already know you. Building trust is the most expensive and time consuming portion of any sales process. If your product doesn’t lend itself to recurring revenue or additional sales opportunities to existing customers, then it’s worth investing in some research and development to identify ways to sell new products and services to your existing customers.
Grow through price increases
Raising prices may not sound like an attractive way to grow your business, especially during an economic downturn. But it is worth considering especially if you haven’t taken a close look at your pricing strategy in a very long time. Perhaps some of your pricing isn’t as profitable as it could be. Or maybe you are underpricing relative to your competitors. If you are able to extract more revenues out of existing contracts this is a valid way to grow your business.
Sales and business growth are directly related. But selling isn’t the only way to grow. Try one of these additional strategies.