We often find our businesses getting stagnant and are obligated to look for new ways to increase revenue. What worked yesterday may not work today so it may be time to reinvent ourselves – again. Very seldom do we have a “game changer” arrive that opens the doors up and unleashes the business opportunities. You cannot sit and wait for that to happen. You need to be proactive. It may be challenging but it is also beneficial because to your customer it can be seen as fresh and even different. If you shift things around a little bit, the perception from your customer may be that this isn’t just the same ol’ same ol’ – it’s something new. Below are some very basic ideas that you can try out to increase your sales and revenue. Depending on your business model, some of these may work much better than others.
Adding complimentary services allows you to add value to your existing products which in turn may help you gain new clients, as well as maintain existing ones. You now offer something that the customer may not get online or from the store down the street. Your same product is now simply more enticing to them because of the added benefits. You need to put more emphasis on what you and your staff can do for your customers that goes beyond the sale of the material item they are holding in their hand. You need to strengthen the message of what you offer.
A good example is, “How do I compete with online sales on regulators?” Well, add complimentary services like the already existing warranty, first reg servicing is on us, try before you buy, etc.
Enter into a sales agreement outside your industry
Contact companies or stores that sell a complementary product or a service, with a request to sell your products/training as well. There is no reason why you should not have a better work relationship with companies that offer products to people that enjoy other hobbies that may be similar to yours. Enter into a marketing agreement where they offer outdoor trips or boat tours and sell a scuba family package. Learn to work with others. People often say about our industry, “We are very good at marketing to ourselves.” Go into Tennis Pro Shop and talk about the opportunities you can share with each other’s customers. Promote paddle board products in your store for a friendly local paddle board store and let them do the same for you with scuba.
This tactic is simple. Let others sell for you – just make sure you sell for them.
You may also do it yourself. This has been a huge success in Florida with many Ski and Scuba stores. Selling skis in Florida? Yes! This has actually been a successful business model. People wanted to buy and try things on before getting stuck in the Colorado Rockies with new equipment that they all of the sudden don’t like after a couple runs. The other extreme, selling scuba in Colorado? Did you know that Colorado is in the top ten for highest number of scuba divers per capita? It works. Gun shops selling scuba in Arizona, I know more than one.
Raise and/or lower your prices
The prices of products constantly change, so you should not be reluctant to adjust your prices to meet your objectives. A price reduction will stimulate more sales while an immediate price increase will bring additional revenues.
I’m not a fan of lowering costs so I would advise against it. Increasing revenue this way is affected by a lot of variables like demand. If you lower prices and the demand is not there, you will end up losing revenue though total sales may have gone up because you simply did not “sell enough”.
You need to sell your customers value, not price. Do not undercut your own income by trying to get a quick return.
Instead, raise prices and sell them a lifestyle and an experience you cannot put a price on, not just mask, finds and snorkel. It is easier said than done but once you are able to sell benefits over features, it is a simple task.
This is Sales 101. It’s a nice way to encourage impulse buying and increase order value. Stores frequently “bundled” shoes, handbag, and hat together for a price that was 25% lower than if the products were purchased separately. The result: more than one-half of the shoe sales were bundled with a higher overall profit margin. If you sell products that naturally go together, or are used for the same task or at the same times, consider selling them as a package. So you are discounting, how does this benefit you? You are selling more products. You are selling 2 or 3 instead of 1.
Mask and a mask strap + defogger? How about drysuit with a drysuit course?
Keep in mind, this tactic works especially well on eCommerce.
Offer special discounts
Discounts, properly marketed, create a special buying opportunity in consumers’ minds, often spurring them to take action. The discounts can be applied to limited products such as the old products you want to move to make way for the new inventory. Is winter almost over? Still have a lot of Dry Suit manuals on the shelf? This may be a good time to discount this program.
Examples of sales you could try:
Quantity Discount: When two or more of the same product are purchased at the same time
Tie-In Discount (Bundling): When two or more different products are purchased at the same time
Seasonal Discount: When products are bought within a specific time-frame
Conditional Discount: When the products purchased are used or reconditioned (rental gear?)
Stripped Discount: When the products purchased are “stripped” of one or more features
Improve your marketing collateral
The importance of sales and marketing collateral is to make the sales effort easier and more effective.
Your sales and marketing collateral, especially your website, is a reflection of your business.
Is it easy on the eye and user friendly (easy to navigate)?
Does it include all of your products and their latest innovations?
Does it adequately portray the advantages of your products by linking features to benefits?
Does it convey a sense of urgency with easy instructions for purchase? (See eCommerce comments below)
Are you sure your SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is where it should be? In other words, are you being found?
Widen your geographic target area
Stop fighting it. People buy online and people want to have a great user experience buying online. With a good eCommerce site you should be able to reach out to customers 24/7.
Mintel’s Online Shopping US 2015 Report reveals that over two thirds (69 percent) of US online adults shop online at least monthly, with 33 percent shopping online every week in 2015, up from 24 percent in 2014. What is more, 48 percent of online shoppers admit to occasionally increasing the size of their orders to hit the free shipping minimum. Embrace having an online store; you are competing with this after all, aren’t you? Go online and offer what you have. Beat the price gougers with value but in order to do this – you have to be in the game.
Has your competitor across town become too complacent? Offer their customers an alternative. Is there a dive center in the next town over? No? Target those consumers through Facebook geo targeted ads. Look at a map. Ask yourself, “Where can I reach out to more consumers?” And target them.
All of these will increase your marketing collateral which should increase your sales.
The army of silent salesmen
Signs and displays, are they working for you? Outdoor signage is the silent salesman beckoning for your customer to come in and check out what you have, giving you the opportunity to make a sale once they have entered. But don’t stop there. Make sure you have promotional signage and displays on your floor that make sense and are appealing to the eye with good positioning and easy to read benefits and value followed by price. Let these displays catch the attention of your customers that just want to “mosey around” and have them come to you to ask the questions.
The SDI course flowchart poster is a very good example of a silent salesman. It shows the student a path of continuing education by listing all courses offered and a map on how to get there. It also allows them to learn about the progression and ask the question, “Tell me more”? That is your opportunity to describe, explain and ultimately sell the next course and the benefit’s.
Renew old relationships (Revenue Generating Units – RGU)
It is easier to sell to an old customer than to find a new one, we all know this. RGUs are very attractive revenue sources for companies because each unit will continue to generate revenue into the future. Cable and telephone companies generally break down their subscribers into revenue generating units.
Get your existing customer excited about scuba with trips to fantastic destinations that will keep them coming into your store. By continuing to do business with your excited customers, you are able to add a second sale, and a third, and a fourth. Keep them happy and they will even sell for you.
As long as you keep them excited, they will want more. They will look to upgrade gear, improve their skills with continuing education (advanced courses or technical courses if you offer them) while maintaining what they already own or need (reg service or mask defogger).
You do not have to apply all these tips year round. As a matter of fact, I would suggest you don’t. You will need to be smart about what works in your specific area. Is it bundling over Christmas shopping season? Is it discounting toward the end of the season? Is it targeting the suburbs through Facebook ads once school is out for the summer? There are so many different variables that each and every one of you is going to have to figure out which works best for you and your store. What I can say is this – you need to be proactive. Do not wait for business to slow down before implementing these strategies. Plan ahead and start working on the pieces, like a chess board – always two moves ahead of the economy, your competitor, or your customer’s buying process.