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How Can I Improve Sales for my Business

What part of sales gives you the greatest problem with collage of items in background

Every business owner faces this difficulty “How can I improve sales for my business?”

Below are the basic stages of a sales journey. We’ll be introducing these today so that the savvy business owner can isolate and identify which to work on. In the future, I’ll go into more detail on each of these steps in the Sales Funnel. I often go through this checklist with clients and even my own businesses whenever I feel like sales aren’t where they need to be. This doesn’t tell you what tactic you should use to fix the problem, it rather helps you pick one problem to focus your energy on.

When troubleshooting business sales, it’s best to consider it as 6 separate problems, not just one big one. Let’s take a look at the finer points of sales, so you can isolate one to work on.

We’ll be taking a look at these 6 parts: Awareness, Research, Evaluation, Convert, Continue and Advocate.

We know sales can become more and more specific. This article is an overview, if you want some information on branding and how it’s used in the sales process check out my post on the 5 Pillars of Brand Design.

diagram of visual perspective and awareness

1. Awareness: The most important part of improving sales is having more people aware of your business.

Awareness means making leads. Before someone can make a purchase, let alone champion your brand, they have to know you exist. Most advertising budgets go into driving awareness. Business owners are aware of this first step of driving awareness and leads but sometimes miss the mark on how we should be generating those leads.

You probably feel the pressure of having all your ducks in a row on social media but are confused, intimidated, or disappointed with the turnout. You are not alone. Social media is this buzzword everyone throws around. Marketers often quote the 1% of businesses that went viral to convince the other 99% that this is normal. “What am I doing wrong?” you wonder. Viral success is rare and it’s getting even rarer with the saturation of these markets.

Future steps:

If you have a following already, social media can be a good spot to start. But my advice for us in 2021 is since people are burned out with online ads in the wake of the pandemic, focus on local and traditional marketing if your business allows for it. Postcards, newsletters, local marketplace, and pop-up-shops are some of the ways business owners are changing up their awareness campaigns and are driving good returns.


Microscope with text "Research: they see you, they just don't stop for a second look.

2. Research: They know you exist but it won’t improve sales if they don’t know what you offer.

Business owners can lose sight of the intermediate steps involved in building awareness and making the sale.

There is a bit of ‘courting’ that takes place before people usually purchase an item. Some are quick, like impulse buys at the checkout stand, where others can be more time-consuming, like figuring out which doctor to consult. We, as customers, want to know more about the product, how it operates, and if we want it.

Some things to consider:

Captions on social media, taglines, and clear copywriting in your headlines will help retain a customer in the moments after becoming aware that your business exists.

Before a customer buys, they evaluate if you have the best offer from the competition

3. Evaluation: I want what you have, but are you the best offer on the table.

In the evaluation phase, they are comparing you to others. Consumers aren’t convinced they need internet radio until they see a Spotify advertisement. When they understood all the great things Spotify can do, they became even more convinced. But, before they purchase, they compare what others provide. Suddenly after a Google search, Apple Music and Pandora Radio are contenders.

Some things to implement:

Create an infographic or a chart comparing you to the ‘other guys, showcase testimonials, have compelling blog articles

Flower with Convert as heading, They want to buy but it was too hard

4. Convert: You need to close the deal to improve sales.

The convert phase is them making the purchase. Take a look at the ease and accessibility of those making a purchase. Payment gateways are the most apparent hurdles at this point. This phase may seem like a no-brainer to some, but there are many lost sales due to long checkout lines, limitations of what payment systems are allowed, confusing processes, or an annoying amount of upsells.

Some things to implement:

Faster checkout (whether brick and mortar, or online), professional checkout pages, abandoned cart recovery software.

Stripe and Paypal are some of the most popular gateways.

An earth with the caption Continue at the top

5. Continue: The best thing you can do to improve sales is focus on repeat customers.

It’s not over with the sale. Those who think they’re done when the customer pays, set their company up for a yo-yo type business where you’re unsure from where the next purchase will come. The cost of acquiring a customer is a lot higher than maintaining one.

What could you do at this point to delight your customers? Think about how the customer can continue with you. Would subscriptions be an option? Is there a new product that will complement the one they just bought? Acquiring email addresses or connecting on social media should happen now if it hasn’t already. There are also loyalty cards or other options that will help the customer continue with your business.

Some things to implement:

create newsletter lists from customers, create a social media hangout for customers, share stories and get feedback for future products.

Group of singers with Advocate at the top, They keep coming back, but they never tell their friends

6. Advocate: Give them a way and a reason to share the love with friends for an increase in sales.

We all love word of mouth. And hearing a review from someone else is proven to carry substantially more weight than any advertisement.

Give them a reason to want to share–then make it easy for them to share.

If you are a service-based business and there is good rapport between you and your client, ask them to tell their friends or colleagues who may be interested. It can be a good idea to go through the hassle of making a social media post for your customers to repost. Make testimonial software part of your workflow.

Some things to implement:

Referral benefits and affiliate marketing can be great solutions. You can incentivize sharing by giving gifts, discounts, or perks.

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Hey, I’m Sam. I help businesses develop and maintain their brand.

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