How to make sales: Simple tips from StartUp UK

How to make sales: Simple tips from StartUp UK

Posted: Thu 24th Nov 2022

It might sound obvious, but to grow a business, you must know how to sell your products or services. Building sales is a step-by-step process, in which you identify your ideal customers, create a sales plan, and then begin the hard work of selling more.

Let's assume you've already set up your business, and now you're ready to make sales. Here are some straightforward tips courtesy of StartUp UK, Enterprise Nation's scheme to provide free tailored support to budding entrepreneurs.

Identify your target customers

Even if you've been trading for a few years, you may not have the clearest idea of who your ideal customers are. Understanding your target audience is absolutely crucial to increasing your sales.

In our workshop, How to make sales, part of our ongoing StartUp Series, Janet Milner-Walker, founder of Bespoke Advantage, explains customer (or buyer) personas: what they are, why you should create them, and how to go about doing it. (It's important to note that you may have more than one customer persona for your business. In fact, you might have several!) 


The workshop details:

  • how to create a sales plan (see Write a sales plan below)

  • what sales tools and techniques are available to you

  • how to attract your first customers

You'll also find out some of the important questions you must ask yourself when thinking about your target audience and ideal customer. These include the following:

  • What product or services do I provide?

  • Who needs these products or services the most?

  • How do my ideal customers perceive them?

  • What are the benefits of providing my products or services?

  • Where are my ideal customers hanging out and how can they find me?

Once you have a customer persona and have started to build a profile of your target customers, the more you'll begin to understand how to better service their needs. You can then analyse your competitors and speak to your target customers through surveys or focus groups.

Next steps:

Write a sales plan

If the idea of sitting down and writing out a plan fills you with dread, bear with us – writing a sales plan can actually be fun! Not only can it be creative, but knowing your business goals and vision and then setting them down in a plan can be great for your motivation.

If you don't have any goals for your business, how do you know what to aim for? Having aims and ambitions and being strategic in how you tackle them can help you make smarter business decisions and give you much better control over your finances.

Your sales plan is an item you want to be using and referring to from day to day, not just an exercise to worry about one or two times a year.

Bottom-up sales plan

Write a 'bottom-up' sales plan – this is where you set out your business's predicted sales for each month. Yes, it's based on some assumptions, but it should be logical and realistic.

As an example, if you predict you'll have 10 conversations with customers next month, the average conversion from conversation to sale is 20%, and you know your customers' average spend, you can estimate the total revenue you'll bring in from those sales.

Next steps:

Expand your sales

The main way to increase your sales is through marketing. You find your ideal audience then share content with them that will make them more aware of your brand and more likely to buy from you.

The aim is to build interactions with your customers and use online channels to create a number of 'touchpoints'. In return, you get a customer base which is much more engaged.

You might also look to develop a new product or service or diversify your revenue streams.

Ultimately, you want to be bringing customers back to your business. Estimates say it's five times easier and cheaper to attract returning customers than it is to gain new customers.

Next steps:


StartUp UK: Turn your good idea into a great business

Access support to start your business

Visit the StartUp UK hub for resources that give you the education and inspiration to get started on your entrepreneurial journey.

Enterprise Nation has helped thousands of people start and grow their businesses. Led by founder, Emma Jones CBE, Enterprise Nation connects you to the resources and expertise to help you succeed.

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