How to increase sales: A 3-step system for small businesses

Dustin Johnson
By Dustin Johnson

Selling is on a long list of tasks that many business owners don’t enjoy. They may enjoy building their product, helping customers, and working with their team. But selling? No thanks. However, they realize that, at some point, businesses must market themselves to their audiences. Whether you like sales or not, this is a universal truth in business.

This article will share a three-step process that can help your small business increase sales.

You could get started with those three tips. Or, you can stick around and get five bonus tips to help you go above and beyond.

Build your ideal customer

It’s hard to sell to a customer that you don’t understand. Customer research involves discovering their needs, wants, and behaviors. Customer research often focuses on demographics like age, gender, and location, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Diving deeper into your ideal customer is where you find the riches. Someone’s age, where they live, or income tells you the “what”. To understand your customers, you need to know the “why”.

You want to know what makes your ideal customer tick.

  • What keeps them up at night?
  • What gets them the most excited?
  • What are they struggling with?
  • How does your product help them?

Map your customer journey

Getting inside the head of your customer is difficult. It’s hard because although you know what they need, you don’t know where they are in their buying journey. To tackle this difficult task, create a customer journey map.

What is a journey map?

A customer journey map is the visual storyline of a prospect or customer's engagement with your brand. A journey map helps you understand how your customers perceive their interactions with your brand.

There are five generally accepted stages of a customer journey.

  1. Awareness: Customers know they have a problem and that you exist.
  2. Consideration: Customers are considering your product and weighing it against others.
  3. Purchase: Customers are ready to solve their problems and buy from you.
  4. Retention: Your new customer uses your product and is likely open to buying more.
  5. Advocacy: Your new customer is happy with their purchase and willing to tell others about it.

Each stage requires a different sales approach. Use your journey map to anticipate, meet, and exceed customer expectations.

Create an irresistible offer

You need to create an irresistible offer. An offer that your ideal customer looks at and knows they needed yesterday. To get good at selling, you need to understand human psychology or at least the psychology of your ideal customers.

To build an irresistible offer, you must position yourself as a huge solution for a huge problem.

Here are a few tips for doing that:

  • Sell the benefits, not the features of your offer
  • Offer a bulletproof money-back guarantee
  • Explain what will happen if they don’t buy
  • Create a time-based incentive
  • Compare how much better you are to competitors
  • Show, don’t tell by leveraging social proof

Sales for small businesses: Five bonus tips

You can take those three steps to build a solid sales process. If you want to take your sales process to the next level, implement these bonus tips.


Upselling is a sales technique that encourages customers to purchase higher-priced or additional products. It's a strategic approach aimed at maximizing the value of each customer interaction. Businesses can successfully upsell by presenting customers with upgraded or complementary options that align with their needs.

Upselling allows businesses to capitalize on their relationship and trust with the customer. Customer retention studies suggest that acquiring a new customer can cost five to seven times more than retaining one.

You can upsell customers in two ways:

  1. Offer new customers more products or services immediately after their purchase
  2. Continuously sell to your customers over time as their needs evolve

Build a content marketing strategy

Content marketing is a marketing strategy where businesses produce helpful content to attract and engage their target audience. Instead of going all in on selling products or services, content marketing provides information and insights. The goal is to address the audience's pain points, interests, and needs. This helps a business become a trusted resource, build niche authority, and find a relevant audience.

This content can take various forms:

  • Blog posts
  • Videos
  • Infographics
  • eBooks
  • Podcasts

A content marketing strategy can play an important role in increasing sales for your small business. Firstly, it helps businesses establish themselves as experts and thought leaders. Customers are more likely to buy when they perceive a company as knowledgeable and trustworthy.

Secondly, content marketing nurtures customer relationships by providing ongoing value. By delivering helpful and relevant information, companies stay on the radar of potential customers. They can gradually guide them through the customer journey and increase the chances of conversion.

Create and leverage social proof

Social proof is a psychological phenomenon where people look to the actions of others to inform their own behavior and decisions.

Let’s explain that in the context of sales and marketing.

Social proof refers to using evidence of positive interactions, testimonials, reviews, endorsements, and user-generated content to influence potential customers.

People won’t buy a product if they don’t believe your business’s claims, if they’re unsure if it’ll work as intended, or if they’ll even receive the product. Social proof reduces the perceived risk associated with a purchase. 

Social proof can answer the important questions better than you can:

  • Are you a reputable company?
  • Do you have good customer service?
  • What happens if I need help?
  • Is the product better than XYZ competitor?
  • Is it worth the price?

Sure, you can answer all of these questions on a sales page or in a promotional email. Believe us, this alone would improve your conversion rates. What’s better than that is having customers answer those questions for you.

By leveraging social proof effectively, businesses can tap into the power of peer influence, drive conversions, and enhance their overall sales efforts.

Make the buying process easier

Too many businesses are unaware of how difficult they make the buying process. Unless you sell a basic human need, most people aren’t jumping through hoops to get your product. You need to remove unnecessary barriers and reduce friction.

You can do this by:

  • Eliminating as many steps as possible, especially the confusing ones
  • Making buying from your company more accessible (payment options, customer support, etc.)

In today's fast-paced world, consumers are busy, and attention spans are short. When we say, simplify the buying process, we don’t just mean the checkout process. This includes every interaction a customer has with your brand. When people buy from you, you want them to rave about your product and how great it is to do business with you.

Improve customer service

On the topic of raving about how great doing business with you is, we’ll finish off with customer service. Customer service doesn’t just start when someone clicks “buy” or hears UPS’s footsteps at their door.

Customer service expert and C-suite mentor, Shep Hyken, explains it the best.

“It starts with your vision, mission, and with the first person you hire or partner with. It starts as you create the culture of your organization and as you begin to plan out what the customer experience should be. In other words, it starts long before the customer ever starts actually doing business with you.” - Shep Hyken

Increase small business sales 

We did it. We ventured into the realm of sales strategies. Hopefully, you’ll come out on top after implementing these sales tips and processes into your business. 

Now that you are equipped with the tools to build a successful sales strategy, what’s next? Here’s a hint, much like sales, it’s also a task that most business owners do their best to avoid. 

It’s taxes.

If hearing the word “taxes” makes you stressed, then you need ComplYant. We’ve developed a tool with features that help small businesses like yours stress less about business tax. Get started with a free ComplYant account today.

Dustin Johnson
By Dustin Johnson
Dustin Johnson is a Senior Tax Research Specialist at ComplYant. Prior to joining ComplYant, he spent over eleven years performing tax research at the world’s largest tax preparation company. Dustin holds a Bachelor of Business Administration and a Juris Doctor. Outside of work, Dustin enjoys biking and spending time with his family.

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