Essential Sales Tips

  • Try to get inside the head of your ‘perfect’ customer. Figure out what they want and go about providing it.
  • Where possible, try and visit your top customers. It helps when trying to build a relationship.
  • Listen more than you speak. This feedback can be invaluable but make sure to act on it.
  • Offer FREE samples or a free trial period for your product. This ‘loss leader’ will hopefully get you in the door.
  • Drive traffic to your website. Once they land on the site you must ‘up-sell’ and ‘cross-sell’ with other offerings.
  • Make sure that your website looks great, is easy to navigate and VERY easy to pay. Keep the content fresh and current with blogs and articles.
  • Get the most out of your social media. Remember, education is the objective not selling. Build relationships!
  • Make sure to respond to customers as quickly as possible. Let them know when to expect their product/service or quote.
  • As a startup make sure to take any work that comes your way. It may not always be profitable but you never know where it may lead.
  • Try to think beyond the initial first sale. Recurring income is afr more valuable . However, this will take time.
  • It is important that you look the part so dress to impress. Always look smart, clean and professional.
  • Get out and network. Visit events, courses and trade shows in your area. Remember to bring plenty of business cards.
  • Try to reward your loyal customers. Look at giving discounts for bulk buying or early payment. Would a loyalty card work in your business?
  • Make a video. Keep it short, snappy, entertaining and to the point. You never know, it might go viral.
  • Build your sales knowledge through books and courses. Checkout our shop for some great reads!
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for business. The worst people can say is no.
  • My favorite – under promise and over deliver!

Essential Cash Flow Management Tips

  • Ensure that you keep accurate and up to date management accounts (past) and cash flow projections (future).
  • Don’t be afraid to update your projections if new information comes to light. Remember, this is not an exact science.
  • Set targets with your cash flow projections. This is a good way to ensure it is given attention it deserves.
  • Agree payment terms from day one. If you don’t know when a payment is overdue, how will you manage cash flow?
  • Improve debtor management and ensure your credit control procedures are working properly.
  • Often, it can be a case of who shouts the loudest gets heard. Make sure that this is you.
  • Issue invoices promptly and follow up immediately, if payment is slow or not forthcoming.
  • Ask customers to make deposits when orders are made.
  • Make sure to perform due diligence on any new credit clients. Make sure that they pay in cash for at least 3 to 6 months first.
  • Get rid of old and obsolete stock for whatever value you can. Don’t tie up cash in high stock levels.
  • Offer discounts to your most loyal customers who always pay on time.
  • Get rid of ‘can’t pay, won’t pay’ customers. You are not running a charity.
  • Carefully manage your ‘payables’. Whenever you see expenses growing faster than sales, take out the magnifying glass to find out why.
  • Take full advantage of creditor payment terms. If a payment is due in 30 days don’t pay in 15 days.
  • Make payments online, on the last available day. That way, you are within your terms and will have the use of these funds as long as possible.
  • Always communicate with your suppliers, especially during tough financial times. If you ever need to delay a payment, they will understand.
  • Don’t be afraid to shop around for lower prices or better credit terms. But don’t always focus on lowest price. I’m a firm believer that you get what you pay for!
  • Make sure to keep your bank on side. You never know when you might need that overdraft facility or short-term loan.
  • Banks are wary of borrowers who have to have money today. If you manage cashflow properly, you will foresee a possible shortfall in future months. It is at this time that you need to contact the bank or lender.
  • Proving accurate cash flows is more important to the bank that providing assets as security for repayments.
  • Make a list of 1. ‘Must pay’, 2. ‘Important to pay’, 3. ‘Flexible opportunities’. Don’t pay everything at once.
  • Do not use money due to Revenue Commissioners (VAT, PAYE & Income Tax) as your working capital.
  • Discipline yourself to pay on time. Set-up a standing order and spread the debts evenly over the year. This will also ensure you avoid any unnecessary interest and penalties.
  • Make sure to focus on cash flow and not profit. This is a common error of many businesses that fail. Remember, a profitable business can close-down if it runs out of cash!
  • Review internal policies such as expenses and travel policy.
  • Reduce employee overtime where necessary.
  • Review and scale back any non-essential activities and costs.

Top Tips for Tough Times

Tips when trading through tough times

  • Review Budgets and set targets.
  • Get rid of ‘can’t pay or won’t pay’ customers.
  • If possible, bill work in progress, at various stages (like stage payments for builders).
  • Chase debts relentlessly (assign someone other than you).
  • Offer existing (quality) debtors some discounts.
  • Agree extended credit terms with suppliers, if possible.
  • Putting an existing contract out to tender can result in substantially reducing costs.
  • Review bank facilities and discuss future needs.
  • Make sure you put in extra effort to make sure relationships are solid with your best customers.
  • Review all business processes and change or stop if not working efficiently (simplify).
  • Eliminate any unprofitable services / products.
  • Outsource certain aspects of your business to save both time and money.
  • Take financial and legal advice.

Top Tips when Pricing

  • Keep your price realistic after taking into account costs, resources and goods.
  • Ensure that you cover all costs.
  • Include the value of your time in your pricing.
  • Customers are not always looking for the lowest price.
  • Price low but smart. Remember, low price might signal low quality. It may also be difficult to increase price if customers become accustomed to the low price.
  • Use discounts with care. Handy to sell products with sell by date, seasonal or obsolescence items. As with pricing low, be careful as it may be difficult to recover from.
  • Know your U.S.P. (unique selling point). What makes you different? What makes you better?
  • Offer incentives – grab peoples’ attention. ‘’20% off, if purchased within the next hour’’
  • Offer 3 ranges on same product – basic, middle and premium.
  • Don’t forget about VAT. Remember, if you sell over a certain amount you will need to register and charge VAT on your product. Will you still be competitive?
  • Stay on your toes – costs, customers and competitors can change. Make sure that you are keeping up with the market.
  • Base your price on consumers’ perception of value not just costs. Good market research will help here.
  • Don’t use the same profit margin (%) across different product lines.
  • Don’t hold your prices at the same level for too long. It may become impossible to increase. Adapt to changing market conditions.
  • Don’t change your price without forecasting your competitors’ reaction. Do they have a better or inferior product? What are they likely to do?
  • Use a loss leader as a marketing tool. This is selling at below cost and making a loss to get customers into the shop.
  • Segment the market based on location e.g. charging more for a can of coke at a football match than you would in a supermarket.
  • Be opportunistic. Sometimes you can price a product with no relationship to its true value. Selling umbrellas at a premium if it rains on a summer’s day.

Civil service mileage rates

Top Tips when Advertising

  • Consider who your potential customer is and how they can be reached?
  • Don’t spend all your budget on one flashy ad; be consistent with frequent smaller ads that work.
  • Maybe place your advert in an unusual place, it will cost less – but make sure it reaches your market.
  • Use your local or national trade magazine. Contact them at the end of the month as they may have unsold space at a lower rate.
  • Ask for a discount if paid up front in full. What’s the worst they can say? ( NO!)
  • Share advertising costs with a local business. Look at restaurants and cinemas – mutually beneficial.
  • If using radio, try reducing the size/time of your advert. An advert for twice the time does not mean twice as many people will buy after hearing it.
  • Use your suppliers
    • 1. Split the cost with your supplier as you are selling their product
    • 2. Get display units, stands, posters and banners from your suppliers
    • 3. Get suppliers to put up their signage outside your premises. (Get a brewery to pay for an awning that contains their logo – it also looks fancy)
  • Sponsor a local event – this will provide positive exposure in the community.
  • Try to avoid saturation advertising. Could you handle a massive influx of new business in a short space of time? Could you fulfill every order on time? If you couldn’t, what impression would that leave?
  • Use a direct mail campaign and make sure to follow up with phone calls afterwards.
  • Do an editorial in a local newspaper. Make sure to have a killer headline.
  • Use coupons, codes or reference numbers on the advert. Get them to mention ‘code’ at time of purchase. That way you will know what methods are working.
  • React quickly to breaking news events –whether they are good or bad.
  • Make sure to check the results of your advertising efforts. This is the only way to figure out what is working.
  • Use a mix of methods. Find out which one is the best fit and stick with it.
  • List the key benefits about your product or service in your ad.
  • Simply ask the customer where they heard about your business.
  •  Use guerilla advertising. Put stickers in bathrooms of pubs. Use chalk advertising where a lot of people will be passing – e.g. the local university.
  • Include your logo on all employee uniforms or workwear.

Form TR2

Invoice template

Ratio analysis