This is a guest post by Nik @Career_Journey who is a coach who provides career and Small Business Coaching services. He has been employed in some of the coolest companies (Apple Computer) and challenging environments (North Sea Oil Platforms).
Nik has been laid off multiple times and now has his own coaching practice. He has a positive outlook on life and is always willing to help his next client on the way to a successful Change. To earn more about a career change click here
Recently I wrote an article about the emotional challenges when setting up a business and followed up with an article on offering value to your clients. Once you are offering value it is time to optimise your sales channels.
A sales channel is the “outlet” via which we sell our products or services.
Since you are reading this via the web let’s have a look at some of the common ways to sell your products or services.
E-commerce is one of the common sales channels on the web for those who sell physical products. These days you find anything from baby shoes to dog beds. The buying behaviour has also led to increased competition.
Buyers can compare any product out there and select the best value for them. With this increased competition, many people are now selling their products via Amazon or eBay to increase their exposure – but that erodes their margins!
Affiliate Marketing as a Sales Channel
Bloggers mostly use the affiliate model to sell someone else’s services. I am on a few people’s lists and very often someone will have a few days exclusivity on a service – and soon after you see a bunch of similar offers for the same services.
Think about the following questions when selling affiliate products:
– Can you get longer exclusivity?
– Can you negotiate a better deal for you and your clients?
– Can you produce a better product?
– Are there other channels I can use?
The market place (think local farmers’ market) is one of the oldest channels around. You might not think about this channel – but maybe you should. Let me give an example. You sell dog beds online; you secured some exclusive models or even produce your own.
Now go to a local market and have a look if someone sells animal food or accessories. You are bound to find at least one or two. Are you using that channel? Probably not, should you? Well, go and talk to the stallholder and see if he is willing to stock some of your products. Just make sure he cannot get the same deal as you.
Maybe it is even profitable to take the top 20 selling products and set-up your own stall, even better, why not set-up your own shop or even a chain of shops? If you are not ready for that, share a shop. What I mean is, if you sell dog beds, find a shop which sells dog food, and buddy up.
Using Resellers as an Additional Sales Channel
When you have your own products, finding resellers is the next step. Running these shops yourself might not be viable but selling these dog beds via veterinarians, dog food chains or general pet stores could be a winner.
The final piece of the puzzle is using a sales force. Although the overhead costs (basic salary and commissions) can be high, someone who is solely focused on selling your products or services can make a big difference.
Obviously not every channel is suitable for everyone but do investigate if you can leverage other channels.
Here is an overview of channels:
– Sales Force
– Web sales
– Web sales
– Partner Stores
So think about it. Are you using other sales channels –
and are you using them efficiently?
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