I provided a seminar on Business and Marketing Plans for a group of senior managers recently. At the end of the session, during our final question and answer session, one attendee said, "I understand the value in everything you've shared today, but what can I do to increase sales right now?"

Good question. I'm sure others wanted to know the same thing. I wish I had a sure-fire, guaranteed-to-succeed answer. But I don't. No one does. And if someone says they do, be very careful. Because if something sounds too good to be true - it probably is. And a sure-fire, magic pill to increase sales immediately - without negatively impacting other areas of your business in the longer run - is more fantasy than reality.

Sure you can dramatically reduce prices. You can offer 2-for-1 specials. You can provide freebies, 0% financing, 180 days same as cash specials, huge rebates, and other tactics. And they may well work - if you've already got sufficient cash-flow to carry the potential shifts in revenues. However, most businesses don't. So any knee-jerk reaction to what sounds like a good idea to spike sales, may instead hurt your business dramatically. Could you afford to give away one unit for each unit sold over the next month? You may be able to -- with a bit of time and strategy adjustments (i.e., planning).

We can't force people to become our customers. We can't force them to give us their business or their money. Therefore, we have to determine what will cause them to choose to do business with us. How do we do that? We pay attention to them. We listen to them. We notice what they like and what they don't like. We identify what they view as problematic and determine if we can help make their problems go away. If we can do all of this, we may get more customers. If we don't, we spend time trying to get anybody and everybody as customers. And we usually end up having spent bunches of time, money, and effort going after customers who really don't want to do business with us. We typically just spike expenses - not sales.

So, I'm sorry to say, there is no magic pill to immediately, dramatically,and successfully increase sales - without negatively impacting other areas of your business. There is no sure-fire answer. Even if you pay attention to customers and provide what they like, and you can make their problems go away, there is no guarantee they'll buy from you right away. However, in time, if you continue to aggressively plan your business and marketing tactics to align with what your current and prospective customers want, like, and will ultimately pay for, you'll find your magic pill. Yours just comes in the timed-release format.

Start planning for your increased sales now.

Copyright 2008 - Liz Weber of Weber Business Services, LLC.
Liz speaks, consults, and trains on Leadership Development, Strategic Planning, and Organizational Change. Additional articles can be found at http://www.wbsllc.com/leadership.shtml
Liz can be reached at liz@wbsllc.com or(717)597-8890

Permission to reprint this article is granted as long as you use the complete attribution above - including live website link and e-mail address - and you send me an email at liz@wbsllc.com to let me know where the article will be published.

Author's Bio: 

In the words of one client, "Liz Weber will help you see opportunities you never knew existed."

A sought-after consultant, speaker, and seminar/workshop presenter, Liz is known for her candor, insights, and her ability to make the complex "easy." She creates clarity for her audiences during her results-oriented presentations and training sessions.

Participants walk away from her sessions knowing how to implement the ideas she's shared not just once, but over and over to ensure continuous improvement and management growth and development.

This former Dragon Lady has been there, done it, and learned from it. Whether speaking to corporate executives or government agency personnel, Liz's comments and insights ring true.

As the President of Weber Business Services, LLC, a management consulting, training, and speaking firm headquartered near Harrisburg, PA, Liz and her team of consultants provide strategic and succession planning, management policy & systems development, employee training, as well as marketing and media outreach services.

Liz has supervised business activities in 139 countries and has consulted with organizations in over 20 countries. She has designed and facilitated conferences from Bangkok to Bonn and Tokyo to Tunis. Liz has taught for the Johns Hopkins University's Graduate School of Continuing Studies and currently teaches with the Georgetown University's Senior Executive Leadership Program.

Liz is the author of 'Leading From the Manager's Corner', and 'Don't Let 'Em Treat You Like a Girl - A Woman's Guide to Leadership Success (Tips from the Guys)'. Her 'Manager's Corner' column appears monthly in several trade publications and association newsletters.