_By Cynthia Nkweti_


Doing business in a tough economy can be very stressful and as a business person, it’s easy to want to scale back and give up. Take the case of Cameroon which has been plunged from one crisis to another, most businesses have had to shut down. Others have had to scale back, reduce their prices or launch into other niches in order to stay afloat. If you as a business person do that, your competitors will swoop in and take over. Here are 7 tested and proven methods to increase sales.

1. Target a particular niche
People are looking for a specialist, not generalist. Get more specific on who you want to reach. For example, if you’re selling a romance novel in a given community, you could choose to target the whole of Buea. You would still sell. However, you could narrow it down to youths in that community, who are more interested in romance novels. Then, you have a carved-out market.

2. Build solid relationships
If you ask people why they go for a particular product in a company, they may tell you it’s because of the relationship they have with a particular sales person. In a tough economy, strive to maintain a good relationship with your customers while creating new ones. Customer care is key, especially given that it doesn’t seem to be the top priority of most salespersons and/or business owners. Let your business stand out for valuing relationships.

3. Create good content:
Providing great content on your online platforms is a good way to get your message across. One of the best ways is through blogging. A blog can serve as an online journal for your activities. It could also be the place where you share your step by step process of your business activities. Creating great content will give your customers a clearer view of your business.

4. Get involved in the society
Giving back to the society is not a new concept. Everybody knows that when people feel like they are human beings and not just sales ends, they feel valued. In spite of the tough economy you’re dealing with as a business person, find a way to give back. As a business, you could volunteer in the community, give freely to the needy or lend your voice to a societal cause.

5. Use social media to connect
If you succeed to use social media wisely, you will make sales during this tough economy. As a business, use social media to connect with your prospects. Create strategic and concise posts that appeal to your target audience. When using social media, there should always be two goals: to engage your customer and drive them towards purchasing.

6. Use influencers
Influencers are people who have the ability to sway people to a certain direction in a particular field. These influencers already have the audience you want. Engage them to promote your brand in exchange for relevant content, a barter arrangement or a small fee. For example, you own a school. You could go online and search for people talking about education and have a huge following. You could engage them as influencers for your brand.

7. Join groups and associations similar to your products
Joining organizations and other groups puts you around likeminded people. These people can either spark your creativity or bring you more business. You could also hire people who will help you boost sales. Partnerships are also formed through associations.

Most of these tactics will cost you little or nothing, but they are very effective in increasing sales. As a sales person, be observant and stay up to date with the trends, as strategies and tactics are always changing.

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