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Open Drawbridge (Richard Johnson/Getty Images/iStockphoto)
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COMMENTARY

Four ways to help land a big sale Add to ...

For many businesses, there’s often a big gap between all the marketing they do to promote what they have to offer, and getting customers to actually make the big purchase of their core product or service.

Prospective clients can see all of your company’s ads, read all of your blog posts, and sign up for all the webinars you offer – but then you have to get them to make the leap to actually buy into your core offering, which will probably mean a significant financial commitment.

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That’s the gap you have to fill.

One way to do it: Offer a less expensive way into your company to entice them toward making the big buy.

To make a significant sale, you need to get prospects engaged. The faster you can make any sale, the greater the opportunity you’ll have to upsell to a more lucrative product or service.

How to bridge the distance between all of your promotional efforts and making the big sale? Here are four strategies to fill the gap.

Training programs

One way that businesses which employ knowledge workers and have high-value (read expensive) offerings can entice potential customers is to offer them training. That can give prospects an opportunity to engage with your company’s professional employees and evaluate your competence as an organization.

It can take a long time to get prospects to buy into a significant sale. Giving them an opportunity to work with your organization will give them greater confidence in your abilities.

Discounted trials

Another tactic is to offer a discounted trial. Note: This doesn’t mean a free trial, but a limited-time offer at a promotional price. For instance, offer a one-month trial on a product or service for half of its regular pricing.

The point is to get prospective clients to overcome their trepidation at committing to spend a lot of money. Getting them to spend a little at first will help produce a level of comfort – and an opening to upsell.

Proof of concept

Think of a proof of concept as an incomplete version of a final product. It’s a great way to tease clients into recognizing that you have something feasible and valuable for them to purchase without them initially having to spend a great deal of money.

Providing a functional program, portal or website, without all the bells and whistles, is a great way to get the prospect excited about the possibilities of working with you to create a much more sophisticated final product.

To price your proof of concept, charge 5 per cent to 10 per cent of the total estimated cost for the full service. Tell prospects that if they decide to move forward with the whole shebang, you will subtract the investment they made in the proof of concept from the total cost.

Short-term engagements

Businesses with long-term services to offer can fill the gap by proposing a short-term engagement to give prospective customers a taste of what you can do, and see if you are a fit for their organization.

Develop a full packaged offering that can stand on its own, with set deliverables, time lines and outputs, at a cheaper price. This can demonstrate to prospects what you have to offer on a bigger, longer-term scale.

The idea is to deliver a great deal of value within a short time frame so that, when the contract ends, the client will want to sign up again, this time with a bigger project charged at your regular rates.

Marketing content alone won’t push prospects into a big sale. You can help move the process along, and shorten the sales cycle, by offering teasers that will become pleasers to help upsell to your big core offerings.

Special to The Globe and Mail Ryan Caligiuri is the founder of Ryan Caligiuri International , a growth consultancy focused on developing programs that generate credibility, competitive advantages, leads/demand and new revenue streams for small to medium sized enterprises. Mr. Caligiuri is also the founder of The Growth Network a mentoring program that teaches entrepreneurs and marketers best practices, frameworks and strategies to become business growth generators.

Engage with Mr. Caligiuri on Twitter .

Join The Globe’s Small Business LinkedIn group to network with other entrepreneurs and to discuss topical issues: http://linkd.in/jWWdzT

Follow on Twitter: @RyanCaligiuri

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