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Scotia Small Business Sales and Marketing Tool - Target Market
Target Market Questionnaire
  1. Click to openclose more information about primary customers or clients
    Focus on a defined market niche
    Serving a well-defined group of consumers will help you stand out from competition. Review your sales figures to identify your best-paying customers and focus on them by offering exactly what they want.
    Sell more to existing customers
    Your database is a powerful asset. Use it to connect regularly with your existing customers, serve them more often and sell them more each time they buy.
    Add more products or services
    You can increase revenue by adding more products or services. Ask your customers what else they wished you offered, and then make it available.
    Develop a loyalty program
    Consumers like to feel special and they love perks. Create an incentive program that sparks additional sales and encourages your customers to buy from you again and again. For instance, you could create a points program, invite customers to a special event, or offer a free gift or another tempting reward.
    Improve your internal systems
    Invest time and resources to improve internal systems. Focus on processes that will help enhance customer care, improve your shopping environment or create an outstanding experience for your customer.
    Join the Canadian Federation of Independent Business
    The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is the big voice for small businesses. The CFIB represents the interests of the small business community to all three levels of government. Members can access a variety of industry-specific resources and benefits.
    Develop strong relationships with people running the client company
    You’re not doing business with a faceless company – you’re doing business with real people. Your clients want vendors who are reliable, responsive and professional. Spend more time with your clients to show them that you’re a professional who cares about them and their business. Try to meet as many people as possible in case your primary contact leaves the company.
    Propose new ideas
    Most business-to-business companies simply respond to client requests for proposals and quotes. Move up the ladder by proactively presenting ideas that will help your client tackle new markets, expand, build their brand, save money or beat their competition.
    Focus on a defined market niche
    Businesses, especially big ones, like vendors who are specialized. Focus on doing one thing really well for your business customers.
    Improve your internal systems
    Invest time and resources to improve internal systems. Focus on processes that will help enhance customer care, improve your shopping environment and create an outstanding experience for your customer.
    Join the Canadian Federation of Independent Business
    The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is the big voice for small businesses. The CFIB represents the interests of the small business community to all three levels of government. Members can access a variety of industry-specific resources and benefits.
    Bid on government tenders listed on
    The largest portal for government tenders, MERX Canadian Public Tenders is an easy and efficient prospecting tool to help your business grow. New opportunities are listed daily from all levels of government all across Canada, including the MASH sector (Municipal, Academic, School Boards and Hospitals).
    Join the Canadian Federation of Independent Business
    The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is the big voice for small businesses. The CFIB represents the interests of the small business community to all three levels of government. Members can access a variety of industry-specific resources and benefits.
    Hire a professional proposal writer
    Government tenders typically require a proposal or formal quote. Give your business a competitive edge by investing in a professional proposal writer to help you submit a powerful pitch.
    Team up with other government suppliers
    You may win more government contracts by forming a working alliance with complementary service providers. Form a “team” to expand your capacity to tackle more work and pursue a variety of different opportunities tendered by the government.
    Respect their budgets
    Non-profit organizations typically operate on shoestring budgets. Build positive relationships with your non-profit clients by delivering your product or service on time and within budget.
    Help them with proposals for funding
    Lend your expertise by helping your client prepare proposals for funding. Offer to complete the section of a proposal that pertains to your business in exchange for the contract when it is approved.
    Find new customers
    Pursue more non-profit clients by researching directory websites such as and
    Improve your internal systems
    Invest time and resources to improve internal systems. Focus on processes that will help enhance your client’s experience by improving client care, billing and response times.
  2. Click to openclose more information about target market
    Target specific neighbourhoods
    If your customers come from a narrow geographical area, focus your marketing activities on individual households, businesses or specific neighbourhoods in that area. Contact customers with direct mail, flyer drops, personal visits or telephone calls. Place street-level advertisements on billboards or transit shelters. Ask local businesses if they have space where you could leave your leaflets or brochures. If you have a retail business, invest in sandwich boards and attractive window displays.
    Focus on cross-promotions with non-competing businesses
    Create unique cross-promotions with other businesses. It’s a great way to save money while increasing market penetration. For example, a local movie theatre might cross-promote with a restaurant to offer a “night out” package. Or a graphic design firm might team up with a front-end web developer and copywriter to offer a one-stop, website design service.
    Get involved with community-based organizations
    People want to buy from businesses that support their community. Consider spending some of your marketing budget to sponsor a local sports team, dispense free bottled water at the next charity run, or pitch in to help beautify a neighbourhood park.
    Advertise with regional media outlets
    Consider placing ads with regional newspapers, radio and television stations. But be sure to check your media choices carefully to ensure they’re the outlets your customers read, listen to, or watch.
    Get free media publicity
    Boost your advertising campaign by running a publicity campaign. Approach media outlets in your region about writing an article on your expanding business, employees, unique product/service or your community contribution. Better still, write your own press release and send it to media outlets in your area.
    Develop strategic partnerships
    If your region is large and your business model requires many physical locations, consider “piggyback marketing”. Strike a deal to offer your products or services or distribute information, within non-competing businesses. For example, a dry cleaner might save operational expenses by setting up kiosks within the stores of a regional grocery chain.
    Promote nationally, sell locally
    Divide your marketing budget into two categories of spending: national brand awareness and local sales promotions. National awareness marketing should elevate your overall brand. Local sales marketing should focus on sales-oriented tactics such as: trial offers, special promotions and customer contact activities.
    Empower local units to market themselves
    If you have offices, stores or franchises in different cities all pulling business from their local communities, consider de-centralizing your marketing efforts. This gives your local units more control over their advertising and promotions.
    Focus on national media
    If you’re selling in many different provinces or territories, consider using some of your advertising budget on national media outlets. Contact national newspapers, radio networks and television channels that can deliver the cross-country customer reach you need.
    Open more company-owned locations
    Additional locations will enable your business to serve more customers in different cities. However, you’ll need to allocate a healthy marketing budget to drive sales to more locations.
    Franchise or license your business
    If you want to grow your company but don’t want to open more company-owned locations, perhaps it’s time to franchise or license your business model. Work with a franchise consultant, lawyer and accountant to set up franchisee agreements with appropriate candidates.
    Focus on building your brand
    Your brand is your promise to your customer. It’s what people think about when they see or hear your company’s name. A strong brand can make customers choose your company over the competition. Hire a professional advertising agency or marketing company to produce polished marketing messages and build brand awareness.
    Target emerging markets
    Global companies are scrambling to do business with emerging markets like India, China and South America. Perhaps those markets could be an ideal opportunity for your business – especially if your competition isn’t there yet. Before you jump in, be sure to do your research and work with advisors or agents who know those emerging markets well.
    Grant Master Licenses by country
    Like a regional franchise, a Master License gives an approved operator the right to offer your brand, product or service in a certain country for a given period of time. It’s an attractive way to launch your business in multiple countries, because licensees will likely know how to market your business in their home country better than you do.
    Drive business to your website
    Thanks to the Internet, you can do business internationally without spending huge amounts of money. Convert your website into multiple languages and develop a strategy to draw foreign customers to it.
  3. Click to openclose more information about customer databases
    Market to all existing customers
    Great customer records are vital to increasing sales. Analyze your customers’ spending habits to communicate meaningfully with them. For example, if you know a customer likes to shop at night, you might send him a coupon to use anytime after 6:00 p.m. Creative use of data can build customer loyalty and a clear competitive advantage.
    Market to your top spenders
    Most businesses fall into the 80/20 rule. That is – 80% of your sales come from 20% of your customers. Use your database to identify your best customers and focus the majority of your marketing efforts on them. Create a VIP club, invite them to exclusive events, send great gifts or simply get in the habit of personally calling your best customers to thank them for their business.
    Cross-sell with complementary offers
    Analyze your customers’ purchases to see what related products or services you could offer them. For example, an electronics retailer could promote flat-screen TVs to customers who bought a Blu-ray player.
    Start a profile on each customer
    Take your customer records from good to great by collecting more information about them. Invest in sales software that helps you capture and analyze information about your customers. Evaluate what they buy, when they shop and how they pay. Find out where they live, their occupation, marital and family status. Learn which promotions or advertisements catch their attention.
    Capture more customer data during sale transactions
    It’s easier to get more information about your customers at the point of sale. Ask questions that are relevant to your business needs or marketing efforts, like “Which newspaper do you read?” “What websites do you visit?” or “Would it be helpful if we were open until 9:00 p.m.?” During each customer interaction, update or confirm their basic contact information including address, email and telephone number.
    Communicate regularly with customers
    If you have a mailing address or email address for your customer, use it to send coupons, invitations, flyers or newsletters to your database. Depending on your business you could develop a plan to send offers to your database on a monthly or weekly basis. Be sure to get permission to send emails in accordance with anti-spam legislation.
    Update your database by contacting each customer
    Although it may be a lot of work, launch a campaign to update your records by phoning each customer. Create a short script explaining your call, and hire a professional telemarketer to make contact. Offer your customers a small reward for their time. Once your records are complete, you can start to market to them more effectively.
    Update your database during sale transactions
    Another option is to update customer files, every time your business interacts with a customer. Whenever a customer orders from you in person, by phone or online, ask if you can take a moment of their time to update your files.
    Buy a prospect list
    If you don’t have any contact information for your customers, consider purchasing a prospect list. Databases may be obtained from list brokers, direct mail shops or other businesses. Moving forward, be sure to implement a system to capture and maintain good customer contact information. Note: Be sure to understand Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) to remain compliant with any online customer or prospect communications.
  4. Do most of your sales come from a few customers?
    Click to openclose more information about percentages of sales
    Deliver exceptional customer service
    If your business is highly dependant on a few well-paying customers, you have to make sure they have an outstanding customer experience. Hire more employees to serve your best customers or assign an account manager to work with each big client. Offer fast response times to all needs or inquiries. And don’t forget to throw in a few customer perks like lunch or a game of golf now and then.
    Increase your “share of customer”
    Increase your sales by finding opportunities to fulfill more of your customers’ needs. For example, a high-end clothing retailer might add custom tailoring to their service offering. This way they can earn additional revenue from their customers.
    Expand into new markets
    If you can only serve a few high-paying customers in a given market, perhaps it’s time to expand into new cities, provinces or countries. That way you can serve a larger number of customers with your “boutique” business model.
    Sell more to your best customers
    Most businesses fall into the 80/20 rule. That is – 80% of your sales come from 20% of your customers. Identify the clients who spend the most with you and focus your sales efforts on them. Create special promotions, invite them to exclusive events, or cross-sell related products when they purchase from you.
    Retire your worst customers
    Sometimes, customers who spend the least with your business, take up the most amount of your time. Figure out who those customers are and politely direct their business elsewhere. It’s ok to let go of customers who are no longer worth your time.
    Systemize your sales process to serve a large number of customers
    Some business models, like an online store or fast-food outlet, depend on selling to a large number of customers. If this sounds like your business, invest in efficient sales and operating systems that will allow your business to automate ordering processes and fulfill orders with the least amount of energy and cost.
    Worth with resellers
    To extend your reach, consider asking resellers to carry your products or services. Resellers can help you connect with new markets and serve different types of customers. Negotiate a commission or margin that both motivates the reseller and contributes to your healthy bottom line.
    Analyze your sales data
    Print out your sales records for the last year for each customer. Place each person into one of three categories: big spenders, moderate spenders or low spenders. Based on your business model, you may decide to focus on making small sales to many customers or larger sales to the customers who spend the most with you.
    Upgrade your sales software
    If you can’t track sales by individual customer, you may want to improve your sales software. That way you can analyze your data and find out who your top spenders are. Shop for software that suits your business needs or speak to a programmer about designing custom software for you.
Scotia Small Business Sales and Marketing Tool - Marketing
Marketing Questionnaire
  1. Do you have a current marketing plan?
    Click to openclose more information about current marketing plan
    Review your plan monthly to make sure your day-to-day marketing activities are aligned with it.
    Are you starting a new business?
    It’s important for a new business to develop a proper marketing plan so that you invest your marketing budget in activities that will generate revenue. A good marketing plan includes: a description of your target market, product or service offering, unique selling proposition, pricing and positioning strategy, distribution plan, special offers, promotions strategy, and marketing materials. Need help writing your marketing plan? Try Scotiabank Plan Writer.
    Is your business already up and running?
    A marketing plan is still critical. It helps you focus your marketing efforts and maximize your budget. Plus, you can use what you’ve already learned about running a business to help you develop your plan.

    Start by reviewing your sales records to identify your best customers. Put funds aside to market just to them. Next, figure out what your business does better than the competition. Create marketing messages to play up your strengths. Finally, design a promotional plan that tells new customers about your business and entices them to try your products or services.
    More about the marketing plan
    A marketing plan sets out your sales goal for the year and the strategies you’ll use to achieve your sales objectives. Your plan can be as detailed as you need to keep you on track. It can include a branding strategy and packaging strategy, a distribution plan to get your offering to market, and a pricing and promotion strategy. Your plan should include the tactics you’ll use within each strategy. The Scotiabank Plan Writer can help you create your marketing plan.
  2. Click to openclose more information about branding your business
    You’ve figured out what your business stands for and the messages you want to convey about it. Now your goal is to be consistent, and ensure that your branding message comes through in everything from marketing materials to customer interactions.
    Write a catchy slogan
    Think about some famous brands. All of them promise something to their customers. For instance, Apple is about innovation and design. Wal-Mart stands for lower prices.

    What do you want your customers to remember when they think about your business? Maybe it’s incredible customer service, or beautifully designed products, or a delivery service that’s on time every time. Whatever that promise is, make it the core of your brand.
    Write a catchy slogan
    Examine the slogans of other companies to see what other businesses do. Then come up with several different options of your own.

    Your slogan could convey a key benefit of your product or service. Or it might highlight one thing that you do better than your competitors. Be as specific as you can while keeping your slogan as short as possible.

    Ask your customers, friends, family or associates which one they like best and why.
    Design an appealing logo
    Once you have a slogan, the next step is to create a logo. Hire a professional graphic designer to produce three options for review. A good designer will combine all three elements – your business name, slogan and a graphic into one logo that effectively communicates what your business does.
    Consider registering a trademark
    Planning to grow into a large business? Then you may want to trademark your new identity. It protects your unique “look” in the marketplace so that others cannot copy it. Consult a lawyer or visit the Canadian Intellectual Property Office to learn more about trademarking your new logo and slogan.
    Roll out your new brand
    Once your logo is complete, it’s time to show it off – everywhere. Put your logo and slogan on all your marketing materials including: company vehicles, newsletters, emails, uniforms and signage. In fact your logo should appear on anything that touches your customers or prospects.
    A brand represents your company attributes, charactertistics and values
    Your brand should clearly conveys what your company represents and differentiate your business from your competition.

    Start by creating a “personality” for your business. Is it fun or serious? Do you sell quality products at a high price, or volume at a low price? What values does your company stand for? If you’re not sure, list ten reasons why people should buy from you and choose one that makes you stand out from the competition. Describe what makes your business unique and how you want it to be perceived.
    Your business name, logo and slogan help convey your brand
    The world’s biggest companies like Apple, Google and Johnson & Johnson, use simple graphics and words to communicate their brands. You need to do the same.

    Work with a graphic designer to create a visual identity for your business that combines your business name, slogan and an eye-catching graphic. Create three versions of your logo and ask friends, family, customers and associates to choose the one they like best.

    Once your visual identity is ready, you need to ensure that your branding message comes through in everything you do. Use your logo and slogan on all your marketing materials. Make sure that your business lives up to your brand message in all customer interactions.
    Build your brand by being consistent
    Implement your brand across every facet of your business. Place your logo and slogan on advertisements, emails, newsletters, signage, website, staff uniforms, delivery vehicles, invoices and media releases. Your brand should be seen, heard or felt on everything your customer experiences. Even the way you interact with your customers should reflect your brand position.
  3. Click to openclose more information about spending on marketing
    Develop referrals
    Word-of-mouth advertising is completely free and very effective. Contact your existing customers and ask each of them to refer three other people or organizations who might benefit from your products or services. Be sure to thank your customers for their referrals.
    Create cross-promotions
    Team up with a non-competing business to create unique cross-promotions. Use discounts, special gifts or trial offers to encourage customers to buy from both businesses. For example, a nail spa might team up with a hair salon to offer a “makeover” package.
    Obtain media publicity
    Create a list of media outlets that your prospects listen to, read or watch. Write a media release each month on a different aspect of your business. Be sure to make it “news worthy” so that media outlets run your story.
    Create an e-newsletter
    Send out a newsletter to stay in touch with your clients and prospects. Offer tips, advice, stories and interesting statistics. Be sure to deliver your e-newsletter regularly – whether it’s monthly, bi-monthly or weekly. Develop a campaign to sign up more readers to your newsletter over time.
    Attend events, meetings and join groups frequented by your prospects. Develop and rehearse a 30-second introduction that focuses on the benefits of doing business with your company. Listen for sales opportunities and follow up with new contacts.
    Advertise online
    When a customer is looking for a product, service, promotion, or anything else, they’re likely going to search for it on Google. That customer could be directed to your website. Adwords lets you associate popular key words with your business. AdWords can be a hugely successful method of driving traffic, marketing your product and ultimately getting increased sales.
    Create online ads
    Just choose an online platform like Google. Set your budget, write your ad and buy a few well-researched keywords. Because you’ll only be charged when users click on your ad, it can be a great way to stretch your marketing budget.
    Develop flyers and brochures
    Create compelling flyers and brochures and place them in locations your customers visit. Be sure to include a special trial offer to entice potential customers to contact you.
    Purchase prospect lists
    Lists are available from mail list brokers and direct mail shops. You can buy lists based on factors including: age, income level, language, location, occupation and recent purchases.
    Improve your website
    Attracting website visitors, tracking them and converting them into customers is growing increasingly complex. Consider investing in the services of a professional online marketing expert to improve the effectiveness of your site.
    Participate in trade shows
    At trade and consumer shows, you can capture many leads in a short timeframe. Choose the shows that attract your ideal customers. Invest in a professional display unit. And figure out how you’ll follow up on the leads you generate.
    Send direct mail
    Great direct mail pieces can convince consumers to visit your website, make an appointment, or purchase something today. Hire a professional direct mail shop or advertising agency to create effective mail pieces. Use your own database list for mailing, or purchase a list from a list broker.
    Hire more salespeople
    Bringing in more great sales people could be the best investment you make. Employ inside or outside sales reps to cold call, follow up on referrals or drum up more business from existing customers.
    Though it can be the most expensive marketing option, advertising does work. The secret is twofold. First you need to create compelling messages that get your consumers’ attention and persuades them to take action. Second, place your ads in media that your target market watches, listens to or reads.

    Decide on a budget and work with an advertising agency to create powerful and persuasive ads. Ask your agency to negotiate, multi-spot reach campaigns so that your ads get even more exposure.
  4. Click to openclose more information about business competition
    Set premium prices
    High quality products or services allow you to set pricing at a premium. That helps you increase your profit margin and generate the revenue you need to invest in marketing.
    Promote your quality
    Many reputable brands earned their reputation because the company focused on delivering high quality products or services. If your company is developing a reputation for superior quality, then spread that message. Promote your commitment to quality in all your marketing communications.
    Extend your lines
    If you’re known for offering excellent products or services, consider expanding your existing offering. The customers who already trust you will be inclined to buy something else from you.
    Promote being fast
    For some customers, the only thing that matters is how fast you can deliver what they want. Invest in your internal operations to ensure you can deliver on time – every time. And emphasize your competitive advantage in your marketing materials.
    Make promises
    Guaranteeing your delivery time can give you the edge over your competition.
    Charge more
    When customers need faster-than-usual service, they’re usually willing to pay more for it. Charge a premium for your “rush” jobs.
    Keep your prices high and find more customers
    People often believe that a higher price means higher quality. If your customers are already willing to pay what you charge, you simply need to find more customers like them. Create a profile for your current customers and look for others who match that profile. Ask current customers for referrals – after all, your customers probably socialize with people who are just like them.
    Keep your prices low and increase sales volume
    If you’re pricing your products or services at the lower end of the marketplace, you probably need a high sales volume to earn a decent profit. You may need to invest heavily in marketing and advertising to attract enough customers. Learn how your customers heard about your business and concentrate your ad dollars there. Try to upsell your customer by offering related products or services.
    Reduce your product and operating costs
    Another way to increase your profit margin is by lowering your costs. Negotiate better rates with your suppliers. Minimize operating expenses. Examine every aspect of your business looking for ways to save money.
    Tell customers how you treat them differently
    Whether it’s a no-hassle return policy, offering free samples to your customers, delivering orders around the clock, or something else – use your marketing materials to tell your customers what your business does differently.
    Add more unique customer experiences
    If one unique customer experience is a hit, why not add another? You’ve already established a reputation for doing things differently, so customers likely expect the unexpected from you. Give them what they want by launching another memorable customer experience.
    Partner with other unique operators
    Team up with another business to enhance your current products or services. For instance, a bed and breakfast might partner with a mobile day spa. Or, an airline could arrange limousine service for business class customers. Look for ways to add more to each customer experience without adding to your costs.
Scotia Small Business Sales and Marketing Tool - Selling
Selling Questionnaire
  1. Click to openclose more information about increasing customer sales
    Ask for referrals from satisfied customers
    Word-of-mouth advertising is powerful. Contact your satisfied customers and ask them to refer a couple of people who might benefit from your products or services. Thank them for their referrals with a VIP discount or special gift.
    Advertise to new customers
    Find out what media outlets your targets pay attention to. Then price out the cost of advertising in those specific outlets. Use some of your marketing budget to place powerful and persuasive ads.
    Exhibit at trade shows
    Trade and consumer shows are a great way to capture lots of leads in a short time. Select the shows that attract your target audience. Rent exhibit space and invest in an attractive professional display. Practice how you’ll pitch your product to attendees and figure out how to follow up on the leads you get.
    Do cross-promotions
    Team up with non-competing businesses to create unique cross-promotions. Use discounts, trial offers or bundled deals to encourage customers to buy from both businesses. For example, a toy store could team up with a nanny service to provide a “kids care package”.
    Advertise online
    When a customer is looking for a product, service, promotion, or anything else, they’re likely going to search for it on Google. That customer could be directed to your website. Adwords lets you associate popular key words with your business. AdWords can be a hugely successful method of driving traffic, marketing your product and ultimately getting increased sales.
    Sell more to existing customers
    Offer your customers related products and services each time they make a purchase. For instance, let’s say you owned a café. If your customer bought a coffee, suggest they pick up a muffin too.

    You can also “upsell” customers by suggesting a product or service worth that’s more than their current selection. For example, if your customer wanted to purchase a 4-gig mp3 player, you could suggest they buy the 8-gig mp3 player instead. Be sure to explain how the customer would benefit from the pricier option.
    Sell more often to existing customers
    Encourage existing customers to buy from you every month, week or day. Consider altering your products or services so that they need to be consumed more often. Or create a rewards program to encourage repeat business.
    Reduce customer attrition
    It costs far more to find a new customer than it does to retain the customers you already have. So keep your existing customers happy. Invest in exceptional customer care, communicate regularly with your clients and offer extra perks that surprise and delight.
  2. Click to openclose more information about selling products/services
    Optimize your website with search engines
    It’s important that your website shows up in search engine like Google, Bing and Yahoo. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) helps make that happen. SEO uses a variety of tactics to improve your search engine ranking including: effective key words, relevant content, social media integration and frequent website updates. Hire an online marketing expert or SEO professional to make your website a top hit.
    Arrange reciprocal links with high-traffic websites
    Link or banner exchanges help people to find your website while visiting another one. Make a list of 20 non-competing companies that serve your target market. Approach them to establish an online cross-promotion.
    Add fresh content to your website
    Give visitors a reason to visit your website often. Create a plan with your web team to post fresh information, news, events or offers to your site monthly, weekly or even daily.
    Launch a new version of your site
    Ask customers how your website’s design and functionality could be improved Incorporate some of their suggestions in the next website design. Be sure to set a reasonable budget and timeline for web development work. Sometimes costs can escalate and projects can take longer than you expect.
    Build a database
    Information is power, so invest in software that helps you collect as much data about your online customers as possible. Then use that information to make your marketing efforts far more effective.
    Promote your products
    If in-store sales drive your revenue, explore new ways to bring in more customers. Allocate some of your marketing budget to advertising and promotions. Create unique trial offers. Hold time-limited sales events. Or offer incentives like a gift with purchase or reward points.
    Improve your merchandising
    If in-store sales drive your revenue, explore new ways to bring in more customers. Allocate some of your marketing budget to advertising and promotions. Create unique trial offers. Hold time-limited sales events. Or offer incentives like a gift with purchase or reward points.
    Consider moving your retail location
    Sometimes a store location stops attracting customers because the local area has changed. Shifts in demographics, traffic patterns or commercial composition can alter a neighbourhood. Do your research to see if the area has changed. If so, maybe it’s time to consider moving to an area rich with the right customers.
    Add more retail locations
    Maybe you need to add more stores to boost your market share and revenue. Find out how far customers are willing to travel to purchase your products or services. Determine how many potential customers you can serve in a defined geographical area. Since opening more locations can be expensive, take the time to double check your information or consult a retail expert.
    Secure more clients
    Boost your revenue with additional wholesale clients. Ask where your clients currently sell your products and see if there are places where consumers can’t get what you sell. Next, identify resellers in those markets who are likely candidates to carry your goods and develop a sales plan to approach them.
    Expand into new markets
    If your current resellers own exclusive distribution rights for certain territories, it’s time to secure similar arrangements in new cities, provinces or countries. Find prospective new resellers by consulting industry directories. Or take a trip and do the market research yourself.
    Launch a white label brand
    A white-label product is “nameless”. This lets resellers, usually retailers, to brand the product with their own house brand. In most industries, it’s acceptable to offer a white-label version of the branded product you currently sell to retailers. By creating a white-label version of your product, resellers can choose to carry your original brand or the white-labeled version. In some cases they may even carry both.
    Do more for your clients
    If you have a positive relationship with your business clients, chances are, they’re receptive to doing more work with your business. Meet with your key client contacts to hear their future plans and listen for opportunities to expand the scope of what you currently do for them.
    Obtain more clients
    Develop a six-month target for securing new clients and give your sales team sufficient resources to achieve your goals. If need be, hire more sales people or business developers to pursue likely prospects. Use your experience serving your existing client base to reassure those prospects that your business is reputable.
    Create integrated and custom solutions
    Instead of responding to the tactical needs of your clients, dig deeper to understand their corporate objectives and strategies. Make suggestions and offer solutions to support their “big picture” plans. You’ll be considered more of a partner than a supplier and in a better position to win bigger and more involved contracts.
  3. Click to openclose more information about sales goals
    Secure many new customers
    To double or triple your sales, you’ll need to invest considerable time, money and resources. Start by securing a healthy budget to support your planned sales growth. Focus your energy on customers who clearly want or need your product or service, demonstrate a willingness to buy and have the money to pay.
    Expand into other markets
    You could achieve your aggressive sales goals by expanding into new cities, provinces or countries. Do your market research thoroughly and look for ways to leverage market entry by working with local partners.
    Franchise or license your model
    Another way to reach your sales target may be to franchise or license your business model to independent operators. You can benefit from quantities of scale and enter multiple geographic markets simultaneously. Engage a franchising expert, your lawyer and your accountant to help set up agreements and systems.
    Hire more salespeople
    If your business success is due to your excellent sales team, consider expanding your staff. Be prepared to cover the cost of salaries, equipment, office space, travel and selling expenses. You may also consider outsourcing additional sales responsibilities to a qualified sales agency.
    Secure some new customers
    Perhaps you simply need to attract more customers to your business. Revisit your marketing plan to ensure your marketing activities are geared to help you find new clients. Consider tactics like asking for referrals, advertising or creating cross-promotional campaigns.
    Renew existing contracts for more money
    If you’ve worked for your business clients for some time, chances are, they’ll expect your fees to increase. And if your clients are happy with your services, they’ll be more inclined to accept a fee increase. Add 20% or more to your next proposal.
    Sell more products
    For retail customers, try to increase purchase volume by upselling, cross-selling or improving your point-of-sale effectiveness.
    Offer to do more for your current customers
    Expand your product or service offering so that customers can buy more of what they need from your business. For instance, an advertising agency could start buying media space for its clients.
    Get customers to spend the same amount with you next year
    If you have a business-to-business company, focus on renewing client contracts at the same spend level. Pay close attention to each client’s budget planning cycle to get your proposal in on time. If you own a retail shop, ensure you have enough promotions and communications tactics to get customers to spend the same as they did last year.
    Build customer loyalty
    Keep your existing customers happy and you’ll never go out of business. Focus on delivering exceptional customer care to every customer with every interaction. While losing some customers is inevitable, you can be prepared by continuously marketing for new prospects.
    Reduce your operating expenses
    You may be able to achieve the same or greater profit level by reducing your operating expenses or cost of goods sold. Examine all of your business expenses and systems. Look for ways to save money at every instance.
    Get customers to try you out
    Turn prospects into customers by offering samples, trial offers and introductory discounts or offering something for free. Make it very easy for new customers to buy from you with generous payment terms and a variety of convenient payment options.
    Start a database
    The more information you collect about your customers, the easier and less expensive it will be to market to them. Invest in software, and set up systems that help you record useful customer data right from the start.
    Buy a list of prospects
    Kick start your sales process by acquiring a list of leads. Consult your local directory to find list brokers. Or approach a non-competing business that has the customers you want to reach. Ask about introducing your company to its database as part of a cross-promotion or finder’s fee arrangement.
    Make sales calls
    Roll up your sleeves and start pounding the pavement for customers. Commit to contacting at least 10 new prospects each week. Create a short business pitch and be sure to ask if they have a few minutes to talk with you. Consistent and persistent selling efforts will pay off sooner than later.
    Obtain free media publicity
    Get prospects to come to you by drumming up some media coverage. Write a press-worthy, one-page media release about your new business and how it benefits consumers. Send it to media outlets known to reach your target market. Follow up with each editor, reporter or producer to get them interested in doing a piece on your company.
  4. Click to openclose more information about closing sales
    Improve your shopping cart dump rate
    Use Google Analytics to examine your “shopping cart dump rate” and find out how many visitors select your product or service, and how many complete the purchase. You can also learn where users abandon the purchase process. Use that information to redesign the purchase section of your website.
    Draw more visitors to your website
    Work with an online marketing expert to find ways to increase the number of unique visitors coming to your site. Consider purchasing keywords with search engines, placing sponsored links on popular websites, or simply promoting your website in off-line marketing materials.
    Get customers to return to your website
    It’s much easier to sell to existing customers than to find new ones. Create a data capture system on your website to start profiling and tracking visitors who buy. Ask your customers for permission to contact them again with special offers, discounts, news, events, rewards and more.
    Cross-sell more products at point of purchase
    Before your customers complete their purchase, suggest products or services that complement the items in their shopping cart. Redesign the purchase section of your website so that it’s easy for customers to buy more from you.
    Write a professional sales script
    You only have a few seconds to grab someone’s interest on the phone. That’s why a professional telephone script is so important – especially the opening line. Engage the prospect immediately, build interest in your offer, present clear purchase benefits and create a compelling reason to buy right now.
    Hire professional callers
    You may boost sales by outsourcing your inbound or outbound call operations. There are many professional telephone sales companies willing to do the work for you in exchange for an hourly fee or percentage of sales.
    Obtain better quality call lists
    Stay clear of “junk” lists with telephone numbers right out of the phone book. Instead, create call lists containing qualified prospects. Pull good prospects from your website, your current customer database, responses to a direct mail campaign, a trade show, a recent promotion or from another business. Be sure to respect current privacy laws and do-not-call legislation.
    Invest in sales training
    Good salespeople can always be better. Send your reps to sales training courses to improve their closing technique, buy them books or videos on how to upsell or arrange for them to job shadow a super seller.
    Invest in better sales materials
    Great collateral materials will make it easier for your sales people to present your offering to customers. Hire a professional marketing agency to produce attractive sales materials like: brochures, folders, product sheets, price lists, business cards, presentation slides or videos.
    Assess the quality of your prospect list
    How do you know if your sales people are approaching suitable candidates? It costs you money to send a rep out, so establish strict criteria to first qualify any lead. For example, a qualified lead might include a business or a person currently buying from your competitor.
    Improve your mail offer
    Assess every element of your mailer: graphic design, written copy, outer envelope messaging, payment options and time-based incentives. Make sure that all the elements work together to create a compelling offer. You may want to work with a direct mail shop to make improvements.
    Invest in postage-paid replies
    You want to remove any barriers to securing the sale. So consider paying the postage on any reply cards or order slips that are mailed back to your business. That way, it’s easier for customers to do business with you.
  5. Click to openclose more information about time spent on sales activities
    Invest more resources in sales
    You may see more sales results by dedicating more money, people and time to the selling effort. Calculate the acquisition cost of each new customer. Decide if it’s worthwhile to chase more new customers or focus your sales efforts on existing customers.
    Outsource non-essential functions
    No time to pursue more sales opportunities? You could free up your company’s time by outsourcing activities that don’t generate revenue for your business. Consider hiring vendors to take care of bookkeeping, mailers, cleaning, data entry, filing, fulfillment or administration.
    Check results
    Find out if your sales investments are creating the results you want. Monitor your monthly sales levels, assess prospect-to-customer conversion rates and ensure that your team is pursuing the right target market.
    A growing business needs to invest plenty of resources to the sales and marketing effort. Just be sure your team is spending money and time wisely by monitoring their revenue results.
    Create a work log
    Ask your employees to track their work activities for one week to one month. Then review their logs to see how much time your organization collectively spends on marketing or sales. Look for ways to help your staff spend more time on sales and marketing activities that generate revenue.
  6. Click to openclose more information about converting prospects into customers
    Offer deeper discounts for first-time buyers
    Is your existing discount tempting enough for new customers? Do some research to find out. You may need to sweeten your introductory rate to entice sales. Be sure you can afford to offer a deeper discount by checking the impact against your margins and annual income.
    Make it easy for customers to try your product or service
    Instead of offering discounts, let your customers try, taste, see or sample your product or service before they buy it. For instance, a mini-van dealership boosted sales significantly by allowing customers to take a vehicle home for the weekend.
    Leverage a discount or offer from a partner
    Team up with a non-competing business and get them to offer a discount for their product or service as part of your sales pitch. For example, a restaurant owner might offer a 2-for-1 ticket deal from a local movie theatre with every dinner.
    Try new closing techniques
    Perhaps you can increase revenues just by changing the way your people ask for the sale. Try the assumptive close, “Will that be cash or charge?”, the options close, “Would you like it in blue or red?”, the delivery close, “Should we start the work this week or next Tuesday?” or the direct close, “May we have your business?”.
    Focus on what works best for your business
    Analyze the way your sales people are closing sales to determine which methods are getting the best results. Choose the best practices and techniques. Then share that information with your sales staff so they can learn how to close sales that particular way.
    Invest in training for your sales people
    Even the most accomplished sellers can benefit from sales training. Use a portion of your budget to hire a sales training company or consultant. You’ll be rewarded by with a higher close rate and additional business revenue.
    Look for ways to improve your processes
    It’s nice to have business walk in the door, but there’s always room for improvement. Map out the steps customers take to buy from you. Then look for ways to make that process easier, faster and more helpful for your customer.
    Allow other companies to take orders for you
    Can you wire your ordering system into another company’s processes? For example, airlines accept ticket orders through a number of major travel websites in addition to using their own ordering systems.
    Automate repeat orders
    Do your customers buy from you regularly? If so, look for ways to automate their repeat purchases to help reduce your sale processing costs. For instance, fitness clubs automatically charge annual fees to their members’ credit cards.
    Present your quote in person
    Instead of just sending a proposal or quote, arrange to present it in person to larger prospects. It shows that you’re highly committed to their business and it’s a lot harder for clients to say “no” in a face-to-face meeting.
    Get responses to proposals in person
    Calling or emailing repeatedly to follow up on quotes or proposals may annoy a prospect. Get each prospect to commit to a response date and arrange to go see them in person.
  7. Click to openclose more information about buying objectives
    Promote your quality
    What should you do when a prospects balks at the price? Respond by talking about the quality you offer. If you’re selling goods, tell them about the materials and careful craftsmanship. If you’re selling services, focus on the experience of your people, your commitment to customer care and the results you’ve obtained for other notable clients.
    Promote customer benefits
    Do you provide 24/7 technical support? Free delivery? Money-back guarantees? Justify your price by emphasizing the value-added services you offer.
    Find out how much they have to spend
    In the early stages of the selling process, ask your prospect about their budget. Often, they’ll tell you how much they want to spend. That lets you offer a solution that’s within their means. Keep in mind that many customers are willing to spend more than they first admit.
    Offer payment terms
    Help your prospects overcome “sticker shock” by offering payment terms. When you accept payment instalments over time, your prospects may realize how truly affordable you are.
    We ask for the entire purchase amount up front
    Your price may not scare off customers but your payment terms might. Asking for the full payment up front can put too much risk on your customer. Share that risk, by offering a payment plan that suits the customer and your business.
    We ask for 50% of the sale as a deposit
    Money is always better in your pocket, but not if it means losing a sale. Perhaps your best customers are offended when you charge 50% or more upfront. Consider changing your payment plan so that you charge smaller amounts over more time. It may be more comfortable and convenient for your customer.
    We only accept cheques or cash
    It’s easier for businesses and consumers to make a purchase if your payment options are convenient for them. Offer a variety of payment methods like: debit or credit card, VISA debit, money order, cash or cheque. Sign up for a merchant account to make it easier to process orders online, over the telephone, by fax or in person.
    Clarify the meaning of “timing”
    “It’s not the right time for us to buy,” could mean a variety of things so ask for clarification. You may find out your prospect does have the money to spend, but not until budgets are released next quarter or next year. Or that internal management has frozen spending for the moment. Chances are, your prospect will buy from you if you can work around their timing issues.
    Get to know the budget planning process of your business clients
    Learn when your best business clients are starting to plan their budgets for the next fiscal year. Arrange a meeting well before that date to discuss what sorts of activities or strategies they are planning for the upcoming year. Submit proposals or quotes early enough so that your services can be included in your client’s plan.
    Offer generous payment terms
    A timing issue could really be a cash flow issue. In other words, your prospect wants to buy from you but doesn’t have the funds right now. Negotiate payment terms over time that work for both of you.
    Give prospects a free taste
    Let your prospects try, taste, see or sample your product or service before they buy it. This “give-to-get” marketing approach can include offering a free trial, consultation, report, test drive, or free demonstration. One successful electronics retailer significantly boosted stereo speakers sales by letting potential buyers take a pair of speakers home for the weekend.
    Promote your previous related experience
    If you can’t promote your business experience because it’s a new company, leverage your professional work experience instead. Play up your achievements in your former job to demonstrate your qualifications to a potential business customer.
    Leverage endorsements
    Until you close a few sales and get some client testimonials, consider asking to use the name of a notable local business professional. Like an established author who endorses a book from a new writer, the endorsement of a reputable business owner may open sales doors.
    Remove purchase risk
    Make customers feel like they have nothing to lose when they buy from you. Let them pay you later. Offer an unconditional money-back guarantee. Promise full refund on merchandise with no questions asked. Arrange for other happy customers to speak with your prospects.
    Ask for a break
    You might be surprised at how many customers are willing to give you a chance. It’s very likely someone gave your customer a break early in their career. Look your customer in the eye and ask him or her to return the favour by trying out your new business or product.

Scotia Small Business Sales & Marketing Tool

Scotia Small Business Sales and Marketing Tool - Results
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Man with hard hat
Man with hard hat


You’re on your way to taking your business to the next level.
Based on the questions you’ve answered, you have a personalized report of suggestions, strategies and tactics that are right for your small business.

Use the report to plan your next marketing or sales initiative. Need help? Just contact a Scotiabank Small Business Advisor. We’re happy to review the report with you and help you figure out which strategies to use to turn your marketing and sales into more revenue and profits.

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