Experts reveal marketing's tricks of the trade

Boosting sales is the Holy Grail for business people worldwide. Kate Jones compiled these tips.

Boosting sales is the Holy Grail for business people worldwide. Kate Jones compiled these tips.

It's not all about you

So many businesses assume customers are interested in their backstory - the company's history, who's in charge. Truth is, so many people just don't care.

Sales Seduction author Rhondalynn Korolak said some customers will instantly zone out and, in doing so, decide not to buy.

"Some businesses are so full of crap about themselves and their brand," she said. "The customers, however, don't give a damn about your brand; they care about finding a solution."

Safety in numbers

A pop-up message system telling customers of recent purchases made internationally or locally is a feature of many online stores.

Chief executive of online wine retailer Andre Eikmeier said such systems were becoming more popular as retailers realised the value of a psychological theory called social proofing (herd mentality). "We're a tribe-based race and like to do things together," he said. "It's the equivalent of the busy restaurant concept. We all want what everybody else wants."

Put a limit on it

Put a little pressure on your customers by telling them your sale is limited and your sale stock is limited. Try tags such as "selling fast" or "almost gone" to give customers a little nudge.

Guerilla marketing

Customer strategist and publicist Brian James (pictured) said selling works best when done assertively.

"In Australia we're too polite and staff have become order takers, not salespeople," he said. "Most sales people wait for customers to magically come inside. You need to step outside your comfort zone and do something to entice people. It's part charm, part pushiness."

Value-adding for the customer equals increased value for business

Giving customers that unexpected extra gives them a reason to remember your service, a reason to come back and something to tell their friends.

"Make them a special offer, invite them to events, give them discount vouchers," Mr James said.

Emphasise the feeling of missing out

No one likes missing a bargain, so make sure your marketing highlights the lost opportunities if customers don't purchase your product.

"Focus on what people will miss out on if they don't buy and this helps people justify the purchase to themselves and to others," Mr Eikmeier said. "So offer something at half price, but only for 24 hours."


Now the subject of university degrees, neuro-marketing is fairly complex. It is all about the way a consumer's brain reacts to marketing stimuli.

So many of our decisions are made instantly - whether to walk into a store or not, to click "buy" or not. Neuro-marketing examines how those decisions are made and how to trigger the parts of the brain making them. It may not be worth going back to school for, but it is worth knowing the basics.

Check your advertising

Go back to basics and analyse which advertising is working for your business.

"Most businesses who have been around for years can cut a substantial amount off their marketing and PR budget and still achieve more in sales," Ms Korolak said. "Talk to your customers, directly market to them and build a relationship with them."

Tell your friends

Offering discounts to customers who introduce their friends is one of the oldest and most successful sales tricks.

Mr Eikmeier said it is the most effective way of signing up new members at Vinomofo, where customers who invite friends receive a $10 credit.

"Your customers' friends will probably be interested in the same things, so empower and incentivise them to share their purchases," he said.

Make sure your offer is the best

The golden rule for all sales people.

Mr Eikmeier said the best offer always combines the best product with the best price.

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