How to turn your invoice into a sales tool

The Small Business Coach

As a small business owner, I’m always looking for more ways to sell more of my services. A good way I’ve found of doing this, is to document the end to end customer journey and then take each stage and explore whether there’s an untapped opportunity to sell. A classic example is at the invoicing stage. By this point your customer has already purchased from you and has probably already utilised your product or services, but that doesn’t mean the customer journey is finished. On the contrary, this is potentially the start of a new, bigger sales cycle. You just need to think of your invoice as more than a piece of paper telling your customer how much they owe. Here’s some ideas to help you grab your next sale.

Showcase other products
One of the simplest ways to add value is by showcasing other products you offer that you believe the customer might find useful. Let’s say you’re an accountancy practice, why not bring to your client’s attention that you offer a business review, a business planning service or maybe even a part-time CFO function. Web design agencies who also offer marketing services may choose to bring these to their client’s attention. What about an MOT centre? Maybe you also offer oil changes or new tyres. This strategy really can work for any business.

The bottom line is, this customer has already purchased from you and so they’ve already passed through the “trust barrier”. You now need to educate them on how else you can add value to their lives so they become long term customers.

Special offers or bundles
Showcasing your products allows you to educate your customers about what you offer. Providing a time-limited special offer however, brings a level of urgency to the purchase. Make sure the customer knows that the special offer is only open to much-valued existing customers and won’t be available next time around.

Top Tip: Instead of offering a discount, why not offer something extra for free. That way the average “basket value” of your customers will be higher. It works in much the same way as the “happy meal” does for McDonalds. If you are dead set on offering a discount, offer it on multiple purchases or long-term contracts only. For example, if your customer normally signs up for a month of services, offer them a 20% discount for signing up (and paying for) 3 months up front.

Advertise a referral scheme
The best sales people in the world are your existing customers so encourage them to talk about your business by starting and promoting a referral scheme. The scheme doesn’t have to pay out money. Instead it can be used to offer your existing customers a discount on their future invoices. This is particularly powerful if you have customers who are on a retainer or recurring contract. Make sure your referral T&C’s state that the referral discount is only activated once the person that’s been referred pays their first invoice. That way you won’t lose out if the referral gets cold feet.

Offer a discount or freebie in return for a case study or review
How many of you read case studies or product / company reviews before making a purchase? Quite a lot I’m guessing. Reviews and case studies are really powerful tools when it comes to selling so the more you have, the better. A great way of encouraging your existing customers to get involved, particularly if they are short on time, is to appeal to their pocket. Offer a freebie or a discount in return for their time and effort in writing a review or being involved in a case study.

So there’s four simple ways you can turn your invoice into a sales tool. If you’ve found this article useful, please share it with your connections.

For more information on the small business coach and how I can help with your business, please visit the services page. Thanks