This Week Only! Super Widgets $9.99! Mention This Ad for Free Gift!

Does the above headline grab your attention? It should: it follows the trio of protocols for successful selling:

  1. Make it urgent — hence, time-limited;
  2. Make it a great deal;
  3. Make sure your customers know about it.

Urgency. Some large chains hold a different sale almost every week, and it works for them. But as a smaller business, this tactic can backfire, either making it appear that your “normal” prices are too high, that you’ve over-purchased, or any of a number of other scenarios that reflect poorly on your company’s image.

Instead, set the sale for a limited time: perhaps a weekend blowout, or a one-week only, end-of-season special sale. This makes it clear that your offering is a singular event that will not be repeated, and customers need to come in now in order to reap the savings. Trumpet the sale on a fabulous vinyl banner that can be hung above your storefront’s door or inside the shop, and place a sandwich board by the entrance to maximize foot traffic.

Savings. Be specific. Determine a discount price for the items you want to move, and offer this price for the time period of the sale. This way, people don’t think they’ll save more if they wait. Announce the actual price of the sale merchandise: snapping up formerly $59 pants for just $19.99 is more enticing to most people than hearing they can get them for 60 percent off.

Marketing. Contrary to popular belief, telemarketing can actually be a boon to occasional sales — as long as you don’t talk with the potential customer. Instead, call when you expect they will not be home — such as at midday — and leave a brief, friendly message on their voicemail inviting them to the spring sale, which you know, as a loyal customer, they won’t want to miss.

Presented this way, telemarketing can actually enhance your sales, experts say because it’s seen as no-hassle information to help loyal customers save money. And it doesn’t interrupt their dinner.