How to Boost Sales With a Plan B

BY: ON FRIDAY, DECEMBER 04, 2015

How would you like to increase demand for your product virtually overnight?

The way to do it is deceptively simple: find another use for your product and get people using it in that way. Remember when Avon’s Skin So Soft started to get used as an insect repellent. At first I was a little incredulous, but I tried it on some summer outings, and it worked as well, if not better than products marketed as insect repellents.

I believe it was users that made this discovery, and I’m not sure exactly what Avon thought at the time. But before too long they started marketing it as Skin So Soft Bug Guard, as well as with its original labeling.

As this use caught on with consumers, burly men out training their hunting dogs were slopping it on like it was going out of style. Avon must have at least doubled its market for this product.


Big Pharma knows it works

The major pharmaceutical companies are becoming the experts at this. As profitable drugs reach the end of their patent protection years, they go into full research mode to find other diseases that the drugs could treat. If they find one, they can get more years on their patent.

Most of us probably know Rogaine for its use in treating baldness. However, it was originally developed to treat high blood pressure.

Finding new applications for existing products (or services) extends the life of the product, opens up new markets and is a lot less expensive when compared to developing entirely new products.

Are those enough reasons to get you thinking seriously about it?

You don’t need to be in Big Pharma or one of the world’s largest multi-level marketing companies to pull this off. If you make or sell food products, for example, you can probably use this strategy.


A hot and saucy idea

Not long ago I heard about a company that sells a honey infused with spicy hot peppers. It puts a lot of effort into teaching its buyers different ways to use the condiment it makes.

Perhaps most people would think about using it on meat or poultry as a rub or dip. But show people enjoying it on their pizza or in their cocktails and you open up entirely new areas where it can be used.

Even if you don’t bring a whole new group of users onboard, your existing users will tend to go through their supplies faster when you can sell them on more ways to use the condiment.

I remember a video that was bouncing around Facebook for a while. The video came from a company that made an extra-long scarf and it showed a woman as she used the scarf in about 20 different ways. I had no idea a simple scarf could be so versatile.


Fire up your social media

What’s the key here? The key is to keep the lines of communication open between you and your customers. Showing your customers new ways to use your products is the ideal task for content marketing – blogs, videos and pictures posted to sites like Pinterest and Instagram.

And hey, if you can’t think of second and third uses for what you sell, crowdsource it: ask your customers. Have them post their pictures and videos to the social media. Make a contest out of it. Give it a hashtag like #WonderfulWaysWithWidgets.

It could be the easiest way to boost sales that you (or your customers) ever thought of!


Image via Shutterstock

About the Author

Susan Solovic

Susan Solovic, THE Small Business Expert, is an award-winning entrepreneur, keynote speaker, New York Times, WSJ and USA Today bestselling author, media personality and attorney.

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