If you have a unique offering or two, broadening your sales to businesses might be a good way to increase your market share, especially during the holiday season.

According to Doug Fleener, president and managing partner of Lexington, Mass.-based Dynamic Experiences Group, “To get more corporate business, you need to narrow your focus and understand that companies are looking for three things: a simple process (you ship and handle so they don’t have to), a unique gift offering and a good price.”
 
 
 
Besides being uncharted territory for your store, there are some pitfalls when doing volume sales with company accounts. Fleener cautions that if something goes wrong, you can upset many people at once (e.g. the buyer, gift recipients, etc.). In addition, a large order can be financially risky. “Make sure you get a deposit, even if you know the company,” he advises.
 
Good marketing is critical when it comes to breaking into a new sales area. It’s a good idea to target certain companies or individuals who might benefit. “If you want to do it, you’ll need more than just a sign in your store,” Fleener says. Have brochures about your corporate sales program ready to hand out, he suggests.
 
 
It’s difficult to say how much, if any, of your business should be comprised of corporate sales, since it’s an individual decision. “Make sure what you’ve got to offer is something different. Be careful of selling bulk items in fairly wide distribution or you will get creamed on the internet,” Fleener advises.

 
Adapted from Christmas Source magazine