Most likely, your company will have modest beginnings as a one- or two-person operation. However, just because you don't have two nickels to rub together doesn't mean that you can't have an elite sales force at your command for free—or close to it. There are many ways to generate sales without your direct involvement. Here are eight ways to amplify your sales efforts.
1. Split paydays to use someone else's salespeople. If you have a great service that complements another business's service offering, ask them to sell it for you in exchange for a gross revenue share.
2. Bribe influencers to spread the word. If your niche marketplace has a few noteworthy tastemakers, experts, or semi-celebrities, encourage them to talk about your brand. Recruit them to be part of your team by offering them the opportunity to test your service for free or offer heavily discounted services to their fans.
3. Turn customers into brand ambassadors. Happy customers are your best salespeople. Give them a reason to sell to their friends and colleagues by offering them something worth talking about—or an offer worth working for.
4. Sell using social buying sites. Services such as Groupon.com, SocialBuy.com, and LivingSocial.com allow you to get your product or service in front of tens of thousands of potential consumers in a matter of minutes by offering their online subscribers exclusive discounted deals.
5. Build an affiliate network. Offer an online affiliate program that gives anyone and everyone the opportunity to sell your product or service for commission. As your online sales increase, you may also be able to significantly increase the size of your affiliate program by becoming eligible to work with services such as Commission Junction (CJ.com).
6. Convert online leads into customers with avatars and virtual spokespeople. Services such as Sitepal.com and YakkingHeads.com let you create animated avatars and virtual spokespeople on your Web site to answer frequently asked questions, pitch your service, and tell people how to buy instantly.
7. Sell products in online marketplaces. Services such as eBay.com, Amazon.com, StoreEnvy.com, and CafePress.com allow you to create customized online stores where you can sell your products to a global audience 24/7.
8. Keep your brand in customers' minds with "retargeting." Web sites such as AdRoll.com offer retargeting advertising services that use customized display ads to draw previous visitors (who didn't convert into customers) back to your site.