Growing Sales in A Slow Economy
You can’t open a newspaper or turn on the television these days without hearing about the economy, the market, bankruptcy and recession.
It’s a scary, depressing time filled with doom and gloom. What’s happening with the economy? What will happen with your sales? With your business? With your job? Will you survive?
Let’s face facts: We are in difficult economic times and things will probably get worse before they get better. At this juncture, business owners and sales professionals have only two courses of action available to them:
Growing Sales in a Tough Economy
Option 1. Tighten your belts, cut costs, increase discounts and accept lower sales revenues and a shorter, smaller bottom line. Hunker down and hope that you will survive till good times come around again.
Option 2. Sharpen, refine and increase your prospecting and sales skills, and look for new opportunity.
Yes, look for new opportunity. While other business owners and sales professionals are busily tightening their belts, cutting costs, increasing discounts and accepting lower sales and lower sales revenue, opportunity is there for those who take action.
Most companies (including your competition) will be doing less and doing with less: They’ll be cutting out marketing, they’ll stop prospecting, they will discount – and they’ll be scared to death to approach current customers for more business for fear of alienating and losing those customers altogether.
Tough Economic Times? Growing Your Business and Generating Sales
Because of the way most companies will react to the economic crisis, this is actually a good time to build your pipeline, win new business and expand your market. The key to flourishing during difficult times is not to simply work harder; it’s to work smarter.
Here are some actions that you can start today to insure that your sales maintain and grow:
1. Increase your sales skills.
Prospecting and selling are communication skills and like any communication skills they can be learned and improved upon. If you are not closing sales, it could be the economy; it could also be that your skills need sharpening. Great sales skills will enable you to take advantage of the opportunities that do exist. Great sales skills will enable you to close sales even during difficult times. Conversely, not having the skills will allow potential sales to slip through your fingers. If business is really slow, use some of that extra time for education.
2. Increase the number of qualified prospects you reach directly.
In difficult economic times many companies, business owners and entrepreneurs cut costs by cutting out marketing and prospecting efforts. This is a huge mistake. While this is probably not the time to be spending large sums of money on brand new initiatives, it is imperative to continue low cost marketing and prospecting activities. Without prospecting, sales do not grow.
One of the best, and least expensive sales/marketing activities you can initiate is to use the telephone. Call potential new customers to introduce yourself. Call existing customers to potentially sell more products/services, sell additional products/services and/or gather referrals. Calls to existing customers are also imperative because you especially want to increase customer loyalty. See #3 next.
3. Make inroads on your competition’s customers.
When times are tough customer loyalty is shaky. This could be the perfect time to increase your market share by targeting your competition’s customers. Perhaps there is another product/service that you offer that your competition does not. Perhaps your offering is less expensive and/or adds value in a way that your competition does not. This is a great time to introduce yourself and your company/products/services to your competitions’ customers.
4. Find new applications and/or new markets for the products and services you represent.
Can your products/services be used in nontraditional ways? Are there other markets that are potentially in need of your products/services? This is the time to explore these new applications and markets. If you find that your traditional market is drying up… Look elsewhere.
5. Find new ways to help existing customers and potential customers.
The easiest sales to close are sales to existing customers. They already have a relationship with you. They know you and they trust you. Go back to your existing customers with new applications, add-on’s and improvements for your existing products/services. Find new ways to help. Your customers will respond.
The five tips above all have one thing in common: They require action. You cannot allow fear and anxiety about the economy to paralyze you. Instead, focus on what you can accomplish and take steps to do so.
Today, more than ever, it is imperative to reach out to new prospects and to existing customers. Don’t be one of the many who are waiting with their fingers crossed for the tough economy to improve. Instead, keep taking proactive steps to build your sales pipeline and generate sales revenue. This is what will help you weather this economic crisis and come out of it successful and well positioned for even more growth in the future.