Too many people blame the economy for a downturn in sales. In reality, they just aren’t adjusting to the circumstances around them. In a good economy prospects for your products/services abound. The process you employ to find them and sell to them should reflect the makeup of those many possible clients.
In a challenging economy, the landscape changes. Buying strategies shift, so you must shift your process. Before you go thinking the sky is falling, remember this – people still buy when the economy is tough. The questions are – who and why.
When times are good, people buy because of need or desire. When times get tougher, the ‘desire’ purchases dwindle but the ‘need’ purchases remain. They may look different, but they ARE there. Given that our current economic situation is tending toward the tougher side, we’re going to look at those ‘need’ prospects and leave the ‘desire’ prospects for better times.
There is no doubt that selling in a tight economy takes work. You have to dig to find those people who need your product or service. So, how do you discover who and where those prospects are? Go back to basics.
1. Ask yourself these questions: What is the real value of my product/service? How will my product/service solve a problem; improve someone’s business; enhance their bottom line; improve their life? Remember, we’re talking about need here. Most people offer a product or service that is needed by a pool of prospective clients.
2. Once you’ve figured that out, determine where the people are who need your product or service. A great way to figure this out is to look at your current client base. Who are they? How did they become clients? Where are they? One strategy that I find works well is to critique your best clients. Take a look at them and identify the reasons they came to you. Then start researching other companies/individuals who match some or all of those characteristics. Sometimes it’s as easy as vertical marketing.
3. Finally, explore the best way to let them know about the value of your product or service. Once you have a clear view of your product or service’s value, and you’ve identified the people who need it, it’s time to figure out how to get in front of them. Don’t be afraid to try something different or out of the norm. Grabbing someone’s attention is key – especially in tough times. If you follow the same old, tried and true methods, you may not get through. Get creative!
I said earlier that this takes work. All sales takes work. It doesn’t have to be hard work! In this situation it is best to take a different view of things. Step outside of what you are used to doing and look at the possibilities from a different angle. After all, you’re in a different climate now, aren’t you? Don’t be afraid to challenge what you believe to be true.
Are you doing everything you can for your current clients? If you have clients with multiple departments or locations, there’s a good chance you aren’t handling all of the work for all of them. Now is an ideal time to go deep. Explore inside your current customers to see if you can establish additional relationships and add depth to your connection. That depth will serve you in good and bad times.
You may find that you aren’t as busy as you are used to being. No problem. Now is the perfect time to reconnect with your clients. Take them to lunch or coffee. What a great opportunity to learn more about them and their business. You might be surprised by what you learn.
There are most likely plenty of networking events to attend. In the past, you may have been too busy to go to the meetings you wanted to. Guess what? Now you can! So, check them out. Find out what’s going on around your town. And don’t limit yourself to business events. What about civic and social organizations and events? You never know who you’ll meet and what you’ll discover.
When you know how your product or service brings value to a client you can then ask yourself this question – who knows what my client needs? Here’s an example: towing companies most likely know when someone’s car is in need of repair or replacement. Wouldn’t it help a car salesperson to establish a relationship with some towing companies in their area? How great would it be for that salesperson to be recommended?! Now he has other people looking out for him and referring him to people he would probably not even know about otherwise. Building those alliances is invaluable.
Box or Parallelogram
You know the saying ‘think outside the box?’ Why not think differently about the box. Get creative with your marketing. In a tight market, when it’s more competitive, you need to stand out from the crowd. When you offer the same product or service as many others in town, how do you differentiate yourself? Market in a way that is memorable.
Those people who struggle in a challenging economy just aren’t trying. Harsh words, for sure. And yet, true. You can’t keep doing things the same way and expect the same results because times have changed. And if you blame your lack of sales on the economy, you aren’t trying at all, are you?
After you’ve thought about it, set up a plan of attack. Keep it focused and structured. You have to take action to create the energy for your business. If you wait for the phone to ring, or someone to walk through the door, you’ll be sunk. Go get ‘em! Get out and meet people; find out what’s going on with the businesses and people around you. Establish the connections. Find the need!!
You’ll feel better because you’ll be doing SOMETHING. And something is always better than nothing. So start today – grab a pad and a pen and begin the process of selling in a challenging environment.
Copyright© 2009 Seize True Success
Although this material is subject to copyright, you may reprint this publication, in whole or in part, in your company publication, in training, presentations, or wherever you feel it would be of benefit. This also holds true for members of the media. All I ask is that you include the following: Reprinted with permission from Diane Helbig, Seize True Success. http://ping.fm/THgjF