In 2007, many businesses began to suffer when the national housing bubble burst and resulted in a global financial crisis. Over the next three years many people lost their jobs, their homes and some businesses had to close. It’s scary to think about, but when the economic bottom drops out, you must be prepared for radical change. Ironically, some of the best sales tactics in a sluggish economy are the ones that got you where you are. You may, however, need to increase your energy level and adjust your focus.
The Best Sales Tactics Focus on the Customer
Market swings and economic downturns can be anticipated. Unfortunately, they will continue to frustrate the progress of companies despite the value of their product or service. Fretting about the economy is a waste of time. Therefore, your efforts are best spent on finding people who want your product and demonstrating why they should buy from you.
Who’s Buying and Why?
Laura Dolan, writing for keap.com, a sales automation company, stresses the importance of knowing your customers’ buying patterns. Additionally, you need to assess how the slowdown is impacting their business. Becoming a problem solver and engaging on a personal level demonstrates your willingness to put them ahead of your own concerns. This can also lead to repeat business and possibly shut out the competition. Importantly, this is the opportunity to act as a consultant. You can share industry information that will help them navigate these times of uncertainty. Dolan acknowledges that dollars and cents are a key concern. Often the best sales tactics involve making an airtight financial case supporting your product.
Prepare for Intense Financial Scrutiny
A volatile economy changes the game for salespeople, according to Matt Prosko, head of sales for TaskHuman, an employee coaching platform. Unfortunately, sellers may find they are competing for dollars allocated to various internal departments heretofore unrelated. Crucially, they’re asked to justify their product and its impact on the client’s top-line revenue. Importantly, if your product can help existing employees do more with less, then this becomes one of your best sales tactics. Similarly, if you can tell the story of how your product helps your other customers overcome uncertainty and build confidence, you need to lead your prospects on this path.
Sales Tips for a Potential Slowdown
Rene Zamora, the president of Sales Manager Now has updated an article originally written in 2009 and offers the best sales tactics for thriving in bad times. Zamora’s tips require sellers to get serious about assessing their own skills and building on the things that work for them. Do things like:
- Grow your contacts
- Market yourself to new prospects daily
- Focus on larger businesses
- Pick industries that are less vulnerable to slowdowns
- Ask for referrals consistently
- Re-work your customer databases and look for dormant accounts
- Get creative with finance packages and product combinations
- Create lower price points with lower-end products or scaled-back services
- Offer a satisfaction guarantee to minimize client risk
- Devise an incentive program for repeat business
Right Stuff, Right Place, Right Time
Downturns and recessions are inevitable. While they are challenging and worrisome you need to remember why you chose a career in sales. Your relationships with your customers allow you to make direct contact and use their feedback to guide your efforts. Importantly, if your product is right, delivered on time to where it is needed then you have the basis for further opportunity. Evaluating your processes and procedures, while building your credibility, can help prepare for the future, while including your customers in the consideration, solidifies that bond.
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