Despite the new Administration in Washington touting change and hope, pessimism seems to be the most abundant emotion these days. However, the difficult economic environment is the best time to prove the value that you offer your customers. If your business is struggling, the following 8 tips can help you grow this year.
1. Don’t stop selling. There is less competition now for the services you sell. That means, there are less sales calls being made to your prospects and buyers. Now is the time to ratchet up your sales efforts. Create opportunities for people looking for work. Don’t have a budget for new salespeople? Hire commission only sales reps but give them the resources that they need to be effective. Don’t create hurdles, build runways. Not all of them will get airborne, but the ones that do will give your company a major lift.
2. Measure marketing response rates. Keep your marketing efforts going, but make sure that you are carefully evaluating the responsiveness of your campaigns. Eliminate non-performing campaigns and redouble your performing ones.
3. Government spending. The Obama administration is spending a trillion dollars to revive the economy. Find a way to tap into that avalanche of funds. Target the recipients of that cashflow if you can. Research ways you can make your business benefit from this spending.
4. Focus on the products that sell. If you have products that are not selling, remove them from your catalog. Focus on the products that are moving and expand your market for those products.
5. Think like a winner. Nothing demotivates like fear. How can you make another sales call if you are in a panic about your bills and mortgage? When you wake up in the morning, take a deep breath, get the blood flowing with some exercise, and go to work with the attitude that today you are going to ‘climb the mountain’ and make things happen. If the leadership in your company is not an inspiration, be that needed inspiration to others. Confidence sells. Desperation repels.
6. Reduce layoffs. Find ways to keep your performing staff. It is better to institute a 4-day workweek or even pay-cuts than to hand out pink slips. Laying people off sends a dismal message to your remaining employees and current customers. Customers don’t want to do business with a company that they perceive is going down the tubes. And losing customers and good staff can only make your problems worse. Ask your employees for ideas to save money, and reward those who come up with innovative solutions.
7. Connect with customers. It is critical to strengthen your business relationships. Visit a good customer that you have not seen in a while and make sure that you are doing everything you can to provide value to that customer. Face to face meetings show your interest in the customer. Build on your established relationships and grow those accounts.
8. Get customer feedback. Make your customers feel like you are on their team. With the exception of a few industries like bankruptcy law firms and dollar stores, your customers are probably feeling the effects of the downturn as well. Ask your customers what you can do for them to increase your value. If your customers are happy, ask for referrals. If they are not happy, listen to the complaint very carefully and take action. You cannot tell if the captain of the ship is good until a storm hits. Let your customers know that we are in this together and we will weather the storm.