There is Light At the End of the Tunnel

There is Light At the End of the Tunnel

Have you read the articles that predicted the closing of the recession? The front page of Newsweek said that the recession was over, but the recovery isn’t easy? Economic experts do believe that the fundamentals of a recession that is deep are now behind us. What’s the next step?

Everyone is anticipating winners and losers, just as the handicappers at the racetrack for horses. Which industries are most likely to recover first, and which are in danger of failing for the rest of their lives? It is possible to adopt the approach of a crystal ball and pray that things change in your favor or take action to break out of the tunnel back into the bright light. It’s dependent on the perspective that you are in half-full or half-empty.

Your competitors and most companies are focused on the present. Cut costs further, put off hiring, or perhaps contemplating cutting staff in order to survive the storm with just a skeleton staff. The ability to make today’s numbers count is crucial for the survival of your company, but if you place all your eggs into “today’s” basket and lose tomorrow, you’ll be in the red. Here are a few simple tips to ensure that the fourth quarter of your business and the year 2010 will be more vibrant than they seem today.

1. Explore the depths of your current customer list from your first quarter.

What’s your plan of action to keep, increase sales, or gain referrals from these customers? Have you had a quick review with them to determine what’s changed since they’ve done business with you during the winter? In the current economic environment, I’ll bet that the company has changed…don’t just wait for a new vendor to come in with new ideas.

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2. Plan

Have plans for everyone. Create a written sales strategy for your team. Leave the premises or shut the door and meet with your team (make it fun and interactive, and not just the lecture) and define goals as well as timelines and a plan of action to increase your sales through the year by incorporating the input of your team. Include milestones that you can review your progress as well as incentives for your employees to be rewarded members for their hard work. It is crucial to ensure their support and participation in this process.

3. Tune It Up

Refresh your sales materials and presentations. If you’re using the same templates and concepts that you used three years ago…guess what…you will be under-sold in this “new economic climate.” Change and combine. Find out what’s effective in keeping and upselling your top customers. You can use these tips to attract new customers or ones who haven’t been engaged for a while.

4. Be visible

make yourself known and get out in the field. Set high-quality benchmarks for your salespeople and management to identify your most popular customers as well as your most current customers. You should also be able to identify your target accounts. Nothing beats a face-to personal meeting with a customer to discover objections, find out what your competitors are doing, and identifying new opportunities, and then how to close the deal that might have been “stuck.” It’s too fast to allow a quick email or a phone call “to connect with customers” to be considered an authentic customer interaction.

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5. Go Richer

Get deeper – establish goals to increase the quantity and quality of contact within your customer’s business. This can be a preventative measure to protect against a fierce rival, pricing wars, as well as sales, turn over. If three or more people in your business are working in a conversation with three or more your customer’s level, you have the best chance of keeping and growing the customer.

6. Be ahead of the Game Budget

season is here, and everyone is salivating and getting ready to launch Excel and get their advisors involved in planning for the year 2010. Be in front of your customers and request feedback about what they are anticipating and how it can affect your working relationship. Don’t put it off; many companies are already in the process of completing their plans for the year ahead.

7. Keep in touch Be In Touch Non-“ask to sell” contacts.

Many times, companies can do business with sellers but do not possess “a contact.” The common refrain I hear time and again is “they only call to inquire for business or if they have a deal to offer me something.” Businesses are looking for value…they need a relationship…they require a partner who can assist them in what could be the most challenging selling environment they’ve ever encountered. Birthdays, anniversary cards, thank-you cards, and Christmas gifts are all worth it. These little gestures make your customer feel like you care about them, not only about the purchase.

8. Keep your eyes on your “hedgehog”

Reduce the losses ….too many companies seeking to increase sales expand their offerings, and use a “paintball method” to win customers. If something isn’t profitable and is not a primary business for you, then get it done. Concentrate your time and money where you are able to be number one or two and make each day contribute to this. The focus wins every time, and the best part is that it could be easier than you imagine, as your competitors are shaky and trying to create “today.” What you’re most adept at – and repeating it over and over will help you mine your hedgehog.

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If you’re feeling like the dark is closing in and the light is slowly slipping away…step out of your daily goals for billing as well as this week’s leads the percentage you’re behind in the past year and focus on these actions to not only affect your business today, but in the next day’s, but also in the month to come and then next year.