During these economically difficult times, sales people and managers are asking the same question – “How do we create more results in today’s environment?”
While there are no silver bullets or 6th cavalry to charge in to our rescue this time, there are some things sales people can focus upon to improve their opportunities during this period. Following these four key tips will also position you favorably when things automatically improve.
Here are the four key tips for selling during hard times…
Four Tips for Selling in Hard Times
Be the One
Becoming the One a customer calls when they need help is a kin to being a hero for the customer. By hero, I’m not referring to running into a burning building – yet, the analogy is close. Your customers have different levels of performance and performance needs. While it is true that most are hurting in their own rights, some are doing very well in spite of economy. Therefore, it is time for you to help your customers in any way you can. Suggest joint ventures or partnerships to combine the synergies of compatible companies. Suggest outsourcing of production from companies needed more capacity to customers who are looking for more capacity to keep their doors open. Find ways to connect your customers with solutions to problems whether you sell anything or not. If you become the hero for helping a company to grow income or cut costs – you are the hero. I have seen sales people who look for opportunities to connect their customers for this purpose. It is no surprise when new contracts are being signed, the hero sales person gets a larger percentage of business even if the price is a little higher. So find ways to lower their costs, increase income opportunities, and find growth to climb out of the problem.
Become a Sales Alchemist
In this world of standardization, it is no wonder the sale person who views the world as a large chemistry set and feels the destiny to create a new formula of success using simple ideas and common products to create things of value. Well, the world awaits your arrival. You can arrive by using your mind to be more creative, imaginative and innovative in dealing with your customers today. Your customers are looking for sales people willing to help them innovate their way to new opportunities that create value for everyone involved.
You must be willing to think more about your customer and how to improve their situation. What could be done becomes the motivating question. Show your courage to present fresh new ideas to your customers – remember, what seems obvious to you can be hidden in plain site due to anxiety, stress and pressure to perform by the ones currently responsible for innovation.
Create Your Own Goals
Don’t be satisfied with goals that are passed down to you during this period. Challenge yourself to stretch your talent to new heights of goal achievement. Give more time to planning and thinking about growing your sales. How can you find new accounts, emerging growth companies and new opportunities for both products and service line extensions. The key to higher levels of goal achievement is the time you take thinking about ideal customers, target accounts, and new opportunities for growing your sales base. Think big and expect the best.
Deal with the “New Norm”
In case you missed this announcement during the past two years, things have radically changed. The Norm is no longer the old norm, it is the NEW NORM. It is time to get up and get out among your customers and the markets they are engaged to find the new opportunities. While the old saying of “work harder and work smarter at the same time” has been over used and misapplied by many a hard nosed sales manager, the reality is this. Your customers are stressed, under staffed and overworked, and time really is limited today. People who used to be available for several hours of dialogue with you, may only be willing to give you minutes of time today.
This means you must be willing to go the extra mile in serving your customers. Having appointments before “normal” hours or after hours may help both you and the customer to get things done in today’s stressful environment. Change your habits to meet the needs of your customers and they will be more willing to work with you – including giving you a larger percentage of business due to your efforts to meet the requirements of the new normal.
How well you prosper during these hard times is relative to the changes you are willing to make in your sales habits and methods. New competencies such as creativity, innovation and futurist thinking are more important today. The old norms have been replaced with new norms of time management, more technology and less one on one time than in the past. Are you willing to make the changes or are you trying to force the world and your customers to fit into the old system.
It is time to think and plan your actions more carefully to insure greater levels of success due to focused effort and execution. While challenging it can be fun if you remain positive and enjoy the new journey’s path.