Eight business survival tactics for a sales crisis. Emergency actions for a sales improvement plan. Fix sales problems and deal with sales challenges.
"No problem can withstand the assault of sustained thinking" penned Voltaire. Use these principles to prepare a sales improvement plan, rally staff, renew motivation, and redouble efforts in challenging times. Apply better thinking to increase sales.
- Get more proof that your stuff does what you promise Go back to your best customers and ask them if they got the results they were expecting. Seek facts not permission. Verifiable evidence convinces ahead of sales skills. How much money or value does your stuff contribute to the customer’s bottom line and how could a customer verify the truth of your promise. When you have proof, increasing the number of opportunities is simply a matter of bringing evidence to the attention of people for whom it is most compelling.
- Develop better messaging If you have acted on step one, use the newly gathered proof and use it to improve communication. Develop existing messages and create new, more powerful descriptions of the profit or value your stuff offers. Every time I do this, I find better ways to communicate value. Ask existing customers, business partners, and suppliers to help by reviewing new messages and giving feedback. Use the new improved messages to inspire staff, develop skills, grab prospect interest, and to spawn new promotions.
- Find prospects less affected by the downturn Some sectors are shrinking less or still growing. Quantify the impact of the falling market on each market, sector, or customer type for easy comparison. Focus on customers and groups who are least affected by the downturn and most accessible to your approach. New market opportunities continuously emerge so no matter how often you re-examine your market potential, there are always new possibilities to explore.
- Define a definite strategy If you already have an effective strategy, refresh it and refocus attention on it. Having a clear approach increases belief and bolsters morale. The actions necessary to execute a strategy should be obvious. If not, revisit the strategy and improve it until it dictates the right actions.
- Organise group prospecting sessions Group prospecting can be highly motivating. Friendly competition fuelled by challenges, small wagers, or prizes of any description can give such sessions a party atmosphere and the results can be astonishing. Be sure to celebrate at every opportunity.
- Focus extra resources on selected prospects Launch planned campaigns that include a varied approach – phone, voice mail, email, letter, postcard, introduction, and even fax. Like advertising, effective prospecting depends on repetition and persistence.
- Have the customer quantify the cost of inaction Establish a compelling business case by emphasising the importance of getting the evidence before progressing the sale. It is a brave manager who spends money in a downturn without a concrete business case.
- Upgrade skills Read books. Search the internet for ideas. Attend or study a top training course for new ideas. Make use of the Sales Success Formula.
It is easy to use a sales crisis as an excuse for inaction. Instead redouble efforts and create a sales improvement plan.
Apply more brain power to improve efficiency. Business survival may depend on ability to maintain or increase business in the face of sales problems.
Sales performance is much like athletic performance. Talent alone is not enough. Forethought, planning, and preparation ensures success.
Article by Clive Miller
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