November 12, 2008

More Tips on Selling in a Slow-Down

You may have read my complaints about the level of negativity at some recent business events I attended and my conviction about staying positive in spite of the market downturn.

Well, when up to a hundred consultants get together there are certain to be lots of ideas shared on how to take business challenges and that most topical one of the moment – the slow-down.

Here are some of the most useful pieces of advice shared among consultants recently:

- Demonstrate that you can really add value, explain a drop dead difference and be clear about the business outcome of what you are proposing.

- Reflect the clients changing priorities (cutting costs, etc.) and help them to deal with the impact of the recession. Empathize with their business challenges.

- Recession is the motivation for many firms to fundamentally change their business model (out-sourcing, new routes to market, etc.). Those companies that implement 'knee jerk' reactions to the slow-down (e.g. making less than surgical cost cuts) significantly underperform in the longer term those that take a more strategic approach to dealing with a slow-down. So, there is a positive side.

- It is not about relying on RFPs – you have to talk to prospects about new ideas that can impact on their business – you have to create the opportunities not just reply to requests for tender.

- Sell higher in prospect organizations, it is not enough to sell to the IT director, you have got to create the business drive behind the IT solution that you are selling with the COO, CEO, etc. In times of a slow-down decisions must be shown to impact on business performance and must win the approval of the CEO.

- If you are a consultant, be careful as it is often the first and often the least painful area to get cut in a slown-down. That is because consulting has an image problem and its professionals need to do something about it. What is the problem? Well, value (as addressed in the points above).

See here for more sales related tips on selling in a slow-down.

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