November 04, 2008

Selling in a Down-turn

In the mist of all the doom and gloom here are 5 tips managers are applying to gain a higher proportion of a smaller number of orders during the slowdown and be primed and to be ready when the downturn is over.

1. Stay positive

It is vitally important not to succumb to the negativity that will
de-motivate and paralyze so many. Don't get involved in complaining - the
market is still big, even in a downturn.

2. Re-double your Sales Efforts (work harder)

- Increase the level of sales activity - a market downturn means you
are going to have to work harder. If you did 6 sales calls last month
then do 8 or 10 this month.
- There are still people buying so be proactive – get out from behind the desk more often and get in front of more potential customers.

3. Focus on sales effectiveness (work smarter)

- Revisit your sales proposition - can you offer the customer a more compelling reason to buy?
- Put a personal, as well as a business; sales plan or campaign
together so as to guide you in what needs to be done.
- Sharpen your sales skills, take a sales course, attend a seminar, or
buy a book/audio cassette.
- When budgets are tight it is important to sell higher (i.e. to more
senior level managers)
- Prequalify early and often, it is important to focus your sales
energies where they can deliver results
- Look at ways of reducing the level of risk / commitment on the part
of new customers (e.g. small initial assignment, pilot project,
phasing of payment, etc.)

4. Leverage what you have got

- Leverage your customers and contacts - ask for referrals and
recommendations from them
- Follow up all leads and revisit any dormant accounts
- Focus on cross selling and up-selling among your existing customer base

5. Help your customers through the down-turn

- Show how your solutions/services can cut costs, or increase
sales in their business.
- Keep customers, by growing relationships and improving service

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