How to Sell When Nobody is Buying?
The current Covid19 situation is unique but actually every decade or so we face enormous challenges – stock market crashes, recessions, depressions and even political changes like elections and Brexit create very negative environments for business. This is obvious and doesn’t need much discussion. Business hates uncertainty.
So, here we are in a highly cautious business environment. It seems that nobody is buying and so what is the best sales approach?
- Remember this situation is temporary. Week or months the situation will pass, and we will get on with our lives.The key is to make sure we manage as best we can through the toughest part and land on our feet. Start off by checking your negative, depressed, doom and gloom mentality at the door and get ready to get on with business. Don’t focus on the current situation focus on the future and the steps you can take today to make that future brighter.
- List your resources and assets and brainstorm new markets. Don’t focus just on your current business model but look at your assets and think creatively on potential markets. In 1892, Wrigley began packaging chewing gum with each can of baking powder. The chewing gum eventually became more popular than the baking powder, and Wrigley’s reoriented the business to produce the gum and build a global empire. Currently, there are food wholesalers selling bulk food to consumers to bring cash in the door. Michelin rated restaurants are offering home delivery. Brainstorm all the potential customers for your business and see if you can develop a new or even temporary market. Maybe you can offer hefty discounts for customers to buy longer subscriptions or for bulk purchases.
- Work with your current customers. Chances are your current clients want you to succeed and thrive because they want to do business with you in the future. Perhaps you can pre-sell your services or products for future delivery. Lots of business and consumers have money to invest and might consider prepaying to keep you in business. In fact, customer financing is how many businesses grow all the time.
- Dig your well before you’re thirsty – dig faster! Now is absolutely the best time to put your networking in overdrive. Every connection is a potential customer or referer for your business. Go through all of your contacts and connect with everyone on LinkedIn. Remember that every connection can become a customer, refer a customer, introduce you to somebody helpful or, just spread the good news of your business. Remember the Six Degrees of Separation?
- Work your Pipeline. A sales pipeline is the relationship flow of leads from new prospects to sold customers. The activity of nurturing prospective relationships is really the important work of managing the pipeline. People are not always ready to buy, but if they are pre-qualified prospects then they have the potential to buy and it is worth developing a process to keep in touch and try to move them along the customer journey.
- Mine your CRM. Very closely related to your pipeline is your CRM. So many companies do not actively update, correct or mine the data in their CRM. Potentially, there is a vast amount of information that, if kept up-to-date, is the source of lots of new business. Forgotten customers, old trade show leads, marketing responses and inquiries that were just never followed up.Slower periods give the time to clean up the CRM and find the contacts that have value.
- Connect, connect, connect. Pick up the phone, send an email, post a letter, send an email newsletter, write a blog post, post regularly on social media, and engage as much as possible. Potential clients could be seeking a solution now or in the very near future. Be top of mind!
- Get as many client reviews as possible. Google local/maps is a great place to start and can generate tremendous traffic to your website and even make the phone ring. There are lots of review websites – Google, Yell, Trustpilot, Facebook and even Glassdoor where your employees can postpositive reviews. Reviews have a huge power in driving customer decisions and even help your SEO. It is hard work getting customers to write reviews, but the results are certainly worth the effort – social proof is an amazing contributor to buyer confidence.
- If you can afford to – poach top sales performers. When times are tough even great companies will cut salaries, bonuses and even earned commissions. These actions may seem unavoidable but sometimes top-performers become disappointed and open to offers from competitors. Hiring a true industry top sales-performer is a game changer for your business and worth considering if you have the money to spend during turn downs. Top performers are rainmakers and when the economy turns up again they will deliver business changing results for your company!
Be better than your competition.
It doesn’t take a lot to be above average. It just takes doing a bit more than the average performers will to do. Action is everything and when economies go into shock most people and companies simply fail to act. Don’t let that be you – do something today.