Monday, August 9, 2010

Economy Weak - What Do Salespeople Do?

Yes, we all know that, for the most part, the US Economy is still stinking up the place and we're all going to have to breathing this polluted air for some time to come.  Over the past few days, the Wall Street Journal has been heavily touting signs of a recovering economy.  If you're like our sales organization, our prospects haven't seen these articles.  "We've just got no money right now," is a common utterance at the end of most sales meetings.  Here's some practical time-tested ways of staying in front of potential sales during a down economy and close some business:

HOLD FAST.  Remember the tattoos on the knuckles of the seaman aboard the H.M.S. Surprise in the classic books and movie, "Master and Commander."  We can take a lesson from these old sailing vessels in the 17th century.  When the weather gets tough, just HOLD FAST.  Keep wind in the sails, tie the lines down hard and do your job.  The storm eventually fades.  We can do the same thing in this economic downturn.  Don't withdraw your position - HOLD FAST.  Increase your communication with prospects, tell them that you understand how difficult things can be and as any trusted partner would be - HOLD FAST together.

INVEST TO SAVE.  In times when customers may not but the latest and greatest product/service you have to offer, they may be looking for ways to keep their current products working as long as possible.  This is an excellent time to sell maintenance and support services or overhauls to their existing solutions.  Businesses want to get every penny out of their investments and drive these into the ground.  Your organization can help them keep what they have running better and longer.  These service opportunities keep you in front of the customer when the good times return.

PROVIDE VALUE THAT COSTS NEXT TO NOTHING.  Change your mindset for a moment.  What can you provide your prospects and customers that adds value to their company but doesn't cost anything (or very little) to you or your company?  Things like consulting services, solution assessments, training and help completely outside of the box can be fantastic ways to build the trusted relationship during times when a big sale just isn't possible.  My technology gives away a complete network assessment at no charge with an hour of additional free consulting services.  Even though these services may not bear fruit quickly, I cannot tell you how much our customers appreciate a proactive approach to their company.

Get one of those temporary tattoos on your knuckles:  HOLD FAST.

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