Sales Strategies: Getting Fit and Lean in a Changing Economy

By Anne Sexton - Last update

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Do we have to bow to the changing cycles in the economy and fear the worst? No! We have to get leaner and fitter in our sales approach and start adapting to our customer’s behaviours. Here we have a look at ten smart strategies. These will ensure lean, but not hungry, no matter what the economic climate.

In an uncertain economic climate, the challenge is to hold on to, as well as grow your market share. You do this by fine-tuning your selling skills and sales techniques. When the economic climate changes, customers become more discerning and cautious. What’s more, they have more players vying for their business. Your job is to make your product or service the one of choice. Here are some tips for growing your business in a changing economic climate:

1. Study your customer behaviour more closely

Ask yourself some key questions.

  • Who or what is changing, if anything?
  • What do I need to do differently now to win this business?

You may need to visit some existing clients and find out how they perceive the value of your offering and make some strategic adjustments to how you sell.

2. Develop a resilient mindset

Resilience, efficiency, smart strategies, time management are the key skills for a creating healthy sales pipeline. Somebody is buying the product in the market, so make sure it is yours! Get in front of the right person, at the right time and be convinced of your power to influence. Ramp up your confidence in yourself and your product or service. You have to work that little bit harder, but the market is still there for the sales people who are continually raising their game.

3. Turn your product into a ‘need-to-have’, rather than a ‘nice-to-have’

Turn the features of your products into the benefits your customer needs and the value they want today. If you can, demonstrate how they cannot do without you. For example, if you can associate business pain with not having your product, and pleasure of profit in having it, the sale is yours!

Drop the generic sales pitch. Pitch very specifically to the value your customer links to your product.

  • How is this customer different?
  • What do they need that your competitors are not giving them?
  • What do they need to hear from you today?


4. Prospect quality prospects only

Get to the “qualified buyer” quickly. That’s the person with the financial clout, who make the decisions. Get in front of the person who will give the final “Yes.” Have the other people along the way coach you into the buyer’s office. Find out who does what! Who else needs to be invited to the meeting to close the deal?

5. Manage your time and territory

Time and territory management are crucial when the economic climate shifts. People use “holiday” periods as an excuse for delaying the purchase. Do the groundwork in this time. That means prospecting, product repositioning and getting customer feedback. June, July August seem to be these months when “nothing” apparently happens! Smart sales people use this time. Show that you don’t slow down, no matter what!

6. Polish your language, sales pitch and yourself

Great salespeople consistently work on improving their selling skills. In particular, this means their language skills, how they present the product value and their image.

  • How do you stand out?
  • Are your persuasion and influencing skills up to the mark?
  • Do you have a solid understanding of how the language you are using is influencing the conversation?


7. Ask powerful questions

Powerful questions are the magic and muscle that close sales. The best sales people speak the least and ask the most powerful questions. They gain an unwritten invitation into the buyer’s mind! Is it time to tone up your questioning skills?

8. Reduce the risk of working with you

People will be more risk-averse when there is a perceived slowdown in the economy. Therefore, o make the process of doing business with you very easy. Sell in chunks! Do pilot projects and trial periods for your offering. Have water-tight, but flexible payment schedules! Add value. Offer some free services and factor it into your best price to market.

9. Develop a robust referral business

Happy customers will always pass on business to you. See if you can find ways to develop referrals within your existing client base. Referral business, especially in Ireland, is how most businesses grow.

10. Revamp your CRM strategy

It costs more to get new customers than keep and grow an existing customer base. Without the consistent message or face in front of the client, they quickly forget.  Use technology, your sales materials, e-zines, customer special offers to keep them focussed on you. Technology is a great sales tool!

Article reproduced with permission of Zenith Training and Development

Anne Sexton

Linchpin by Seth Godin: A fascinating and insightful book
Successful Performance Management: Effective Strategy, Best Practice and Key Skills


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