When companies begin tightening the reigns on spending due to a recession, you really have to put your sales skills to the test. That once simple transaction becomes a tennis match of offer and counter offer that can lead to a failed closing if you aren’t careful. However, with a little creativity, you can still make your goals even during slow economic times.
1. Think outside the box. You may have sold your product or service to the same target market for years, but now is the time to stretch your limits. Find ways to develop new relationships and partnerships with existing clients. Also take a look at your product/service with fresh eyes. Are you missing a market? Is there someone else you could be selling to that you haven’t approached?
I know of a company who provides computer networking solutions. In the past, they only offered installation. Now they are considering bringing in a subcontractor to offer the training clients have requested.
They also previously sold directly to end-users. However, they are now offering their installation services for resale through electricians, video surveillance companies, etc. in order to reach new markets.
2. Expand your relationship with current clients. Look for additional decisions makers within the companies to call on. If the traditional decision maker is someone in advertising or marketing; you could also approach others in sales, community affairs or corporate communications for additional business.
3. Let your imagination run wild! Hot ideas sell. You might partner with the promoters of an event in your area to create a special offer, announce a new use for an “old” product, introduce an “upgrade” program, provide free seminars or training on a new product/service or repackage/reposition an existing offer.
When you provide solutions that meet client goals without costing them a lot of money, you will often find that sales close more quickly and word-of-mouth advertising increases, too.
4. Provide proof of results/benefits. When wallets get tight, people in general will demand firm proof of the results they’ll get or the benefits of their purchase. The “try it and see” attitude largely goes to the wayside during financially difficult periods.
Consider creating a page of testimonials from satisfied clients. You’ll want to include the client’s name, company and contact information in order for it to be verifiable. Also, look for testimonials that are specific about benefits and performance. Knowing others have succeeded while using your product/service will help alleviate some of the concern that occurs during the decision-making process.
The sales environment changes during a recession. You’ll have to think fast and consider the impact on your client more carefully. But with some creativity and imagination, you can provide innovative solutions for your clients while increasing sales at the same time.