Ok it’s a recession! Yep, we are now into the double dip and with the current problems in the Eurozone don’t discount that this negative and low economic growth cycle may continue for years.
We are all looking for ways to differentiate the products, services and brands we sell from our competitors in the race to reach budget and success. We are all looking for ways to increase sales.
Personally, I have always done better in recessions than in boom time. By better I mean I have always sold more and earned more. Sometimes this has been simply because some of my competitors had convinced themselves no one can afford to buy. More often than not it has been because I have stuck to the basic professional selling skills and hard work ethic I was trained to do 30+ years ago.
Although technology provides us with many new sales opportunities and platforms to reach out to the masses don’t forget the personal touch! Resist the urge to hide behind the digital façade, ie emails, mass email broadcasts, websites, text messages and electronic newsletters.
I was recently doing some sales consultancy for a professional services company (Law Firm). I provided a very simple challenge to the room full of solicitors. In my experience most solicitors feel insulted with the suggestion that they need to sell their service. Many have an inflated opinion about their academic credentials and feel that ‘sales’ is beneath them.
However, many of these firms are facing the economic reality of decreasing fees/sales in the current climate while still retaining locked in overheads, school fees, car leases etc. Reduced earnings equates to pressure at work and home.
The challenge was to pick up their phone and to call five of their clients’/customers per day for one week and say, “Hello Mr Jones this is Fred Smith from London Legal I just wanted to call you today to say ‘hello’ and ask how things are going for you at the moment?” I then asked them to say nothing and listen to what their client said.
Bear in mind that the only time my solicitor calls me is when his fee clock is ticking at a few hundred quid an hour. We all know why? Time is money.
However, this exercise delivered outstanding results. The reason should be obvious – people buy from people who share empathy. Your customers like the idea that you care.
So, whether you are a sales executive, sales manager or sales director, the one reason we survive is because of our customers. Show them you care. Call them before they decide to call someone else.
Do it today – I dare you. And you know what you may also find it delivers outstanding results.
Mathew Collins, Salesman, Sales Motivator & Engineer of Sales