Tips for boosting sales in a weak marketplace
November 03, 2011
Business sales may be suffering of late, as consumer sentiment and market uncertainty continue to scale back peoples' spending habits, but sales are still the lifeblood of your business. Whether selling to consumers directly or to other businesses, you rely on completing sales of your products and services to keep operations afloat.
So what's to be done when the economy takes a turn for the worse and no one wants to buy? Should you merely bow your head and wait out the storm, or should you forge onward and develop a sales strategy that is conducive to the current market environment?
Successful enterprises will not be perturbed by the economy. While they may suffer weak sales like the rest of their industry, they will develop ways to circumvent the downturn and adapt their operations to provide greater focus on each individual sale.
In this economy, every lead needs to be vetted and approached with equal consideration. No sales potential can go to waste, so work on developing a strategy of enhanced sales efficiency and resourcefulness. In that sense, the initial sales pitch or call is very important.
"You only have a few moments to capture a prospect's attention, so don't waste the precious opening minutes by talking about your company," suggests Kelley Robertson for the blog Growth University. "Instead, gain immediate interest by describing their current situation and identifying the potential pain they might be experiencing."
A weak economy or slow market may also mark a good opportunity for sales managers to reorganize their staff. If layoffs are a must, make sure your process is both considerate and timely. If you don't need to downsize, consider hosting sales lessons and meetings for low-performing members and suggests ways they can boost their numbers.
Incentives are another way to improve performance. Bonuses, gift items, additional vacation days or formal recognition are all ways to drive your sales team's energy and enthusiasm.
While the sales process is often unpredictable and dependent on a salesperson's own spontaneity, it's important to insert a certain level of structure into the pitch.
"Make the time to rehearse your presentations before meeting with a prospect or customer," Robertson adds. "It sounds like a simple concept but too many sales people shoot from the hip or wing it and this mistake can be fatal. The more important the sales opportunity, the more critical it is to rehearse beforehand."