Pop quiz: Your business activity isn’t what it should be and revenues are down. What do you do?
A) Hide in your office and worry incessantly
B) Stay the course and assume things will improve on their own
C) Fire some “underperforming” members of your staff
D) Begin to proactively sell, market, and network
The correct answer, of course, should be obvious to everyone. However, this is not always the case for business owners and C-level executives who may resort too quickly to options A through C without placing enough emphasis on option D.
The blatant truth is that when the going gets tough the tough start selling!
Without a doubt, proactive selling must take place regardless of whether a business is doing well or not. Sales, marketing, and networking are not stand alone, one-time events; instead they must be integrated into an ongoing business development action plan.
If you think—or, more importantly, if you know—that your business revenue is not what it should be, you must take immediate action. Here are three things that you can do to jumpstart business:
Mine the gold in your database, including both active and dormant accounts.
Clients with whom you’ve done business already know your products and services. It is safe to say they appreciate and find value in your work. Rather than always rely on a sales pitch to new prospects, consider mining the gold in your existing database. It is much easier to reach out to existing and dormant clients than it is to constantly search for new ones. Even though a client may call on you for a specific product or service, be sure that they’re familiar with your entire suite of offerings. Making them aware of all that your company can do ensures you aren’t leaving business on the table. Remind them of this periodically as services that weren’t of interest to them a few months ago, may be right on point today.
Ramp up your networking.
When times are tough and nothing is coming easy, it is natural to want to hide yourself away. To get out of this situation you must take the opposite path, that is, remain visible and meet as many people as possible. Create a “networking calendar” that brings you in contact with new groups and events, which helps you to branch out from the groups in which you are already a familiar presence. Have a “networking game plan” for when you go somewhere and meet someone for the first time—and be sure the plan includes a follow-up. Be strategic about where you network and attempt to develop power partners with whom there is mutual value and potential mutual benefit. Remember: networking is a two-way street, so you must make proactive introductions in order to receive them.
Assess your marketing efforts and develop initiatives designed to generate short-term business.
Marketing need not be a costly, drawn out, and labor intensive part of your business, especially when times are tough and money, time, and people are at a premium. Consider tapping a wider range of marketing initiatives, such as special offers, timed promotions, and other strategies that will prompt immediate response. You can also utilize e-marketing for speed and cost-efficiency, and never overlook the power of highly targeted direct mail. Though you may be tempted to reduce your marketing budget, it is even more important to stay visible and recognizable when business is slow.
Above all, be absolutely sure that your sales competencies are top notch. Its one thing to crack open the door to new or increased business; it is another to have the requisite skills to stay on the grid during the sales cycle and ultimately close the deal.
Create your plan for sales success and get started now!