Clearly, one of the keys to thriving in the current recession is to be ahead of the competition in terms of sales:
- Remember value – don’t focus solely on price. Focus on value, defined in terms of value perceived by your customer.
- Differentiate yourself with customer service – providing a memorable experience can create brand loyalty (whether a product or service). What could be more critical in this market!
- Keep in touch – go the extra mile even though you might be swamped with business challenges. Do not lose touch with your customers when they need to hear from you the most.
- Marketing and R&D – do not follow the herd and eliminate them; instead, focus the funds you are able to allocate to your critical success factors, key product lines and target customer base.
- Referrals – referrals are one of the most powerful sales tools in any business. Remember, referrals go back to relationships.
- Invest in sales – although many companies are cutting back expenses including sales resources, be careful! Investing wisely in revenue creation can have far more impact on your bottom line than cutting costs. Although cost control is critical, I’ve never seen a business cost cut its way to success.
- Create partnerships with customers – find ways to provide additional value and solve customer problems – and create a win-win.
- Don’t be afraid to drop a large, unprofitable customer – this allows you to focus efforts and limited resources on your priority customers