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Common Questions and Answers
Have you ever been to work and feel like everything is just not working, not worth pushing and you just want to pack and leave!? That often happens when you are in sales in an economy that is on a downward trajectory. I have been there, am sure together with others and still going on.
So what is the secret or the best way to keep loving your sales job even when the economy seems depressed, prices skyrocketing on daily basis, market instability and yet you still have numbers to crunch? Yes, those numbers, remember…your sales targets and a team to lead and motivate.
Owners of companies seem not to mind much about how the weather is looking like outside, what they need and expect are sales rolling in. However, over the years I have realised sometimes we need to share with our leaders some ideas on how we can make it work for the business when selling becomes demotivating.
Here are some basic but essential ideas that I can share:
Calm Down and Review Your Sales Plan:
When things are not working as anticipated, there is need to revisit your initial plan. Ensure all objectives are realistic and aligning to the current market changes. That way it will reduce pressure on your sales team. As you work towards achievable and realistic goals, everyone is happy and motivated regardless of how unstable the market may seem to be.
Focus More on Marketing Issues:
Instead of spending time in meetings hitting on sales targets when selling is rough, spend more time on marketing discussions, even basics that companies seem to ignore when sales are normal. Analyse your product line, pricing, promotion, and distribution channels. Check to see if these basic elements of marketing are competitive enough to help sales. Remember your competitors are also watching the same economic indicators and strategising on how best they can also win a bigger piece of the shrinking market share. If the budget allows, spruce up your branding so that even if the economy is dark, your brand is still out there visible and shining.
Make-up with Your Clients:
Encourage your team to attend to all pending returns from customers, back-up service, and queries. A lot of times when sales are at peak, teams tend to forget about after-sales-service. We tend to think that because our products are selling, then every other thing about them is okay. Take advantage of off peak times to work more on these issues and provide a great service. Customers need reliable back-up service for them to remain loyal. When the market is up and at peak again, they easily remember where they get the best service for their money. If this area is not managed well customers can easily divert to the next provider or supplier.
Brain Storm on Other Product/service Ideas:
Obviously both good times and bad times carry lessons with them. What is it that the downward economy is indicating in terms of opportunity? Find out what strengths you have as an organization to start a new product line that is in demand at that time. Is it feasible to do it long-term and financially sustainable for the business? At one time, I realised we could easily start producing Gas and Solar appliances which were in demand when electricity became expensive. Customers were preferring alternative energy, which was more affordable. In addition to Electrical appliances, the company started supplying Solar and Gas with an immediate upward graph showing on sales figures.
Maintain Your Key Accounts:
Key Account Management is critical even when sales are down. Have an effective CRM system in place. Keep your key accounts close by watching their strategic moves, checking on their needs, and updating them of new products. It is also important to keep in contact with the relevant offices or individuals your company deals with. It’s like fighting for your shelf-space or some supplier will come and replace you.
It is motivating to see positive results from such basic elements when the market shapes up again.
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