Top 5 Tips for Selling in Tough Times


When there is enough business to go round, the competitors are playing fair, and the supply chain is working smoothly, then selling is pretty straightforward.

But what happens when selling in tough times? When there is not enough business to go round, the competition is playing hard ball and the supply chain is grinding to a halt.

Here are my Top 5 Tips for selling in tough times:

1. Have your sales team work smarter and harder.

Your sales team, both internal and external, need to turn up the wick. They need to increase both the quantity and the quality of their output. Make more calls, more appointments, more follow ups, more closings. Just more! And they need to work on the quality of the call. Don’t just continue the relationship with the client, find out how to advance the relationship. Do some staff training, offer more POS, do some site visits, bundle up the offering to make it more attractive. Work to deepen the bonds with the client. See this article which explains how to advance a relationship.

2. Do some GP engineering.

You have to get real. In a tough market pricing will come under close scrutiny, so be prepared. Take a haircut and accept lower margins. I’m not suggesting you give 10% discounts across the board, as that will really hurt the GP. But have a long hard look at where the GP can be manipulated to retain the business.

3. Keep as many good clients as you can

Now is not the time to lose good clients due to competitors undercutting you or leaving as they didn’t feel valued. The cost of getting a new client on board is way higher than the profits offered by an existing client, even if the GP is lowered. Get around all the clients that you want to keep and make them feel the love.

4. Drop poor performing clients

Give the ones that cause you grief to your competitors. The ones that pay late, argue every invoice, ask for pro bono support. You know who they are. Politely but firmly show them the door, or put their prices up to cover the true emotional cost. Pass on all their negative energy to your competitors.

5. Plan for the future

Might seem a bit odd to be future proofing your business at these tough times. But they do pass, and the sun will pop its head out once again. Use this time to look hard at the 5 growth enablers to make sure that you are ready for the sunshine.
They are:
1. Vision – make sure that your vision inspires
2. People – have the right people in the right roles
3. Process – ensure your systems and procedures support the business efforts
4. Customers – delight your customers at each and every touchpoint
5. Reputation – work hard at building a powerful reputation

There are lots of other things that you can try, but these work. If you have any suggestions, then do please let us know. Share them with us and we will pass them on.