When Your Sales Run Dry …

“Keep your sales pipeline full” – this is what all the business textbooks preach.  The reality, however, is that in business you will experience times of low sales (perhaps you lose a big contract) or you may even hit a period of no sales.

Here are some guidelines to keep you focused on turning your situation around.

Don’t Panic

Just as in life there are cycles, so your business will experience its highs and lows.  Remember that this period too will pass and you need to keep positive and be constructive.

That said, I do recall that in my Marketing consulting business when I hit my first dry patch, I felt fear.  The upside, however, was that I didn’t allow my fear to paralyse me.  Quite the opposite – it galvanised me into action.

As Margaret Hirsch, founder of the Hirschs chain reminded me last week; FEAR is an acronym for False Evidence Appearing Real. 

Take Action

Make a list of your ideal prospects. Commit to contacting a certain number of them every day, whether it be via e-mail, the telephone, networking or a face-to-face meeting.

This discipline in itself will boost your confidence as you will be accomplishing a daily goal.  My experience is that often when prospecting becomes a daily habit, you create the right energy and magically attract business.

Success is a mindset

Don’t let outside circumstances make you negative and deter you in your quest to find new clients.

Brian Joffe built Bidvest into a billion rand turnover company over 30 years.  When he recently retired and was appointed as the group’s chairman, he recounted that he had placed a sign in each of his various companies that states, “Here we don’t participate in a recession.”

Your prospects can sense if you are desperate for business and this will act as a deterrent.  You want to be perceived as confident and able to offer an excellent service or product – that’s the only way to win business.

Review your Marketing Strategy

Every business needs a Marketing plan – if you don’t have one, now is the time to draft one or to seek the expertise of a Marketing Strategist who can assist you.

Start by reviewing the situation or context in which your business operates. Obtain a renewed understanding of your market place by:

  • Reviewing competitor websites and finding out what your opposition is offering.
  • Undertaking your own consumer dipstick research (for free) and checking the needs of your customers. Have these changed?
  • Looking at PESTLE (which stands for Political, Economic, Social, Legal and Environmental) factors.  Are any of these factors impacting your business and possibly slowing your sales?

Your findings may lead you to make changes to your offering, so it’s more appropriate and appealing.  These changes may pertain to your pricing, product features, promotional methods or your distribution.

Be Bold

Continually scan financial publications and industry newsletters with a view to spotting an opportunity.  When you do, act on it immediately, making contact and introducing yourself to the company.

If you’re a small business, contact a big competitor and offer them a commission for passing on any jobs which are not big enough for them but are ideal for you.

Keeping Faith

So many of the business people I interviewed for my book, The NEW Entrepreneur: A Practical Marketing Guide For Growing Your Business Now, commented on the necessity of always maintaining faith and hope, especially when experiencing tough trading conditions.

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