By Debra Schmidt
Our phones were ringing off the hook last year at this time. We could barely keep up with the requests for my on site training and keynote presentations. It’s a different story this year. Like most industries, our business has slowed down. I must admit that I was starting to get discouraged. Then I came to my senses, and recognized that this downturn is a great time to rethink my business, retool my products, and refuel my sales and marketing efforts.
If you are also experiencing a business downturn, it’s time to fire up your sales activities. Rather than fretting, take control of your sales approach in order to turn 2009 into your strongest year ever. You may need to work harder and smarter, but the efforts will pay off.
Here are seven strategies you can implement right away to jump start your sales:
1. Take care of yourself to increase your energy.
Moping around about this challenging economy will get you nowhere. You’re going to need more energy than ever to succeed. In fact, you will probably need to double or triple your selling sales efforts to achieve the same results you had a year ago. Get outside every day and exercise. Make time to walk or run for at least 30 minutes a day. It will clear your head, give you energy and keep you in shape. Limit your caffeine and junk food intake. And be sure to get plenty of rest.
2. Get out there.
Increase your exposure in your marketplace through networking. Volunteer for community service activities or events where you can demonstrate your integrity and skills while rubbing shoulders with professionals who may become prospects. Join or increase your involvement in targeted professional organizations.
3. Manage your time wisely.
Don’t waste your time on paperwork and menial tasks. Focus your energy on connecting with prospects, solidifying relationships with existing clients, and identifying new opportunities. If your activities are not creating sales or generating revenue, they are probably just busy work. Stay organized and keep your eye on your goals.
4. Shift your role from order-taker to relationship-builder.
Don’t wait for the phone to ring. It probably won’t. Instead, work hard at positioning yourself as a valuable resource for your clients and prospects. Provide information, tips, referrals and connections that will help them to succeed. When you are viewed as the “go to” person for knowledge and resources, you will have succeeded in building trust so they others will want to do business with you.
5. Sharpen your skills.
Don’t get too comfortable. You need to learn everything you can to improve your sales skills. Read the latest books, listen to CDs, participate in Teleseminars, attend workshops or hire a sales coach. Learn everything you can about building client relationships, tapping into the power of social networking and how to avoid sales pitfalls.
6. Plan for success.
Believe in yourself and create your personal success plan. Know exactly where you want to go and the precise steps you’re going to take to get there. Always know exactly what you plan to accomplish when you show up for work each day.
7. Develop a quarterly benchmark schedule.
Top producers create written plans with clear-cut goals. Develop a benchmark grid with columns that clearly spell out your monthly goals, for example:
• Sales revenue goals
• Number and types of client contacts
• Number of prospecting calls
• Number and types of networking events you’ll attend
• Number and types of marketing activities Stay in touch with fellow professionals to brainstorm ideas, reinforce your efforts and provide support.
Don’t get discourage, get busy! The sales will come. For more tips and resources, check out our complete list of sales training Teleseminars available on audio CD.
Debra J. Schmidt, a.k.a. “The Loyalty Leader®”, helps companies boost their profits by leading them to greater customer, employee and brand loyalty. Learn more at: TheLoyaltyLeader.com