Interesting points made in a recent post by Adam: Catch the shift or die away. Yes this is a terrible economy. But there are opportunities and now is the time to consider trying new things.
Typically when sales go down, you have to reduce expenses to ensure you can cover your costs. Many companies have deeper pockets so they can spend trying things that may help them shift and take new position when the economy recovers. Looking at charts on the US Leading Indicators, you can see the patterns our society goes through approximately every 7 to 10 years. It’s true that this is a very challenging downturn. However there are still opportunities. And the economy will recover – how economist can model for us and time will tell.
Companies of all sizes can try new approaches. Let’s consider some of this element:
Do you know your customers? What are their needs / wants? Have you segmented your customers and considered how to market / sell to these unique segments? The Internet gives us the power to reach segments faster and with unique offers and messages lilke no other time in history.
- Do you have a database? Something beyond your accounting system.
- Have you reviewed your sales data for trends? Do you know who your most profitable customers are? Not just the customers you like the most or who call you the most?
- Have you tried some specific offers or messages to support your customer segments?
- How often do you communicate with your customers – especially your best customers?
- Do you know where to find more contacts that match your customer segments? Are you tracking your opportunity to reach and win new customers?
- Do you know why customers leave you? Why you lose? How can you take that information and implement changes to increase the lifetime value of your current customer base?
If not consider:
- Run an analysis – identify some of your top customers.
- Talk to your best customers and if you have customers who were purchasing a lot and now aren’t – talk to them as well.
- Determine if there are trends / patterns in their messages.
- Trial / Pilot ideas to increase sales / win back customers who may have tried other sources.
- Concepts to try might include: New messages, new offerings (increased services, new products, easier bundles), new support approaches (ordering online, discounts for increasing sales sizes, providing outsource people to support reduced staff levels).
- Try to identify where you can find other new customer who match the profile of your best clients.
- Continue the conversation!
At the end of the day – keep Adam’s points in mind and determine how you can change your game vs. the whirlpool of decline.
Consider your approach … are you:
Cutting your way to profitability? At what ultimate price? Beating your most valued assets down so they (your employees, customers and suppliers) are anxious to jump ship when the economy recovers or finding pockets of success and learning new ways / approaches to position your business as a leader as the economy recovers?
Planning and trying new scenarios where you test new approaches that position you as the leader, attack competition that result in stronger market position, sales and profitability.
Don’t try to be someone else – be yourself – be a leader others will copy and you win.