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    1. wholesaleinsight's Avatar
      wholesaleinsight is offline

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      #1

      Sales Training - Selling in a Tough Economy

      The economy is idling rough. Companies are holding back, people are clenching their wallets, and plenty of business owners are waiting to see what happens before they make major purchases. However, your company has not lowered its sales quotas. Trying to sell in tough times requires an unique approach than you would take during successful times. Let's take a gander at what you need to accomplish if you want to remain competitive and keep your sales going strong.

      First, do not believe hearsay. Just because the media say the economy is headed towards the pits of hell does not mean your sales will kindly follow. Your mental outlook will play a great role in your overall success. While it is hard to stay positive during rough times, it is mandatory that you remain focused on your goals. Hang with positive, like-minded people, and stay away from negative naysayers like the flu.

      Narrow down your prospects. Plenty of people will cast a broad net when prospecting the idea of bringing in anything that heads their way. However, this tactic is not a healthy way to spend your time. Rather than cold calling 500 companies, think about your perfect customer and business that comes close to this description. If you do not know who your perfect customer is, look at previous sales. Who brings in the money with greatest amount of profit margins? What problems do you help them solve? Why do they keep coming back? If you do not know, ASK.

      Never, in any situation, say, "I will sell to all." This is same as selling to none. In a tight market, it is important that you channel your energies. I would suggest you set your prospecting to 50 new customers.

      Work multiple campaigns. Try using a mix of prospecting once you find out who your perfect customer is. Use a combination of email, phone, letters, events, and social gatherings to network with key people. This will take some time and planning, which means you cannot successfully prospect to more than 50 companies. Once more, this shows the importance of limiting your prospects, instead of using a wide net approach.

      Work on your presentation. When you meet with a prospect or client, make sure that you are entirely focused on the problem at hand. Forget about talking about your company, how long you've been in business, yadda, yadda, yadda. Instead, focus on showing your prospect how they will benefit from your business. If you can save them time and money, explain precisely how you will do it. If what you specialize in will increase their productivity or eradicates errors, explain how. People will never stop buying things. However, they do expect to receive tremendous amounts of value.

      Establish a friendship with your customers. With a bit of luck you already have a great relationship with all your existing customers. This is the perfect time to build on that relationship. Think of ways to help them solve their problems they may be fighting in their own lives. This does not mean you should sell them more products. It means referring them to experts in other industries, helping them with new projects or mentioning untapped resources.

      Get out there. Do not fall prey to temptation that says to crawl back into your cave and barricade yourself in until the economy bounces back. Your customers will forget about you and your business will die. This is the time to expand your networking activities-mingling at the right events. You can expand your awareness by writing articles for trade magazines, speaking at conferences, and volunteering your time at the right events. Your prospects might not have the money right now to make a buy, but when they are flush with cash, you may be the one they buy from instead of a competitor.

      Sharpen your sales skills. I always come back around to this fundamental ability and with a very good reason. The talent you already have got you where you are at right now, but it will not take any further unless you have a calculated plan. When you live in times of great uncertainty, it is vital to sharpen your questioning skills and teach yourself to ask the really tough stuff. What has changed in your customers buying habits? What obstacles are they fighting? How can you serve the needs of your customers right now as opposed to later?

      Along with death and taxes, the one thing that is also guaranteed is a fluctuating economy. Presently, it's significantly harder than it was a couple of years ago. However, that also means you should not give up on your sales targeting. Stay smart. Stay focused. Stay busy.
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    2. toolguy is offline

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      #2
      Those are all good points. I've copied this and put it in a prominent place in my office. It's well worth reading again and again. I especially like the point about not casting a broad net. Even in hard times, we want to reach the people who need our products and services and will return again and again. Casting a wide net might get some sales, but staying focused will build our business.
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