As we're all too patently aware, the current economic conditions are pretty dismal and, while we don't have all the answers, we know that sticking our heads in the sand ostrich-style is not the solution.
As a business strategist and executive coach I also know that smart players prosper in times like these. Below is some great advice from The Results Corporation who stress the importance of ramping up your marketing and sales to turn things around for your business. Here's some basic steps to pump up the action and get the sales pipeline flowing:
1) Tighten up your sales processes
There are some very simple changes you can make that can give your sales some wellie' and avoid them trickling through the cracks.
For a start, when a prospect calls for information, treat it as a serious sales' call - because it's not just a request for information, it is someone who wants to buy!
Merely sending out a brochure or website link does not constitutes proper handling of the potential sale. What is required in The Results Corporation's expertise is "an elite team of trained 'green berets' hungry for sales who make sure every possible (ethical) avenue has been covered, systematically and consistently - to clinch that sale."
2) Keep your finger on the business pulse
At the same time it's critical to monitor what's going on in your company. Business owners often fall into the trap of ignoring the bad things - but there is absolutely no leeway to do this now. These can include:
Customer enquiries not addressed
badly written letters and emails with typos
sales people who just aren't up to the job
...because all of the above is losing you vital market share.
3) Mass or boutique marketing?
Boutique marketing entails targeting the companies you want to work with. The Results Corporation cites the example of US advertising guru David Ogilvy, who arrived in the UK a complete unknown and founded a legendary advertising empire. He stuck a list of the five blue-chip businesses he wanted as clients - which included Shell and Rolls-Royce - on his bathroom mirror implemented at least one initiative a day to get one of those companies one step closer to commissioning him.
The rest is history: he secured all five!
By breaking down your market into small - boutique - numbers of prospects, you can bring tremendous energy and focus to bear, entirely on them. Be as imaginative as you can in finding ways to create a dialogue with them.
4) Getting in touch
Fed Ex-ing a package to the 5 decision makers - thereby stimulating a dialogue with them. The point being that, in today's challenging climate, very few companies go 'above and beyond' to clinch the coveted final prize.
5) Put your best foot forward
Apply what The Results Corporation calls the 'shoe leather' marketing approach. This tactic entails getting out and about to talk to groups in your target markets and offer them an incentive. One of their clients, a chiropractor, offered to give members of a local gym a spinal check - and came away with 25 new clients worth $4,000 in sales income over the next four years.
Almost no one goes to this effort, so if you can make yourself stand out, for the right reasons, you're several steps closer to winning that prize. My advice is to harness these key actions and spearhead an energetic campaign which will boost morale and your bottom line.