You can bring the horse to the water, but you cannot make him drink it!
This age-old idiom holds true and is the situation in most of the companies when the market is down. The sales persons, of course on the behest of the bosses, run after the customers to make them buy their products. They try the same old tricks which they used when the markets were upbeats. This obviously results in no sale as in down market situation even the customer has different things on his minds. Little do most of sales realize that both situations are totally different and require different tactics all together. The first thing the sales organizations have to realize that the horse might not be ready to drink water at your lake or pond but might be interested to drink at some other small well.
It's very important and critical to track and find out how customers are reassessing their priorities, reallocating funds, switching brands, and redefining value. Down markets do not mean that the customers have stopped buying all together, it just means that they are buying differently. They might not be ready to do big capital investments (drinking at a big lake) but will certainly buy accessories or other items (drink at a small well). All the sales organizations and persons have to do is to analyze the customer requirements, find out his pain areas in the current situations and offer solutions accordingly. If not then try to be in touch with the customer through various marketing activities, educate the customer about your latest products and make him ready to come to you when the time is right.
Here are Six Mantras which can be effectively used to counter the down times during recession.
1.Word of mouth publicity is the best publicity
Be in a positive frame of mind and instill the same in everybody around you. Even if there is a small sale celebrate it as a big event so that good vibes are spread amongst employees and also amongst peers in the industry. So, if everybody in the industry does the same, in no time the word of mouth publicity spreads the news making many others to think that good times are around the corner.
2.Do not press the panic button
Most organizations see the down market as a macro-trend and hit the panic button. The first solution offered to counter the situation is to down size the sales force or other employees in the organization. This is a short time solution because when the market goes up, you will not find proper and trained talent to handle the leads and close the sales.
3.Invest in time properly
In good market situations most sales persons complain that they don't have time for any thing other than sales calls. Well, downtimes are a boon in disguise. It's the perfect time to attend sharpen the competitive skills and attend those training courses for which they didn't have time before. Its too good a time to make a new marketing strategy which align to attain the new temporary goals
4.Recruit new talent
Recession surely depicts a gloomy picture in the market and same is true for job openings. New job positions are very rare and almost nobody is ready to invest in hiring new persons. But contrary to this belief, downtime is the best time to recruit new persons for two major reasons. The new recruits looking for change will never ask for more raise and secondly, they can be trained properly in this situation. Both these factors will make the candidate better equipped to face the situation when the market gets better.
5. Create your own up's market in a down market
One of the best ways to lure customers in a down market situation is to give them a new product. A new product launch may actually have greater impact during a recession than at other times. A product that is unique or demonstrably better than others should be able to command a higher price, even among price conscious customers. Competitors will be caught off-guard later in countering your new product with their "me-too" offerings. Another way to launch a new product is to offer a scaled down version of your high-end version, thereby making it affordable to the mid-segment customers
6. Survival of the fittest
Companies should prepare now for a possible long-term shift in consumers' values and attitudes. Adapting to new technologies makes sense during down times. Having a new ERP system would surely give you better analysis of the leads in the market. Within few minutes you can find pattern and micro-trends of the buying nature of the customers. All you have to do is cater to the new needs of the customers. In these times, customers too, have more spare time to listen to what you have to offer. It's the best time to educate the customers.
Proactive communication is best the best communication, so start doing it right now.