Get a Headstart on the Economic Upswing

in Following Up, Preparation, Unique Value Proposition

The stock market has been steadily inching up over the past  few weeks. Economic indicators are showing signs of improvements. Economists who study such things are even  whispering that things are getting better. Even though some sales reps might doubt it, the worst is behind us.

And NOW is a great time to plan for the level of success you want three months, six months, a year from now, and beyond, when this train is really storming down the tracks. Let’s look at some ways to do that.

 

Protect Your Best Accounts

First, maintain and grow what you have. Your competitors might be reading this and are targeting your best accounts. Don’t assume everything is OK if you don’t hear from them.  Be proactive and ask what else you can do for them.
 
Call Your Inactive Accounts
They became inactive for a reason. Find out why and fix  it if you can. If things were not going well for them and they struggled during a downturn, be there when they  ride the wave up.
 
Exploit Your Strengths

Differentiate yourself and your company. Specialize.  Sell into niches. Become an expert in a certain area.
 
Ask for More Referrals

When making your regular "Value Added" calls, make  it a point to ask who else they know who might also be able to take advantage of the same types of enefits/ results they receive from you. People who run businesses that are thriving now likely know similar people.
 
Presell for the Future
Sure, you’ll still hear, "We can’t do anything now." And  when it is legitimate, get as much of a commitment as you can today. Ask them, "When do you anticipate moving forward?" "Can we be the ones you’ll work with?"
 
Stay in Touch
For the people who aren’t buying today, be sure you’re  the one they think of first when they are ready. Email regularly with value-added ideas, tips, and industry information. Send articles. Personal handwritten notes. Get on a regular card-sending program  http://www.soclink.com/businessbyphone
 
Smart Prospecting
Get more in your pipeline. But don’t just "smile’n’dial"  for the sake of activity. Target wisely. Learn about them before speaking with them. Tailor your opening and  questions to their situation.
 
Provide Personal Value To Your Buyers
One of the strongest human motivators is survival.  And it applies in the work environment. Take interest in your customers personally,  and help your buyers on a personal level  "How has your job changed in the last six months?
Three months?"
 
"What can we do to help you?"
 
Follow the Dollars
Some businesses are unaffected by the economy, and theirs are doing better than ever RIGHT NOW. Where are these opportunities in your world?
 
Upgrade Yourself

If you were going to run a marathon up a mountain, you’d  probably work out get yourself into better shape. Well, if you’re going to thrive in this economy, you need to have  your skills and attitude in top shape as well. Are you on a regular "sales skills self-improvement" workout schedule?
 
Stretch Your Creativity

Say "Why not?" a lot more. Why couldn’t you go after a bigger sale than you’ve ever made up to this point?  What’s the most unusual way you’ve ever found a new  customer? Try it again.
 
Negotiate for the Long Term

Keep in mind that today, it might be worth it to be a bit  more flexible in negotiating a first sale with a new customer, IF there is long-term potential.
 
Work Harder

Sales success isn’t like the get-rich-quick shows on  cable, or the "Make Money in Your Sleep" spam emails  you get. Show me the sales rep thriving today, and I’m  wagering he or she is out-hustling everyone else. Can  you kick it up a notch?
 
Ask More
 I don’t believe sales is "just a numbers game," but I have  proved to myself many times over that the more you ask,  the more you get.
 
Set Goals
If you want to reach a destination, you first need to know  what it is, and where it is. Let’s face it, there are no secrets  here. The key is in doing something. Now get busy!

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