Monday, April 6, 2009

Recession-proof sales

The papers are doom and gloom.
But is that really what we are facing?

Aren't we also seeing a shake-out at the competition?
An opportunity to show solidity with our clients, and a golden chance to proof that we are of great value to them?

Decision-making is often budget related. Many of today's decisions around a certain mark, are higher up the 'food chain' then they were a year ago.
In other words: if the IT manager was making $ 50,000 budget decisions, perhaps the same decision now lies at the CTO's desk.

We have an opportunity in front of us to make an entry at the C-level. Decision making with a capital 'D'.

Sure, some budgets are frozen, and projects delayed.
But what if we get in the door with the C-level officer, and that finally allows us to present ourselves company-wide?
If ever there was a chance to speak with large enterprises throughout, while using the momentum to be accessing at all levels and areas of that enterprise, it would be now.

If we proof ourselves in these times and that C-level officer learns that we are a reliable supplier, a partner really, that adds value, brings creativity and ideas to the table, shows no letting down - then we may have just banked on an opportunity for years to come.

There are some requirements here - not rocket science by any means, but important nonetheless:

1) Be prepared.
If you take some time to think where you could in fact add significant value to your prospect, you should use those arguments as your entry.

2) Ask the right questions.
Don't assume you know everything going in. Ask how your prospect is doing, and what 'pain' they are feeling. Discuss how there could be a fit - but it must be genuine.

3) Adjust your language, positioning and approach to the person you speak with. If a C-level officer is your connecting person then make sure to talk his/her talk. Do not simply rely on your previous pitch. It may just not apply today.

4) Go out and conquer the world.
With a market declining, chances are that you will also be facing a decline in your sales revenues if you sit still. Remember how you built a book of business when you just entered the trade? Well, as senior as you may be today, you will have to re-build your account base and pick up the phone again. Imagine how much more effective and efficient you are today, knowing what you know about your market and products, with all the experience you have.
You should be excited that this time prompts you to actually be selling again!

5) Be open and look for opportunities.
Read the papers, use newsfeeds as your entry. The market is changing. Those dynamics may mean that your thought about a certain prospect should be seen in new light. It may mean that the tough purchaser that you could not get around is no longer there, and the new guy is a great socializer. It may mean that existing vendor relationships have changed southward, and allows for new openings.

It may mean that a new policy is in place, where the new directive says that every quote must be compared to quotes from two other vendors. That other vendor could be you - your shot at getting in!

Changing times - trading places - this is your shot at (re) building your book of business to astronomical heights.

Good luck everyone - happy selling!