Need a little extra ammo for that next sales meeting? Here are seven leadership tips that help salespeople during tough times:
1. Forget wait and see. Procrastination is the worst trait any salesperson can have in a recession. Salespeople who increase prospecting during hard times may take customers from those who decide to cut back until the economy improves.
2. Control the sales process. Control is one of the key elements for success in slow times. Control is not manipulation but it’s acting in the best interests of prospects and customers. Discover what your customers want and need. Ask questions to try and find out where they “hurt.” Then plan to do everything you can to solve their problems.
3. Identify products or services your customers could buy but don’t. Increasing sales to existing accounts may help you weather the storm. Try to make a customer’s life easier by looking behind the numbers to understand the customer’s business strategy and financial situation. What are the biggest profit makers and drains? How can you help the customer expand business?
4. Keep adding value. The most important contribution you can give to prospects and customers is your knowledge and expertise. What information do you have that could benefit prospects or customers? Define value in their terms. The possibilities are limitless: faster service, better delivery, unique features, etc.
5. Move beyond your circle of activity. Breakthroughs just might happen if you leave your comfort zone to go after new business. Create a top 10 list of prospects you’d like to close and go after them aggressively. As you close each account, try to replace it with another prospect.
6. Have a high tolerance for pain. No matter what crosses your path, you must handle it. If you lose key customers, work harder to get them back. If you’re turned down for an appointment, learn more about the prospect and come back with a different approach. If prospects stall, it’s because you haven’t captured their interest. Go back to the beginning. Learn enough about them to be able to show how your product or service will help them during these tough economic times.
7. Push the limits. Sales leaders are never completely satisfied with their performance. They push themselves on a daily basis to outperform the previous day. Motivation is what keeps them moving, regardless of the economy. They recognize that success now comes from sacrifice and maybe a little pain. They make more calls each week. They spend more time on customer follow-up to ensure results. They set their sights a little higher. Taking these steps propels them forward and provides the energy and enthusiasm to fuel each day, regardless of the economy.