Selling in tough times isn’t much different than selling in any other time, there is just less room for error. The following attitudes and behaviors can be applied throughout the sales process to help build trust and credibility with your prospects and customers.
- Become a business consultant to your customers. In tough times, it is essential to listen to your customers, understand their issues, provide insightful support and do all that you can to help them survive. Make sure you understand their business and how your products or services impact them directly. Think of yourself as a consultant, less telling and more listening, and always look for ways to add value.
- Be innovative. You can easily position yourself as a trusted advisor with your prospects and customers by offering differentiated solutions that are in response to your customer’s unique business challenges. Customers value new ideas and insights that will help them compete in turbulent times.
- Do your research. If your customers value insight, then it is essential that you out-work your competition in this area. Invest your time researching your customer’s customers, segments, competitors, employees, and challenges. You want to have an in-depth understanding of their vision, strengths and weaknesses if you are to add value.
- Determine your priorities. Call on your account list with purpose rather than indiscriminately. When times are tough, you must determine which accounts require the most focus, attention, and resources. You can determine this based on many factors (size, volume, growth, competition, product fit and profitability).
Focus on the relationship and results. When tough times exist, companies focus on results more than ever. Your customer is focused on their results, and your company is focused on yours. It is important that you find the balance between their needs and yours. You are looking for win-win solutions. Don’t try and beat them in the short term. You may end up losing them in the long-term. They need to know that they mean everything to you. This is the time for you to be “Jerry Maguire” (the movie) to your customers.