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LETS GET DOWN TO BUSINESS.

Question :
How can I keep my sales up during this period?

Question submitted 25/03/20 @ 11:24am
Industry: Brand & Marketing
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  • Firstly talk to your existing customers and let everyone of them know you are open for business. Call them if you can. Ask about them and how they are going. If you have a lot of customers email them. Let people know via your other channels to – social, website etc.

    Look to keep your advertising going if you can. But perhaps look at your messaging – you might want to change it to reflect the situation we are in. People don’t want to see businesses trying to exploit the situation. But there is nothing wrong about letting people know you are still open for business.

    The simple answer is product market fit.

    For specific advice, understand what product you’re selling and make sure you’re pushing something that is market relevant. Two trends happening right now:

    1. Needs over wants – Discretionary purchases are being delayed. Try to find a need, not a want.
    2. Inside over outside – Things that make extended periods at home more manageable are selling well. Think kitchen, entertainment, DIY storage etc. Inside bunker down. Not outside luxury adventure.

    To be general, your market fit is determined by your customer needs. Get talking to customers. Listen carefully. What are they going through? What are they spending on? How can you serve their needs?

    If you’re selling to marketers then understand their business goals. For instance many marketers are now in defence mode. They may have reduced budget with instructions to retain core customers and grow repeat purchase. Adjust to fit.

    For offensive marketers, there’s less competition for space. So messaging that is on point could resonate and win share. Don’t gamble. Be a trusted advisor. Help them genuinely cut through.

    Otherwise good luck. Stay positive. Stay nimble. And stay focused to ride it out

    Firstly, make peace with the fact that your business model, the way you make money will look very different from now on. Your sales lines, cost lines and profit will never return to the way they were. Making any kind of comparison to what was will not serve you. Get your head and heart around this. Get your team to get their head, and hearts around it. This is all about rapid pivoting.

    Secondly, get on the phone with your customers to gain INSIGHT. Try to avoid email if you can. You’re after insight and that comes from having a conversation. Call up as many customers as you can over a few days. Be DISCIPLINED in this. You are after insight so you need to ASK, LISTEN and RECORD what they say. Find out from them where their pain is, what they’re needing / wanting right now, and then in the near future. Ask them directly how you can best help them. WRITE IT ALL DOWN. Once complete, compile their answers and look for similarities and differences. Identify the top needs they have.

    OK, so now you can start creating something. Get in a room with four big pieces of paper.

    1. Looking after your customers
    On one sheet of paper, write out the key needs your customers have. Think about how you can best serve them, from TOMORROW. This is all about helping them. Be generous in your thinking and what you can offer. Lead with a servant leadership approach. It’s not only good karma but it will open up possibilities for you.

    2. Create new revenue streams
    On a second sheet write out your assets. Include things more than just hard things like materials – soft stuff like relationships, IP, data, knowledge etc etc. Look at each in turn, with your strategic customer hat on. For each asset, think of ideas to better monetise or leverage. More ideas the better. Don’t judge. Don’t filter.

    3. Broadening your base
    On a third sheet, write down possible extensions to your current product / service offering and market mix. Thinking back to the needs your customers have, ask yourself:
    I) are there other customers or new markets similar to those of your current customers who would benefit from your current offering.
    II) are there any refinements to your current product / service offering you could offer to your current customers to deepen the relationship

    4. Look after your cash flow
    Lastly, on a forth sheet write out your key cost /effort lines. Include time & effort as a cost. Look at each in turn with a new strategic lens, in light of what you have learnt from your customers. For each, think of options to reduce, stop, outsource. Better, faster, cheaper. Again, the ore ideas the better. Don’t judge. Don’t filter.

    As difficult as it is right now, with so much fear and uncertainly, try to remember that constraint breads the best creativity. As Ernst Rutherford said “we have no money, so we have to think”. Go well, go gently, to others, to your staff, to yourself

    Thanks, Duncan, Max and Melissa,

    three different points of view but providing guidance on different aspects of how to keep the business running and even growing in these times.

    Appreciate your guidance.

    Cheers

    Jatinder

    Great question!

    Right now most business owners/execs are thinking about these three things:

    1. Reducing all discretionary spending
    2. Reducing the costs on essential items
    3. Reducing potential downside risk

    As a result your approach to selling has to change. What was working really well in Feb likely isn’t right now.

    1. Assess your message and how you are positioning yourself in the market today. Are you a ‘nice to have’ or a ‘need to have?’
    2. Amplify your message and how you can help your customers and prospects through challenging times. The Landscape has changed so your messaging needs to as well. A nice way to think about it is right now people will buy ‘painkillers’ not ‘supplements’ – position yourself as addressing key pain points not as a discretionary, nice to have add-on type solution.
    3. Be understanding towards customers and prospects and empathise with how their world may have been turned upside down.
    4. Make it easy for people to access your help and buy from you in a remote working capacity. Reduce friction from the customer journey as much as possible.
    5. Be positive, proactive and above all else confident in your ability to succeed!

    Let me know if you’d like to chat – happy to help how I can. Flick me a text to 021955570 to set something up 🙂

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