Posts Tagged 'recessions'

New Administration, hard times, NOT business friendly

Like it or not, republican or democrat, the die is cast; there will be a measurable change in your business model, and soon.  My objective is not to sell you on a particular philosophy but to alert you to the inevitable.  With higher taxes on even small to mid-sized businesses and reduced discretionary spending, you owners and managers out there will now have to control costs more tightly.  If you don’t, the alternative will surely be less on the bottom line.

When growth comes, not from adding revenue and taking advantage of accompanying economies of scale but through budget crunching cost reductions, YOU WONT BE ADDING PEOPLE, will you. Soon, you will come to the realization that you are going to have to succeed with the people and equipment on hand.  And, if you are normal, this is a frightening concept.  

I’d like to suggest you think about the one thing that does make sense for the short-term future; get more productivity from the people you have!

I understand, asking today’s ‘gen y’ worker to do more is akin to blasphemy but…you gotta do what you gotta do.  The good news is, even workers who want more time off, more flexibility on the job and continuing benefits, even those folks will respond to greater recognition and an enhanced position on the team.

Think about it…the starting quarterback is injured. As he takes his seat on the bench, you look hopefully at the back up. You tell the back up; “This is your chance..now you can be somebody, you can help us win the game. And, when we win, YOU win.  More money, pride in knowing you are the best, maybe even a promotion to the staring team.” 

My point is, when you are in a pinch, if you understand how to impact human behavior, you can win every time.  So, you don’t  tell people times are tough, that the new congress has jacked your taxes and you will earn less money. You don’t say that because nobody but you cares! What you do say is this; “Team, I know everyone here is concerned about the economy, our jobs and our company future.  It’s natural to worry when all you see in the media is a growing unemployment number and businesses failing.  Well, we are not going to fail and YOU are not going to lose your jobs, period!  We’ve been handed a tough situation but, if we all pitch in, we will weather this storm…and we’ll do it by working together and working smart!

Having reassured your team, you explain that everyone, including you, the leader, will need to do more short-term but, when we win, everyone will share in the success. [Don’t say that unless you genuinely mean it]

What I’m suggesting is, in tough times, when you may even need to cut staff, you can still WIN with your core team. It requires “hands-on” coaching and an understanding that, if treated with a modicum of respect and shown they are important, no, vital to success, your people will work harder and do more to help your team win.

This is my consulting message to clients and I wanted to share it with you.  Thinks about your management style. Are you bossing or coaching?  Will your people go to battle for you becasuse they understand you will do the same for them? Or, are people simply cogs in a gear wheel?

Tough times require a refocused effort to create and maintain a positive workplace enviornment and it begins with letting your people know YOU CANNOT DO IT ALONE!

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Selling in Tough Economic Times

I’ve been selling and training sales reps most of my adult life.  I’ve succeeded and I’ve failed. Importantly, I’ve learned.

 

In difficult economic times, when the media saturates the airwaves with warnings that the sky will surely fall, and doom and gloom are our future, selling gets even tougher.  That is, unless you understand HOW to sell in what buyers want. Good luck!

 

I’m old enough, been around long enough to have trained sales reps during the 1987 recession.  Then, as now, albeit with less media frenzy, the word was out…you can’t sell during a recession!  At my company, we forged ahead.  We fine tuned the process, worked real hard on fundamentals and focused on communicating to our prospects, what we had that made sense no matter the economic conditions.

 

Bottom line, there are some things people need in tough and good times; things they will buy anytime, all the time.  Food, booze and some sort of self-gratifying leisure fulfillment are all on the list.

 

Something else that makes good sense to the buying public is an investment in their number one asset, their home.  Having spent considerable time in the home services business, including the 87 recession, I learned how to sell right into the economic ‘bounce’ that follows every downturn.  We learned to sell value.

 

Hear me out; selling value is not a vague process. While the word, value, needs definition, when defined in terms of your product or service offering, and effectively communicated to logical prospective buyers, it sells!

 

In my training role, the job was clear…help define our company’s value proposition and teach our sales people to communicate it professionally and effectively.  Did I say sales people…my bad. I taught everyone on our staff why we were a great investment.  Unless you don’t care what your employees think about you and your business, and unless you believe they will never talk to a customer or prospect, better teach everyone how to communicate your unique benefits to the buying public.

 

This year, in my training/consulting work, it’s already started.  My phone is ringing now..and the caller will be in panic mode.  What I’ll hear is “How am I going to grow in this economy?”  Right behind the sales question will be “How am I going to keep my customers, to insure repeat business?”

 

The answer to both questions is to focus your sales and customer service process management, as well as your staff training on communicating value, your unique value to the customer. If you can, you’ll be fine. If not, it’s going to be a long, cold winter.  Let me know if you need some help.