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Stop Viewing The Past Through Rose Colored Glasses

Apr 1, 2008
As I have been traveling around the country speaking I continually hear, "Business is down. The market is changing. The customers are changing. It is not like it use to be. The economy is killing us. Being in business is much harder than it use to be."

Well let's compare the past with today. As I remember in the 80's and 90's when the gas prices jumped up and up, although they never got as high as they are today it did not matter, our customers and us could not even buy gas. Remember the long gas lines the gas shortages caused at every gas station.

How about the double digit interest rates that increased our cost. And not just a percentage or two. We do not have those today.

And how can you forget the Regan years when we had price controls. We could not even raise our prices to recoup some of our increasing overhead. For those of you who were not around then it went like this.

You could not sell an item at a higher price unless you proved, that's right you proved you had sold the same item at the higher price in the past. So your overhead kept going up, double digit inflation and interest rates, but your selling price, in most instances, went down.

Things are not all that bad today. Our markets are slow, but you will survive and prosper if you have the right aggressive attitude.

In the 50's a lost island in the Pacific was discovered. There were thousands and thousands of people native to the island living in primitive style. Two shoe manufactures in the United States heard about the discovered island and each sent a sales representative to the island by steamer ship to investigate the opportunity for new business.

Upon arriving on the island the first sales representative wired back to his company. "No business here, no one wears shoes." The second sales representative, a man with a great aggressive positive attitude towards the market place wired back. "Lots of business here, no one has shoes."

You can not control the condition of the market, but you can control the way you view your market. I have seen many business owners view their market negatively in slow times and sit by while their business goes down the drain. They literally watch their aggressive, positive competition take their customers away from them while they sit back, ringing their hands saying "Remember how good it use to be." "Remember how easy business use to be."

All it takes to survive and prosper in a slowing market is to become aggressive and dare to be different. Do things different than your competition and different that you did yesterday to get your customers and prospects to notice you and remember you when a buying decision is made. And you do not have to increase your marketing and selling expenses. In fact I recommend you lower them. Decrease the amount of money you are giving the media and use the resource you are already paying. Your staff.

Use your staff to get out in the market place, personally and by telephone. The rule is, "Stay in touch with your customers and they will stay in touch with you when they make a buying decision." Follow up on every sales call. On every contact you have with the customer.
Follow up:
1. After the offer.
2. During the decision making process
3. After the sale
4. During the delivery
5. After the delivery

Use every opportunity to:
1.Thank the customer for doing business with you
2.Answer any questions and concerns the customer may have
3.Advance the sale
4.Solve problems
5.Build Relationships
6.Make the next appointment

Train your staff to be 100% Customer-Centered. Meaning, "Everything you do and say is about the customer, not about you or the business."

People buy from people they feel are falling all over them to give them great service. "When does a sales professional and sales support staff no loner need sales training? When they quit breathing."

The good old days were not always all that good. And today the market is not all that bad. UNLESS YOU THINK IT IS AND ARE NOT AGGRESSIVE AND DARE TO BE DIFFERENT!!
About the Author
Bob Janet uses 40 plus years of face-to-face selling and marketing experiences, combined with his unique fun-entertaining presentation audience involved style to help sellers gain and retain their most profitable customers. See all Bob's sales growth programs at http://www.BobJanet.com
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