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Tough Times Sales and Marketing Strategies

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tough times sales strategy

 

Even during the worst depression, approximately 20-25% of the companies in your industry increase their sales!  Are you one of them?  Do you have the right sales strategy?
In our current economic climate, many salespeople and managers are indeed looking for effective ways to boost their results.  Here is a “tough times” sales strategy list of ideas for you to consider:

 
 

Tough Times Sales Strategies

1 – BOOST THE PERCEIVED VALUE of your product or service.  During tough times, buyers have less to spend and are looking to stretch every dollar and maximize the value they receive.  The two ways to improve value are 1) lowering your prices and 2) boosting benefits your customer perceives.  Less experienced salespeople and organizations adopt the price-cutting sales strategy.  So, how can you implement a sales strategy of improving customer benefits?

  • Do some financial justification work to ensure that your customer has an excellent ROI on your product or service
  • Gain stronger prospect commitment by involving her in each stage of your sales process (e.g. having her supply financial information or talk to your references)
  • Bundle in extra products or services with a high perceived value and a low incremental cost
  • Provide additional warranties (that also have a low incremental cost)
  • Agree to lower prices only when other key concessions (e.g. longer-term contracts, higher volumes) can be obtained or if you have a low-price sales strategy

 

2 – GENERATE HIGHER QUALITY LEADS.  Closing rates tend to decrease during hard times.  To combat this phenomenon, salespeople and their firms will need to improve lead quality in order to obtain prospects that are more likely to buy.  Methods for obtaining better leads include:

  • Enhancing the sales qualification process by adding or refining prospect qualifiers or elevating the requirements for “A” prospects
  • Focusing on target markets and customer types in which high closing rates have been experienced. Successful firms and salespeople analyze their performance to pinpoint which market niches, sub niches and characteristics (e.g. demographics, psychographics) are common to profitable sales versus lost and unprofitable sales.
  • Upgrading your marketing campaigns and tracking the success (and cost vs. return) of each campaign
  • Meeting with more decision makers by enhancing your sales prospecting techniques (e.g. devising ways to meet with more decision makers, minimizing obstacles such as voicemail) and prospecting results (e.g. your appointment close rate, your proposal acceptance rate).

 

3 – ENHANCE CURRENT CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIPS.  Your best prospects are often your existing customers.  There are a number of things you can do to find more business in existing accounts including:

  • Conducting new needs assessments with accounts you’ve been selling to for quite awhile
  • Refine your sales strategy for each account
  • Expanding the number of contacts you have within your accounts and probing each one for new opportunities
  • Exploring possibilities in any divisions, other locations or firms your customers are aligned with
  • Conducting key account analyses with your peers or manager to identify or create sales opportunities
  • Identifying competitors who have a foothold in your accounts and devising strategies to displace them

 

Without a doubt, many companies are impacted by tough economic times.  But truly world-class companies and salespeople use adverse market conditions to beef up their sales strategy, outmaneuver competition and boost their market share.
 
 

All Rights Reserved.  The Sales Alliance Inc.  San Diego, CA

 

 

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Increase Sales Results and Performance

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Our proprietary Sales Improvement Model has been developed and refined over a 20-year period and has helped us increase sales results at over 250 large, medium and small companies. Although presented in a simple format, this model contains up to 50 best practices, sales management systems and sales processes.

 

Sales Alliance Sales Improvement Model

Using this model, a sales department can use the “6 levers” of sales performance, in conjunction with sales training, to significantly boost and sustain sales results.  Oftentimes, sales training organization focus just on the training itself.  But since people fail to retain more than 87% of what they learn in a sales course just one month later, a well-coordinated plan is needed to produce significant results and behavioral changes.

 

Achieve significant sales increases.  See a complete description of our Sales Improvement Model.

All Rights Reserved. The Sales Alliance Inc. San Diego, California.

 

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Discounting Sales: Don’t !!!

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 Sales discounts and negotiation

 

Customers are trained to asked for sales discounts and negotiate.  Why?  Because salespeople often oblige and fail to realize that the customer already perceives a benefit and wants to maximize value by getting these benefits at a lower price.  And salespeople, hearing repeated price objections, begin to themselves believe that their products and services are not worth the asking price. When we lack 100% confidence and conviction in the value of our solutions, it shows—and the end result is that customers succeed in negotiating sales discounts.  So, what can we do?

 

  1. Quantify the benefits of your product or service to the customer and show the financial savings!  Develop an ROI (Return-On-Investment) worksheet.
  2. Reference other customers who realized savings quickly.  Clip relevant articles that support the benefits and payback of your product or service.
  3. Avoid on-the-spot sales discounts as lowering prices can deflates the customer’s perception of the value you offer.
  4. If you do need to provide sales discounts, don’t do it without asking for something in return (e.g. a commit for certain quantities or shorter payment periods).  And if you need to give something to secure the order, consider including additional products or services in order to minimize the financial impact on your firm (e.g. you provide the customer with a $250 service that may only cost your firm $100 to provide).
  5. If you have the ability to make concessions, don’t let the customer know, or you’ll invite additional negotiations.
  6. If the customer does ask for sales discounts or concessions, determine his or her motivation prior to responding.  In many instances, granting sales discounts or concessions will not resolve the issue and will hurt your chances for the sale.

 

 

Possible Customer Motivations for Requesting Sales Discounts

  • The customer is not sold and does not believe in the value of your proposal
  • S/he is comparing “apples to oranges” and doesn’t understand why your product costs more
  • The customer is sold but does not see how the benefits she’ll get justifies the price
  • S/he is sold and as a good businessperson is simply trying to see if s/he can get a better price
  • S/he is sold but wants a “personal win” (e.g. a “good deal” in order to look good to the boss)

 

Remember, while it is common for customers to ask for sales discounts and concessions, the best and most skilled salespeople are adept at securing orders by stressing value rather than reducing cost.

  
All Rights Reserved.  The Sales Alliance Inc.  San Diego, California.

 

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Generating Incremental Sales via Customer Service Teams

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Customer Service Sales Training Excellence

 

Companies facing sales challenges are finding innovative ways of boosting sales without significantly increasing their costs or staffing levels–how? They’re developing customer service sales training courses  and programs that allow their customer service and technical support teams to identify leads, cross-sell, up-sell and help close key accounts.

 

To pave the way for success, these companies usually provide their service people, who are always looking for ways to boost their earnings, with both sales training and incentives. A survey by Inc. Magazine supports this trend toward sales by non-salespeople.  More than 54 percent of the companies polled said that they “reward non-sales employees for their role in sales.”  Another study, conducted by Xerox, also showed that non-sales professionals trained in sales techniques often achieve impressive results.

 

But, a word of caution is needed.  We’ve found that a number of service people are resistant to sales initiatives because they don’t like the idea of selling (after all, that’s why they’ve chosen a service rather than a sales role).  To address this reality, we’ve developed a comprehensive program that first helps motivate service people to sell and then provides them with appropriate “soft sell” skills and tools.

 

Smart companies look for opportunities to capitalize on each and every customer interaction, regardless of whether the employees involved are in a professional sales role.  If you’re looking for ideas on how to boost sales and motivate non-sales employees to sell for you, please contact us for a complimentary customer service sales consultation.

 

All Rights Reserved.  The Sales Alliance Inc.  San Diego, CA

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Sales Tools Key Component of Training

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Effective Sales Tools

 

Several studies have shown that people retain less than 15% of what they learn in just one month!  Moreover, most people lack the sales tools and coaching needed to permanently change their selling approaches.  So, how can sales training classes have a long-lasting impact?

 

Training effectiveness is greatly enhanced by providing sales tools that help salespeople apply specific techniques they’ve learned. Examples of effective sales tools that we help salespeople develop during sales training sessions include:

 

Effective Sales Tools

  1. Prospect research checklists
  2. Prospecting call and campaign openings
  3. Elevator speeches for profitable networking
  4. Qualification questions list
  5. Prospect ranking criteria (e.g. A,B,C quality rankings)
  6. Telephone openings
  7. Voicemail sales tools and approaches
  8. Phone tag reduction strategies
  9. Needs assessment questions
  10. Major account profiles
  11. Problems-solutions checklists
  12. Objections and responses list
  13. Commitments lists
  14. Negotiation concessions
  15. Key information to track on a CRM

 

Although managers have developed and supplied their people with some of these sales tools, salespeople rarely use them!  Why?  In short, “people support what they help to create.”  If salespeople create the sales tools, they’re much more apt to buy into and use them than if the tools are given to them.  After all, the truth most sales managers hate to acknowledge is that their suggestions are often downplayed or ignored.

 

In summary, when post-training sales coaching is combined with effective sales tools, long-term behavioral changes are likely to occur.
 
 
 

All Rights Reserved.  The Sales Alliance Inc.  San Diego, California.

 

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Sales Training Programs | Sales Courses