There are two good times to take advantage of your competition:
- When business is good. It is easier to make a good time better than a bad time good.
- During a recession is a great time to increase sales because your competition is cutting back their marketing. But the trick is to increase your marketing while decreasing your marketing costs.
In the 80s, you know when the last bad recession hit the United States, all my jewelry competitors were walking around wringing their hands asking each other when it would end. Most everyone. I was among the aggressive that stopped reading the paper and listening to the experts about how bad things were. I was among the ones who did not react to the market conditions. I acted. And I acted very, very aggressively.
A few of my aggressive actions in a recession:
- I went to my suppliers and asked for and received much lower pricing and longer dating to pay. When the market is slow their warehouses fill up. They are willing to sacrifice price to empty them.
- Although I cut my media advertising back, I convinced the media that it was in their best interest to lower the prices they charged me so I would do some advertising when many of their other customers, my competition, were stopping their marketing.
- I decided marketing directly to my prospects was a good way to go and made deals with my printer to lower my cost on printed marketing materials. Although I could not get the post office to give me a discount on stamps, I still found direct marketing using postal mail along with flyers was a very economical and successful way to reach my customers and prospects.
- When my employees were not busy I had them go door to door and hand deliver our advertising/promotional materials. But not for long, because as we became more and more aggressive in contacting our customers and our competition’s customers (our prospects) our sales grew and grew.
- I used the Magic Words – “WHO DO YOU KNOW?” Every customer on your customer list, every customer you sell to, knows someone who needs or wants the products and services you sell. All you have to do is ask them, “Who do you know that also needs or wants the products and services I sell?” It works, not all the time, but it works enough to help you survive and prosper in a recession.
- I sent my employees to places where I knew people talked about their problems, needs and wants. Local bars. When my staff heard someone talking about their problems that one of the products/services we sold would solve, they got their names and telephone numbers and talked to them about how we could solve their problem. Then a follow up call was made the next day. Many of these contacts turned into sales.
There are still people out there buying your products and services. Not as many, but there are a lot of them. If they are not buying from you, they are buying from your competition. All you have to do is take those customers away from your competition.
First you must stop the insanity – “Doing the same things over and over again and expecting different results.” Your market has changed, you must change the way you market and sell.
You must become more aggressive. More aggressive in your marketing and selling techniques. More aggressive today than you were yesterday. And more aggressive tomorrow than you were today. You must be more aggressive than your competition in contacting your customers and theirs.
Remember the old saying, “To increase demand for your products and services, you must increase the offer.”
In the Houston Astrodome 100 thousand salespeople were lined up against the west wall. Directly across the dome on the east wall were lined up 100 thousand customers. Then, every ten seconds, they walked toward each other until they were half the previous distance apart. A mathematician, a physicist, and an business professional were asked, “When will the salespeople and the customers meet?”
The mathematician said: “Never.”
The physicist said: “In an infinite amount of time.”
The business professional said: “When the offer is good enough.”
You can survive and prosper during a recession if you act, not react.
- Work harder and longer hours.
- You must lower your operating cost.
- You must increase the number of advertising impressions your prospects see. You do not have to increase your marketing cost.
- Market to your perfect prospects. Those people who you can make the most amount of money from with the least amount of costs (time and money).
- Market to your competition’s customers.
- Use low cost advertising:
- It cost no more to make a thousand telephone calls than to make one.
- Arrange with a non-competitive business to hand out each other’s marketing materials.
- Use your vehicles including personal ones, to advertise specials with signs.
- Increase your point of purchase signage.
- Use attractive signs outside of your business.
- Create and hand out circulars.
- Make presentations at clubs and organizations.
- Market to private and public organizations.
Don’t forget to use one of your most valuable assets – your customer list. Always go to your customer list. If they purchased from you once they will purchase your products and services again.
The key actions needed to surviving and prospering in a recession:
- Take advantage of the opening your competition is giving you when they cut back their marketing and selling aggressiveness.
- Lower your overall operating cost.
- Be more aggressive in contacting your customers and prospects.Increase the offer to increase the demand for your products and services.
- Become more and more aggressive. More aggressive today than yesterday. More aggressive tomorrow than today. And always more aggressive than your competition.
Bob Janet – Sales consultant/trainer, speaker, author of “Join The Profit Club” combines 40 plus years as owner/operator of professional, retail, manufacturing and service businesses with his unique teaching and storytelling ability to motivate, educate and inspire business professionals of all levels and all industries for increased sales & profits. Contact Bob at 800-286-1203, or e-mail Bob@BobJanet.com.