The New New Economy. That’s the economy that’s coming right after the New Economy’s bubble finishes bursting.
The new economy is over. Some of it worked, some of it bombed, or should I say, dot.bomed. And many businesses – dot or not — are experiencing their first dose of tight times in the past ten years.
Have you noticed the change?
Why did the dot.com economy fail? It’s because someone forgot to sell something. They tried (unsuccessfully) to combine their business idea with the philosophy of the movie, “Field of Dreams.” If you build it, they will come. One problem. They came, but they didn’t buy.
For a year or so, America marveled at how some kid could come to work in flip-flops, and raise a ton of money to “staff-up,” advertise, give everyone stock options and Beemers, and then do ostensibly nothing, other than have an idea and a (very expensive) business plan (also called “model”) that he thought might work. Wow, how did he do that? Well, it turns out he couldn’t… he failed at it. And because that greed bandwagon has come to an abrupt halt, we are now back to business as usual – dog-eat-dog. Or in their case, mouse eat mouse.
The pinch is upon us. And if it ain’t you yet, don’t be too sure it won’t be after big companies do their new budgets, and you get cut.
As the old “new economy” tightens down a bit – and its replacement, the “new new economy” cranks up, some people will be in panic mode. Many (maybe even you) have never experienced a slowing of sales. I was in Charlotte, NC for the last one, (’89,’90,’91) and that’s how I began to build my successful business here – selling and networking while others were whining.
“OK, OK, enough with the soapbox, Jeffrey.” you say, “We want ANSWERS. Business is starting to slow, and we want to know. NOW!”
Oh, I get it. You want to know what to do. Cool. I have just the formula. BUT, it will require a different (than last year’s) work ethic to make it happen. I’ll tell you what to do, but you gotta do it, baby. Here are the 24.5 sales and personal strategies needed to succeed in these new new times, and a new new question at the end of each strategy to test your reality:
1. Guard your present customers with your life. Others will be eyeing your customers like a hungry tiger ready to hunt fresh prey. Now is the time to invest time and money in relationship. New new question: What would happen if you lost two of your top ten customers to your competition? What’s your plan to be CERTAIN that doesn’t happen? Ouch!
2. It’s the relationship not the price. When business isn’t expanding, everyone will be trying to steal your customers with a lower price. Your biggest opportunity is to build relationships with value (help customers build their business, give them ideas they can use for their profit). Your biggest vulnerability is to ignore your present customers in quest of additional customers. New new question: What new ways have you created to build relationships?
3. It’s now time to do the things you didn’t do (or put off) when you were fat and happy. Start here — Train yourself to be the best. Train your people to be the best. Now is the time to invest in your people with the best possible training both in sales and service, and now is the time to encourage your people to invest in their own time to study. New new question: What is your training budget? What is your training discipline each week?
4. Review your quality, and eliminate anything that isn’t BEST. Elevate everything you do or have anything to do with to “best.” Take a quality inventory, and compare your products and services with your competitors and your market. If you’re not in first place, you will lose ground to someone who is. Lexus and Mercedes will continue to sell cars. Lower quality car dealerships will drop like flies. New new question: When was your last internal quality review of everything and everyone? What are you BEST at?
5. Network more than you have ever networked. It is the single best way to build existing relationships and find new ones. Rededicate yourself to the networking process. If you’re not networking 4-6 hours a week, you will lose to someone who does. Networking is the ideal way to build relationships, whether it’s a golf outing, a trade association meeting, or just a lunch with two or three customers and two or three prospects that you bring to the table for them. NOTE WELL: The good ‘ole boys network is alive and well. Don’t curse it, embrace it. Join it. Y’ever been good ‘ole boy’ed? Sure you have. Somebody else had an inside track or a better relationship than you did, and got the business. And it’s most interesting to note that “Billy Bob” doesn’t have the lowest price, he just has the best relationship. New new question: Do you have a written one-year networking plan to get in front of more customers and prospects?
6. Position yourself as a person of value, by being seen and known in the community. If you become known as a person of value, people will seek you out for answers (not brochures). This is a combination of networking, industry and community leadership, and reputation. In this economy (more than ever before) it’s not who you know, it’s who knows you. New new question: What do the top ten people in your industry know about you? Do they call you?
7. Everyone else will be scrambling too, and may not have time to hear a bunch of crap about you. But customers and prospects ALWAYS have time for valuable information, and new ideas to help them build THEIR business. Think about it this way. Do your customers need another one of your brochures or product sheets? Or would they rather have a hot sales lead? Why not make a list of ten things that you can begin to give your customers that are low in cost, like sales leads, but high in value. And begin to make daily or weekly communications to strengthen your present status, and earn future orders. You better have bullet proof customers, because your competition is packing heat. New new question: Have you identified five areas where you can give value? What value do you give now?
8. Build your reputation, because that’s what you will become known by. The actions you have taken over the past few years have molded your present reputation. How is it? The biggest challenge in slow times is: Do everything you can to build an impeccable reputation — P.S. Not everybody will like you… get over it. But your best chance for success over the next few years is have lots of customers who LOVE you. New new question: What do people say about you when you’re not there?
9. Make decisions based on who you want to become – not simply on the basis of your monthly quota. Eventually this mess will be over – where will you be AS the smoke clears? Please note that I did not say “when” the smoke clears. Because when the smoke clears, it’s too late. Your reputation, based on your words, deeds, and actions, will be a legacy that you leave for yourself. If you heed the words of Dr. Paul Homoly who preaches, “Make all decisions based on the person you want to become, rather than on your present situation,” then all of your actions will be directed towards long term relationships rather than short term quotas. New new question: When you make a sale, are you making short term compromise or long term commitments?
10. Spend more time figuring out solutions, than whining about problems. “You can’t be a winner if you’re a whiner, wiener.” That’s a famous quote said in 1993 by me after I observed who came out of the recession of ’91 and who didn’t. This is a time to prepare and be your best, and you can’t do that if you’re whining. The good news is, most people will be whining. This leaves plenty of room for you to succeed. Keep in mind that people will still be buying during this period of time, they just won’t be buying as much. Business (sales) will go to the prepared. New new question: What are you whining about? What solutions make you a winner?
11. Study Attitude, don’t just think you have a good one. Spend 15 minutes a day reading. Best time is in the morning, before you start your day. Read happy, positive thoughts, even if it’s just a re-read of a Dr. Seuss book. (The best one for salespeople is Green Eggs and Ham). New new question: What are you reading every morning? Or are you just watching TV?
12. Invest, don’t spend. (In money, in time, in business, in anything that you do.) Now is the time to guard your assets (and perhaps the abbreviated form of the word). It’s real easy to put your head in the sand and think that everything will return to the way it was. Reality is, dig in but use your assets to build a fortress of positive thought, new information and strategic appearances at networking events to ensure business victory. New new question: What is your time investment in yourself each day?
13. Create a REAL (and perceived) difference between you and everyone else. Work on differentiation in new ways. Change EVERYTHING ordinary to memorable. Greetings, literature, proposals, messages, and you. New new question: What is memorable about you? What is different about you?
14. The new new rules include the internet and ecommerce. For speed, ease of doing business, the appearance of 24.7.365, ease of communication, scheduling, inventory availability, AND information that helps others build THEIR business, your web presence must border on dominance. If you didn’t invest in the web when you had the money, bite a bullet and do it now. Or prepare to lose to someone who does. New new question: What is WOW about your website?
15. Study Creativity. Upgrade everything you say, every action you take, and every customer communication (brochure, fax cover sheet, business card, invoice) to WOW! New new question: What book on creativity have you read in the past three months?
16. Learn the joy of rejection. Practice by making more cold calls. More people will be saying “no” to you. Get over it. New new question: What do you say when someone tells you “no”? What should (could you) you say?
17. Work while others sleep. The earlier you rise, the better chance you have of bettering yourself and beating the competition. This column has existed and thrived for 9 years. Written early in the morning and late at night. I owe my success to the fact that I’m willing to do more than most other people are willing to do. Much more. Look at “balance” a new way – if you’re not working out of balance, your checkbook will be. New new question: What are your work hours? What are your TV hours?
18. Become a morning person, not an evening person. After 43 years, I finally discovered that my thoughts are better and clearer in the morning. If you’re reading this and think “you’ve got it all wrong Jeffrey, I’m an evening person” You’re incorrect. The reason most people don’t think of themselves as morning people is because they’re so screwed up the night before, they can’t function in the morning. New new question: What do you do with your early morning hours? What else could you be doing?
19. What you do off the job, will determine your success on the job. Invest your money in books and training not beer. (re-read number 15). New new question: What are you doing in the evening that’s keeping you from being a morning person? Ouch!
20. Put your goals in front of your face and say them twice a day. The formula for achieving goals may differ, but the universal truth of “out of sight, out of mind,” still remains valid. Write your goals on post it notes on your bathroom mirror and read them twice a day until they’re accomplished. Then post them on your bedroom mirror. New new question: What goals are you not even working on?
21. Figure out the daily dose and do that no matter what. Part two of goal achievement is to break the goal down into daily actions. Save $1,000 at three bucks a day. Make 30 sales with 5 appointments a day. If you figure out and can consistently achieve the smallest bite each day, any goal is within your grasp. New new question: What small bit could you do each day toward your biggest goal?
22. Bet on yourself – and get in shape to do it or you won’t win the race. You better be a lean, mean, selling machine. This is a time to invest in your mental self, not in your material self. New new question: What can you do to get “leaner and meaner”? How much are you investing in you?
23. It is, and always has been your attitude. If someone asks you “How ya doin?” You respond with: “Cashin’ checks!” New new question: What do you say when people ask you, “How’s it going?”
24. It’s not up to your company. It’s up to you. Take responsibility and ownership of your job, your work habits, your customers, and yourself. New new question: Who are you blaming for things you should be taking responsibility for?
24.5 Regain the tenacity you had as a four year old in the grocery store asking your mom for a candy bar, and not taking “no” for an answer. How often did you make that sale? As often as you’re making sales now? How tenacious were you then? Now? If you need help in this area, take your child shopping. New new question: Giving up too soon? What could you be fighting harder for?
Wow – that’s a list. All you have to do is master each strategy and the market share will remain yours.
Business Summary? Sure. There’s less (but lots) of business, but don’t be looking too hard and look past your biggest asset — present customers and vendors (yes vendors). Do all you can to keep your customers loyal, because your foxy competition is hungry and looking for food in your hen house. Take new new steps to keep your customers loyal.
Personal Summary? Sure. The New New Economy will be shaped and determined by the dedication to the New New You!
Free GitBit… Want to start taking Actions that will give you a positive attitude FOREVER? I have uncovered two secret actions that you can take use immediately. Go to www.gitomer.com – register if you’re a first time user, and enter the words ATTITUDE FOREVER in the GitBit box.
Jeffrey Gitomer, author of The Sales Bible, and Customer Satisfaction is Worthless, Customer Loyalty is Priceless. President of Charlotte-based Buy Gitomer, he gives seminars, runs annual sales meetings, and conducts training programs on selling and customer service. He can be reached at 704/333-1112 or e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org