All life after 9.11.2001 will be different. Yes, our world has changed. The question is: how will that affect your world? More specifically, your sales world.
Will your customers still buy?
Will they be in the mood to buy?
Are they scared?
Are you scared?
What are you doing besides worrying and griping?
Our political leaders and military will take the responsibility for our response and retaliation for the horrible attack and loss of life caused by scumbag, lowlife, scurrilous creeps.
In the meantime you have a job to do. Make sales not war.
In troubled times, there is a doubled reluctance.
You don’t feel like it, and you are unsure of how your customer or prospect will react to your sales call.
To that I have a three word answer: Get over it.
Now is the time for action, not reluctance. Now is not the time to just get back to normal, but to get beyond normal. Because for the next year or more, normal ain’t gonna cut it.
While we will have warriors thousands of miles away fighting terrorist bastards – we must fight here at home. You must become a sales warrior. And so must I.
Here’s what to expect in battle: Sales will be harder to come by. People will still be buying, but there will be less business to go around. People will be more price conscious. This means more time must be spent on your value proposition, so that you can maintain your price (and profit). There will be new attacks on your present customers by your competition. If you have great relationships with your existing (loyal) customers, you’re OK. If not, guard the fort. Be prepared to invest in your present relationships as much as you are in trying to attract new business. Your referrals from customers who love you will be much more effective than cold calls. Your customers and prospects are in the same scramble that you are and will have less time for salespeople. You’d better be an information resource, not a salesman.
Here’s what to think about, what to do, and how to win:
- Be perceivably different than the competition, or it will boil down to price. This is where creativity kicks in. Make a list of all the things you do and say about your stuff that your competition does NOT do or say about their stuff. OUCH! Now get down to the business of how and why you’re different. Sales idea: Put something extra in your sale that helps the customer build his business. Offer free customer service training programs.
- Build stronger relationships NOW. Invest in keeping your present customers loyal. They are the prime targets of your competition. Sales idea: Develop an online ezine that is 98% customer focused. As long as the emphasis is on building their business, they won’t mind (and may even act on) your commercial. Create an ezine that someone is compelled to email someone else.
- New contacts and prospects will not have much time for you. Neither will your customers. Because people will have less time than ever to buy your stuff, you must earn your way in, not ask your way in. They’re busy scrambling to sell more of their stuff. Sales idea: Help them sell. Get them in front of new prospects at the same time you want to be in front of them. Create these winning scenarios and you will earn more business.
- Network more than you have ever networked. Get in front of prospects and customers outside of the standard office visit. Intensify your present plan. DOUBLE your networking time, get in front of every customer and prospect you can in a non business environment. Sales idea: Make a list of three of your top customers that you’d like to network with. People who can introduce you to prospects. Carve out more time before and after work. Lots more.
- Ask harder and smarter questions to get to the heart of why or why not. People will still be buying, just not as much or as often. Intelligent questioning about THEM will get you answers that affect you. Sales idea: Go to www.gitomer.com and enter the words SMART QUESTIONS in the GitBit box. You’ll get 30 lead-ins to questions designed to get your prospect to respect you, and answer questions about them, in terms of you.
- Get them business. Yes that’s right. Bring them business so you can EARN yours. Imagine making a call on your prospect and bring a lead or a hot prospect. After four or five of these incidents, they won’t know whether you’re buying or selling. Sales idea: Make a plan to get sales leads for your customers. Make phone calls and cold calls for them. Deliver the leads as soon as you get them. Never ask for anything in return. Once they discover you’re there to help, business will come.
- Buy something yourself. Invest in America. Help keep America green by spreading some money around. Fly someplace, shop, buy ten shares of stock, buy stuff from your customers, give gifts, get your kid a new computer, buy yourself something nice (you deserve it and it feels good).
- Wave the flag. After the death of my father three years ago, the government sent us a flag because he was a WWII veteran. Last week I unfurled in our home. It hangs down from the rafters. It’s an 8 foot flag with embroidered stars. A real American beauty. I may never take it down.
A few days ago I got an email from a sales warrior named Hank Trisler. It was a self assertion of frustration and resolve. In his essay he quoted the immortal words of the late great Red Motley, Nothing happens until someone sells something. And went on to affirm his determination that he would sell more to help our country. Hank laid out a plan to contact his best customers and ask them for more business. He will get it. And so can you.
One final note: all sales revolve around three basic self development elements: Your personal philosophy, your positive attitude, and your personal belief system. For the last decade I have stated you must believe in your company, believe in your product, and believe in yourself, or you cannot sell. And to that I will now add that you must believe in your country. And those beliefs must be stronger than those who oppose you.
Salespeople and customers – take up your arms – not your firearms – your economic arms, and fight like hell to win.
Free GitBit…If you would like the entire Hank Trisler essay, That was the week that was just go to www.gitomer.com, register if you’re a first time user, and enter TRISLER in the GitBit box.
If you have a comment, it is most welcome. Please send it to email@example.com. I will answer everyone personally.
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 internet training programs on selling and customer service at www.trainone.com. He can be reached at 704/333-1112 or e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org