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 22.5 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, compare your products and services with your competitor 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?
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 ‘ol boys network is alive and well. Don’t curse it, embrace it. Join it. Y’ever been good ol 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 networking plan to get in front of more customers and prospects?
Oh, rats – the new new economy also calls for economy of words – I’ve used my allotment this week – see you here next week — same sales time, same sales channel – for the rest of the new new news.
Free GitBit… Want a dose of the force-behind-the-force? I would love to email you two pages on persistence — they will help you stick at it until you win. Go to www.gitomer.com – register if you’re a first time user, and enter the word PERSISTENCE 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