It holds true in any business; when your customers suffer, your business suffer. Especially when faced with such a slow recovery and talk of double recession in the Europe and the UK.
To keep afloat during rough times, you have to change the way you think about your business and advertising. What worked in the past does not work anymore. Businesses have to adjust to the ‘new normal’ or they will be wiped from the face of the earth.
Here are some ways to increase your sales during a recession:
- Offer bargains. In hard times people are looking for bargains more than before. Offer temporary price reduction to increase interest.
- Build up morale among your sales people. They are the front of the company and the more optimistic they are the more it instills a sense of security. Harvard Business School professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter says this is not the time to cut back on treating your team. Anxious customers need to see friendly faces. Treat morale building as an investment.
- Spend time on market research. If you are not busy selling, see what others are doing and think of ways to improve your outreach. Find what customers are not buying now and adjust your business model.
- Shift your resources and spend more on marketing. During a recession marketing is cheaper to buy and you have to reach more customers from different circles. Some of the marketing can be done online for free. Educate yourself or hire someone who knows social media.
- Follow up on old leads. Things might have changed. When things slow down it’s time to reach into the deep drawer and pull out all those business cards you haven’t seen in a while. Every little bit helps and few connections with old clients can expend your circle.
- Good customer service will make them come back. In a recession, when everyone is cutting prices, the way to excel is with customer service. Cherish your clients and be sensitive to their needs. Deliver on your promises and resolve complaints quickly.
- Find ways to attract new customers by offering payment plans, small orders or bulk prices, things you might have rejected in the past. Be more flexible than you have been before.
- Give your clients something more. Additional serviced such as warranty, telephone support or on-site visits, included in the purchase price, will make them feel supported and will cost you very little.
- Expend on partnerships. You are not the only one who is suffering right now, so search around to see if there’s someone you can partner with. You can share the cost of advertising, among other things.
- Re-negotiate. See what you can do to lower your costs. Find new and cheaper suppliers, maybe alternative shipping methods which will reduce the price per item
The way to increase your sales during a recession is to understand how important each and every client is to your bottom line. Good service, expert advice, and personal attention will make your clients want to come back and bring their friends.
About the Author:
Patrick Del Rosario is part of the team behind Open Colleges. It is one of Australia’s pioneer and leading providers of TAFE courses and business management courses. When not working, Patrick enjoys blogging about career and business. Patrick is also a photography enthusiast and is currently running a photography studio in the Philippines.