So the year has started badly. You thought all that start of year pent up demand would have you rocking.
But sales are thin and the funnel is pretty darn dry.
You’re beating on your outside sales team and they are doing everything they can with their customer base. Or worse yet you don’t even have an outside sales team…don’t laugh many companies don’t. They rely only on word of mouth. They feel that good enough has been good enough so far and that things will come around, just like every other time in the past they have come around. But alas, this time it’s different; this slump has been going on for months and now you are entering the panic mode and you have to do something!
The problem is you have to do it now. If something doesn’t change soon you are going to have to close up shop and that is something you just don’t want to face.
You are really behind the eight ball because most well-organized sales initiatives take about 90 days to get going and at least 120 days before you start seeing results. You should have started this months ago, hell you should have been doing it all along, But that’s another story…I’ll save that lecture for another day.
So now you have to do something, to make something happen…not rocket science that. But it is a fact. Do something and do it now!
If you’re going to do something at least have some sort of plan that will stand a chance of getting some sales in the house before it closes.
Here is that plan
Here is an emergency plan for increasing sales right away.
The most important thing you can do at this time is to try to get sales as quickly as possible. Create a sense of urgency…not panic but urgency. Let your team know that their jobs depend in getting sales into the house now!
For this you will need to get all hands on deck. You will have to push the inside sales people you do have and then recruit from other departments. Put anyone who can handle a phone on the phone and do it now!
Part One: Using the current database/ how good is our data base at this time?
- Try to contact as many customers and potential customers as possible.
- Current customers
- You need to go through and evaluate this list immediately.
- If they are nearby they need to be visited to see what they have going and to see if we can do anything for them.
- If they have not ordered in a while ask them why not? Ask them if there is something you can do to get going with some orders again
- You need to discuss with them how they are doing
- Go over the orders you have in house and ask them if they have anything else you can work on
- Review your finished goods list with you and try to sell their boards which you have in stock.
- Work with them to help you help them.
- And sell them on buying from you right now. Tell them you are willing to make a deal they cannot refuse,
- Current customers
Part Two: Orphans: Customers we used to do business with.
- They are the next group to contact.
- Why did they leave?
- Do they have business now?
- Make a priority list of these and start contacting them immediately.
- This group is very important. They know you and they once did business with you. They need to be contacted. This is what we call the “low hanging fruit”
Part Three: New potential customers:
These have to be customers where you feel you are close to getting something from them. Of course you also have to work on the long term, but for the sake of this plan you need to go after customers who may want to send you business in the near, very near future.
Part Four: Measure your way to success: This is important: you need to keep track of all the sales calls you make. You need to put together some sort of plan with goals like how many customers do you want to talk to in a day? You should be measuring the following:
- number of calls a day
- What they said
- Any actions required
- What is the next step?
This is best done using an excel spread sheet. Review it every o day to make sure that things are happening and progress is being made. This is hard work, but it works. You have to make something happen.
Part Five: Do some guerilla marketing:
- Create a pitch: A reason why customers would want to come to you. Free tooling, great price whatever, and just some kind of promotion.
- Permission marketing: Take a good look at your data base, sort it out and then from there you can develop a permission marketing plan. You can choose from one or some or all of these methods of reaching out to customers:
- Postcards (yes believe it or not that are back and they work in this e-mail world)
- Fax (when is the last time you tried this? Imagine getting a fax sales offer today!)
- Direct letters (who can resist opening a letter. Especially if the address is hand written. No labels please0
You need to be sending these out every two weeks, like clockwork. The most important thing is to get in touch with as many possible in the shortest amount of time.
Now come closer….here is the real secret about increasing you sales…if you do something, something will happen. Like I said this is not rocket science but it is only common sense