I recently participated in a webcast sponsored by Blackberry, (I love mine!) titled, “Moving Your Business Forward Even When The Economy Won’t Cooperate.” Now, that’s a title! Our own Anita Campbell was the moderator, and Andy Birol, a Profitable Growth Consultant, was on hand to lend his expertise.
Andy jumped right in by saying that “trust is the biggest casualty of this recession,” and that customers and clients need lots of reassurances. He went on to say that “your prices don’t matter if you’re not trusted.” Many years ago, when I was in auto sales, one of my sales managers told me pretty much the same thing, and obviously it still stands.
Speaking of auto sales, Andy brought up Toyota. (I guess we’re going right back to this “trust” thing, again.) Toyota vehicles for years, have been known for their high quality. In one month’s time things have changed. According to Andy, Toyota should immediately embark on an aggressive campaign to start differentiating themselves. He suggested that they could give every Toyota owner a free oil change for their vehicles, for starters. He feels that getting Toyota customers back into the dealerships, where they can talk with dealership personnel, would be a very positive step.
Andy discussed the fact that this recession has spurred an army of “anxious prospects.” He said that the key to selling your products or services to customers that are rather anxious is to immediately deal with their fears. Andy says that “companies don’t buy, people do and everyone is worried. Expect your clients to express FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) at every step.” Read more from Andy Birol about ways you can help alleviate some of your prospects fears.
I agree with Andy. If you ignore the fact that your prospects have some fears about what you’re offering, (whether their fears are justified or not) you’ll come across as uncaring, and they’ll feel that you’re just after the sale. Extra time and schmoozing may be required to move your prospects forward, in times like these.
Webcast attendees were also offered some food for thought. Andy describes the process that should be used to acquire new customers;
- Define your customers’ buying process
- Outline the best ways to close
- Track things. Figure out how many prospects you need at each step of your sales funnel
- Figure out how much you can spend to acquire a customer
If you didn’t have a chance to participate in the webcast, you can still view the presentation. There’s even more great information that you can use to in your own small business that will help you adapt to your customer’s current recessionary mindset, and get your business back on track.
Watch the archived webcast here.
As you figure out how many prospects are needed at each step of your sales funnel, it may also point out bottlenecks in your funnel that could be improved. Increasing your close rate (conversion rate) on prospects is often an easier way to increase closes without increasing traffic.
Thanks for chiming in. You’re right about the bottleneck part. As Andy said, one such bottleneck may be that;
“Your prospects have some fears about what you’re offering.’
How many of us ever think about that?
The Franchise King
I couldn’t agree more, Joel!
Showcasing your products and services too early, without taking time to probe client needs can be insulting and a “trust-buster”. Instead, honor the unique needs of your client by asking probing questions. Be inquisitive about their goals, frustrations, hopes, and struggles. ONLY THEN link the utility of your products and services to their specific needs.
Very pertinent points. I think engaging the prospect in a conversation where you identify that the fear, uncertainty and doubt existis a very important first step. Exploring the affects it can have on the the prospect’s business will help you to build trust. If exponential growth is not on the horizon for the prospect, reposition your pitch to one of mitigating risk and reducing the doubt within the prospect.
I would also add ; create a passion statement” for your business as I discussed in my blog http://nosmokeandmirrors.wordpress.com/2010/05/24/want-to-jump-start-sales-and-morale-write-a-%e2%80%9cpassion-statement%e2%80%9d-for-your-business%e2%80%a6/#comment-524
Mark Allen Roberts