Your approach to economic crisis determines if it will favor you or not
The economy is obviously the driving force behind the success of many companies, individuals, and families. But the problem is that people quickly go bankrupt when the economy shakes.
All through history, economic depression has always been the major reason for the fall of small and great enterprises. It’s also in this period that suicide rates scale beyond normal. The single reason for all these is that most people never prepare for an economic downturn — and you know what happens when people experience the negative unexpected.
There are four responses people give to economic depression — and only one of these guarantees real success — we’d consider them one after the other and see why they are or aren’t the best move if success is the goal.
The four categories of response include:
1. The Cheerleader Response
2. The Old-School Response
3. The Quitter Response and the
4. Advance and Conquer response
The Cheerleader Response
People in this category keep their optimism high, even if the situation continues to be complicated. Optimism is good on a general note, but it’s not enough if not mixed with the corresponding action.
The cheerleader responder believes the economic situation will change for good and that nothing negative will happen to his business, family, or career. Still, it won’t be long before he realizes — often painfully — that positive thinking cannot take the place of action.
The Old School Response
This is a classic “back to the basics” response. People in this category find it difficult to understand changes in the economy. They believe that if things aren’t going as they should, then something’s wrong with their actions, and going back to the basics will be the solution.
It’s not wrong to ensure you’re getting the basics right, but understand that an economic recession is far different from a time of surplus — returning to the basics is not enough to get you up and running, especially when your goal is to dominate the market.
The Quitter Response
People in this group do nothing during a recession. They believe nothing can be done about the economic downturn, so they simply back out and wait for the economy to bounce back. These people do not have the stamina required to dig gold for themselves. Instead, they search for low-hanging fruit (easy business) and quickly run away when things get tough. They’re cancerous to the workforce.
Advance and Conquer
This is the response that guarantees survival in difficult times. You must admit that the economic situation has changed, but not just that, you also need to change with the economy. Economic downturns provide an excellent opportunity to grow your brand and dominate the market — but understand that achieving this requires innovative ideas and massive actions.
Anyone who recognizes that they have to act differently during tough times and don’t stop there but move themselves to take necessary actions will undoubtedly experience victory and dominance.
The advance and conquer approach is the best, and the good news is that anyone can use it if they’re knowledgeable enough. The proceeding sections will build internal structures in your mind to help you take such an approach to your life and business.
Reactive your powerbase (friends, family, colleagues, past employers/employees, etc.)
After deciding to advance and conquer the market, the next step is to begin building an audience for your products and services. It’s hard to get an audience at this time because the economy is terrible, and people seldom buy anything. However, you can start with your social circles.
People tend to buy more from individuals or organizations they trust — especially when money is scarce. You want to take advantage of that spending habit.
You do this by reconnection with your power base — family, friends, colleagues, etc.
The thing about power base is that they may not fall into your target market, but they will likely know someone who does. Have you ever heard the saying that you’re only four people away from the United States president?
When reconnecting with your power base, the last thing you want to do is to sound salesy.
Don’t do it. Instead, think of it as reconnecting with people you’ve lost touch with for a long.
A phone call or direct visit works better than mail — of course, you can and should follow those two with an email or mail.
When doing the phone call or physical visit, try not to sell your product or service. Simply ask how they’re faring. Ask about their family, their jobs, etc. Most likely, they will also ask you what you’re doing at the time. Reply to them, but be sure not to market anything.
End the call by asking if you could meet within the month. Chances are they missed you and would like to catch up, so meeting up shouldn’t be a problem.
Still yet, don’t sell anything at the time of your meeting. Just catch up, but let them know what you’re into. That way, it will be easier for them to contact you for your service or tell people about what you’re doing. Note that the essence of this stage is relationship rebuilding.
Extend your market through existing clients
Remember what we hinted at earlier? The people you know will most likely know someone who needs your service.
This is why keeping good relationships is vital in business. You can get more clients for your business through the existing ones. It’s easier than you think because all you need to do is ask them!
People will be willing to recommend you to their circles if they’ve had a great experience with you, especially when they find your product useful.
Simply ask them something along the lines of: “Sam, let me ask you — do you have any friends, family, or business associates who would have a use for or an interest in the products and services I represent?”
You’ll be stunned at how many leads you can get doing this. If peradventure, a client says they don’t know anyone, the author suggests you follow your question up with something like: “I understand. If you did know someone, who might it be?”. This question will make the client think deeper, and they might just remember someone.
When your client knows a potential client, do not ask for their permission to obtain the potential client’s contact. Ask for it directly — e.g., do not say, “Do you have her mobile number?” or “Will you give me his contact?”. Instead, speak like this: “Great! At what number can I reach him? What’s his email address” etc. Be sure to ask, “Why did you think of him?”.
Basically, the goal is to learn as much as you can about the incoming client. Note the following important point.
Do you know how to keep existing clients and even make them market your brand without being asked to do so?
The secret is to wow them with excellence. Take a minute to ponder. Has anyone given you a “wow” experience within the last 90 days? Your answer will likely be a strong no — and so will be that of a million other people.
The reason is simple: individuals and businesses quickly get engrossed in chasing customers that they never think of giving every client an exceptional experience.
This is an edge you want to explore and use to dominate your market. As much as possible, strive to give your clients an experience they will not forget in a hurry. You’ll be amazed at how they will freely market your brand when you do this and stick to it.
Here’s a shocker: wowing your clients have little to do with producing the best product or selling at the lowest price – but it has everything to do with service.
The way you treat your client/customer matters a lot. Ensure to deliver your best before, during, and after selling to them. This won’t necessarily take much from you. Just decide in your heart to treat your clients exceptionally, and you’ll find ideas coming to your head.
Here are two real-life examples for inspiration. The first is from the author’s personal experience. At one point in his career as a salesman, he sold a highly competitive product in a bad economy. One day, he was to meet a potential client. It was the hot season, and the sun was doing its job.
So, upon meeting the client, he offered to buy the client a drink. He asked the client what he wanted to buy, and he replied, “DIET coke.” The author didn’t just buy the coke. He went to the store and returned with a can of coke, an empty glass, and another filled with ice and asked the client how he wanted to be served. That gesture wowed the client.
He quickly closed the deal, and the man became a long-term client.
In another story, the author’s friend was to take a course in a new city. The author advised his friend to lodge in a less popular hotel against an international hotel — not because of the price difference. Still, for the excellent service, the small hotel could provide.
His friend agreed. As a follow-up, the author called the hotel manager and asked him to make sure his friend was given the best treatment possible. The hotel did just that, and in the end, the author’s friend was happy.
You see, that’s how to dominate the market irrespective of the size of your business. In fact, smaller businesses and independent professionals stand a better chance of dominating in terrible economies because they can afford to give each customer exceptional treatment instead of mass selling and advertising.
When trying to impress customers, some people erroneously think reducing the price of their product alone will make their audience prefer them to their competitors. This almost never works. The only time it has been proven to work is when the business in question is based on vast amounts of in-demand products and small profit margins — something like The Dollar Store, or Wal-Mart. If your business isn’t anything like those, don’t do it.
Price reduction tends to diminish a product’s value as the potential customer sees it. And don’t forget, in contracting economies, people are more disposed to buying products they think will provide the most value.
Rather than slashing the price of your product, focus on ramming it with value. Make it so valuable your client can’t resist returning to you. After that, learn how to communicate the value, so your client sees herself in your product. This is particularly vital because, no matter how good a product is, the customer only buys if she feels it can solve her problem or make her feel more self-confident.
The value you bring to the table can help you make more sales effortlessly. Do your products have complementary products you could suggest to your clients after their first purchase?
No? You might want to start brainstorming how to add that to your marketing strategy.
A good ancillary product will prompt a second purchase almost immediately after the first. And this will mean more sales and profit for you.
For example, if you’re in the business of selling corporate wear, and your client purchases a business suit, a tie, and one shirt; you could suggest they also buy an additional shirt and a shoe to match the suit. The additional shirt will mean the client will have multiple options of appearance, and he might just go for the shoe since it matches his suit. The second deal is always easier to close because the client already sees the value of what you’re presenting. But here’s a caution: don’t suggest the second sale until the first deal is closed.
Act hungry: Loosen up your client restrictions to get more market
If you put the above principles into practice, you’ll begin to notice some level of growth in your business. But it’s important that you don’t let that get into your head so much so that you begin to feel you don’t need more clients. Such a heart disposition is cancerous in a contracting economy because anything can happen.
While you celebrate your small wins, affirm to yourself that there’s room for more and go for it. Don’t let people perceive you don’t need their business — it should be the exact opposite. Act hungry. Don’t be ashamed to market your products and ask for patronage.
No matter how you consider it, your clients are the most important in your business. Without them, you’ll be out of the market.
Doing this might mean losing up on your client restriction. You can’t afford to be extremely picky, especially if you are yet to achieve your desired business growth.
If, for instance, your service is for fortune 500 companies, but you aren’t getting the kind of market you desire, you could expand a little and add medium-scale businesses to your ideal client list.
The tactics might appear over-the-board and unreasonable, but such is the level of action required to survive and dominate, rather than succumb and be swallowed up in the wind of the contracting economy. The tactics don’t only work for contracting economies, they will make you a leader in every economy if you paid careful attention to executing them rather than folding your arms and complaining.
The most important skill sets in a contracting economy are sales, communication, and negotiation. Devote your time to mastering these skills while you practice the tactics presented in this summary.