The pandemic has seen many terrible things, including the closure of businesses and plummeting revenue. Around the world, developed economies were damaged with an estimated output decline of 5.6% in 2020. In Malaysia, our economy shrunk 6% last year, reversing the growth of 4.3% in the previous year according to the IMF.
And it doesn’t stop there as this year continues to witness more uncertainty, with lockdown and movement restriction measures almost all throughout 2021. How would businesses stay afloat amidst reduced spending and consumer doubts? Smart businesses have a plan for when the recession hits as part of the economic cycle. They adopt a novel strategy when selling in poor economies.
Read more: The Complete Guide to Inbound Sales
Let’s look at 6 such ways you can adopt to increase sales in a tough economy:
1. Tighten Your Prospecting & Talk to the Right People
Instead of contacting hundreds of cold prospects, figure out who your ideal consumer is and target those who fit that profile. We recommend using the Buyer Persona model to help you with this. You can look at your current customers if you aren't sure who your ideal consumer is. You can also examine the demographics of current consumers to see what characteristics they have in common.
You can then use this data to acquire new consumers through sales strategies. This way, your prospecting will be more strategic and efficient. You’d spend more time talking to the right people!
Read more: What is a Buyer Persona?
2. Make Yourself More Visible
Prospects will forget about you (sorry). But that just means you have to ramp up your networking efforts- such as going to the right events. Presenting at industry conferences and participating in your association's events are some ways to boost your visibility. You could provide them with a reason to engage and buy from you instead of a competitor if you enhance your visibility. By doing so, you will be more stand-out from your competitors and make yourself more appealing for customers to buy from you.
3. Listen to Their Needs, Even When It Doesn’t Involve You
Gone are the days when salespeople parrot well-rehearsed sales pitches to less-than-willing prospects. Especially now when turning down a pitch is very easy, you need to re-strategise how to engage with prospects. Start by shifting your mindset from mere selling to assisting them in solving any challenges they may be having.
Listen to their needs and develop a genuine relationship through understanding and empathy. Your goal isn’t to sell them something (at least, not yet), but to create that trust and relationship first. You can do this through consultations, offering resources, and giving them genuine solutions.
4. Highlight Benefits, not Features of Your Solutions
One helpful way to sell better is to talk more about how your products or services can give active benefits to customers. Boasting about features might sound nice, but it only talks about your side of the story, what your business is proud of. The customer can’t connect the dots between how these features can be beneficial to them.
Thus, when you highlight the benefits of your solution directly in response to a customer's needs, you can immediately pique their interest and build interest. For example, instead of saying your SaaS has an autosave feature, begin first by telling prospects how your SaaS provides a peace of mind when their internet connection gets interrupted.
5. Offer Something Small at the Beginning
Consumers are less likely to buy something if they don’t know how it works, like a SaaS service or website applications. Find a way to offer something small to begin the conversation with them, like a free trial or demo. Many people will overcome their apprehension by actually experiencing the benefits of the product or service.
6. Keep Following Up, but Know When to Stop
There’s a long way to go before a prospect can shake your hand and sign the quote. You have to follow-up with your customers. All follow-up actions require gentle perseverance. Turns out, 80% of sales require 5 follow-up calls after the meeting. Many companies failed due to bad follow-up, no follow-up, and giving up. So, maintain your relationship with customers and prospects as a top priority. But of course, once a prospect demands space, know the crucial time to stop engaging for the time being.
The times are tough, but meeting sales goals aren’t exactly impossible when the right methods are practised. By identifying the right prospects, listening to their needs, creating relationships and giving them exactly what they want, you can increase your chances of a sale. You can brave the storm and be prepared to thrive in a difficult economy with knowledge and some expert help.