Slumps require new creative strategies

Slumps cause procrastination and excessive worry.

Slumps can’t always be avoided.

Even the best businesses have occasional slumps. However, you are usually able to minimise the impact by introducing better and more appropriate strategies and insuring against possible disasters. When bad days turn into bad weeks, bad months and bad years.

Your struggle will intensify. Real problems need to be addressed urgently with new strategies. Worrying is unproductive and won’t fix anything and be sure the more prominent businesses are not going away, Sales slumps often cause people to cancel critical insurance policies to cut expenses.

The best advice I can give is to avoid a slump in the first place, by spending more time planning and budgeting. You can often overcome a recession faster than you think. You will need an action plan, a positive attitude and the positive drive to become action-orientated.

Take action required to get out of your slumps as soon as possible. Weathering a prolonged downturn is tough and can quickly lead to disaster and strained relationships. The following tips may be only a refresher of what you already know, or they may be of help. Regardless, these ideas work, and if you’re heading towards a slump, you need to get started now.

During slumps try something new.

Stop, look around and explore new, strategies and methods.  You may uncover a better, more successful way to deal with slumps, leading you to better results and increased capacity. If you are struggling, engage a facilitator or coach to help you. The truth is you’ll always achieve the same outcome if you’re still doing the same things. 

Be sure to apply some rigorous prioritisation activities with the most significant impact being on cash flow and profit. It might be worth investigating the power of entrepreneurial skills in your business,

Sales slumps cause the most significant problems.

Have you ever experienced the dreaded downward sales curve or slump in your sales? If you have, you’ve probably a clear recollection of the unnerving feeling you experienced. The atmosphere can be overwhelming and send even the most seasoned business people into panic mode. As the adrenaline starts to pump, you realise you have to scramble to meet the sales objectives.

Go after the low hanging fruit.

Your first and most effective method are to make a list of qualified prospects ready to buy in the short-term. It isn’t the time to go for long-term sales. Set your sights on those prospects who can generate real deals for you now and work with them sooner, rather than later. Don’t fall into the trap of being mesmerised by big numbers, or ‘big deals’ get real and take the low hanging fruit one piece at a time. Little fish are sweet.

Have your salesperson walk you through each deal to ensure they have a realistic chance of closing in the time frame you need. Mine your sales ledger for leads and old customers who can respond quickly to increase momentum. 

Quick sales can fix most problems in a business. Don’t dig a deeper hole by heavy discounting and doing silly deals; this will only impact the market negatively down the track. Motivating and rewarding your team can be your best bet.

Analyse your sales effort.

For you to recover from sales slumps and avoid them in the future, you need to aim your sales effort and adopt some new practices. Don’t get caught up in analysis paralysis, until you have overcome the current slumps.

  • Profile existing customers to understand what the right customer is.
  • Keep your marketing database clean, if it’s not, clean it up now.

Take a small part of your daily time to be in front of a customer. To be genuinely useful in overcoming the slumps, you must organise your sales effort at the expense of other things that can wait. Begin your selling effort today and immediately increase the time spent with customers and good prospects; it may take less time than you thought.

Maybe you are spending too much time wishing and hoping for sales instead of creating them. You and your team may be procrastinating due to the pressures the slump is causing. Your objective is to avoid spending your limited time on management and administration and focus everyone’s efforts on making sales.

Revisit your sales and marketing strategies.

Effective marketing strategies are crucial to avoiding and overcoming sales slumps. Merely understanding your market is not enough; you need to build on your business and marketing plans to turn prospects into profits. A good sales strategy will help you identify and take advantage of the best opportunities.

  • Plan and support your sales effort. Clarify your sales objectives, so there are no misunderstandings.
  • Upgrading your website and social media could be the best place to start.
  • Decide how to reach target customers.
  • Allocate account management responsibilities.
  • Ensure you that you are reliable, practically useful and helpful to both old and new customers.
  • Have a clearly defined fulfilment process.
  • Monitor and improve the effectiveness of your strategies and actions.

Minimise the slump by honing your skills.

Slumps should inspire your desire to hone your skills as some missing skills may have caused the slowdowns. Once you pull yourself out of the current downturn, you’ll never want to go back. Start by reading books, articles, newsletters and websites. Also, attend seminars and webinars or engage an advisor with practical experience in handling business slumps.

Slumps cause excessive worry

Slumps lead to excessive worry, procrastination and inaction putting you on a downward spiral.

Whatever your choice, do something to acquire new knowledge. Explore new techniques, pick up innovative tips and uncover fresh ways to market your products and services. You can become stale so depending on your old methods in this rapidly changing world is not sufficient. Watching a manager using ancient techniques is like watching a cat playing with a mouse.

Too many choices often make decisions more difficult. You need to become well versed in the proven methods of overcoming slumps before choosing the best strategy.  Only then can you professionally generate the right activities to meet your budgets and pull you out of the slump.

Stop the blame game.

Slumps a caused by many factors (economic, relationships, product problems, unforeseen competition and so on)  and some downturns will be beyond your control. It’s natural to start looking for answers as to why you’re experiencing a business slump. However, this isn’t the time to start blaming others or yourself. It doesn’t matter who or what is to blame; this is a time for action. When the going gets tough, the tough get going.

Your time and energy are best focused on developing strategies and actions to improve your current situation immediately. There will always be excuses for non-performance; find the ways to overcome any issues that you face.

The motivation and support of your team is a critical factor in achieving results and overcoming slumps. It is wise to negotiate clear responsibilities and commitments with individuals in the organisation.

Have your slumps critiqued?

When you’re in a slump, you need an honest evaluation of your abilities and capacities from someone who is objective and has the experience. Do not rely on your own understanding. Pick their brain for ways to improve your skills and ability. Don’t ask your mate in the same sort of business, or worse still someone in the same slump. Mates can support you, but many are unlikely to have the answers you want and need. Find someone your people will respect to evaluate their performance.

During slumps, there are also positives that your customers look to:

  • Put their business into a safe pair of hands.
  • Get the right value for their hard-earned money.
  • Deal with people they like.
  • The convenience of doing business.
  • Help in supporting local businesses.

Quotable quotes.

“My motto was always to keep swinging. Whether I was in a slump or feeling bad or having trouble off the field, the only thing to do was keep swinging”. Hank Aaron

“Keep on keeping on, but do it differently. If you want to be ‘walked on’, keep laying down”. Peter Sergeant

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