From the editors
• Don’t participate in the rumor mill; wait for
the facts to emerge. Talk about what is, not what
• Don’t participate in the grumbling. Just get
to work and sell something.
• Make a projected cash flow. Cut now so you
don’t run out of money in the near future.
• Sell more. No company ever cut its way to success. Cutting is fine, but you have to sell to have cash.
• Guard your customers. Your competition is
gunning for them.
• Serve your customers better than ever. Earn
their loyalty with value.
• Help your customers with their issues. Their
situation is what’s causing your falling sales numbers.
• Give something of value to your customers.
They will thank you and respect you.
• Select your top customers and invest in
them. They will thank you and reward you with
For years I have defined change as opportunity.
That definition is still accurate. This is not a time to
“get over it.” This is a time to get on with it and take
advantage of it.
• It’s not a corporate thing. It’s a personal thing.
• It’s not the new-new thing. It’s the reality thing.
• It’s not their thing. It’s your thing.
• It’s raining lemons. Set up a lemonade stand.
Refine your sales strategy
Regardless of the state of your industry, the state
of your market and even the state of your sales, as a
salesperson it’s best to look at the big picture. When
you see the big picture, you can craft more when the
marketplace says less.
Before you try to make another sale, before
you call on the next customer, I want you to look
at the real world so you can come up with real
ideas and real answers.
Let me be more specific. Before you visit any
customers, you have to know what the total situation
You have to make
a choice: Panic or
prepare. My strategy
is a little slower,
but a lot surer.
is in order to understand them, relate to them, help
them, serve them and sell them. In these times, “sell
them” may be last on the list.
Let me define “total situation.” You have to
define the customer’s situation, the market situation
and your company’s situation with its customers.
What you are defining here is what exists now:
the present situation. And by the way, once you have
defined a situation, you will gain clarity of the situation and clarity of mind. Writing the situation
down will clarify the situation for you. It will also
serve as a springboard for the actions you must take
for your customers in these times, so you can win in
these times—and all times.
You have to make a choice: Panic or prepare. My
strategy is a little slower, but a lot surer.
After you have written down the entire situation, now you begin looking for opportunities.
What are the opportunities for the customer, for
your company and for you? Is there an opportunity
for you to capture a greater percentage of the customer’s business? Is there an opportunity for customers to make more sales so they can pay their
invoices in a more timely manner? Is there a market
opportunity that customers are missing because
they are more focused on their woes and their competition, rather than their strengths?
Once you’ve identified all the opportunities—
whatever they are—and you’re clear about the situation, then, and only then, can you begin to write
down what you intend to do—your objectives.
Your objective may be as simple as getting customers to pay their outstanding balances in a more
timely manner. Your objective may be to double
your business with a customer. Your objective
might be to help your customers through troubled
times. Your objective may be to broaden your relationship with customers so they will refer you to
other customers. Your objective might be to make a
sale right now.
Whatever the objectives are, they must be clearly
stated and defined in writing. And please do not
confuse objectives with goals. Write down what you
intend to do to help the customer, do more business
with the customer, gain more referrals from the customer and make the relationship with the customer
a financially rewarding one.
Once you clarify the situation, identify opportunities and write down your objectives, make certain they are congruent with your intentions. When
the market is volatile or uncertain, having all facts
defined will help you think more clearly, act more
directly and be more successful.
Now, I’m going to challenge you on a mastery
point. Once you have this game plan written
down—situation, opportunities, objectives and
intentions—I challenge you to share these thoughts
with your customers so that they can become aware
of how serious, how professional and how certain
you are about growing the relationship, helping
them and building your business.
Doing this will not only give your customers
peace of mind; you’ll also give yourself peace of
Your list of ideas and answers will not only set
you apart from your competitors, who at this
moment are merely trying to sell and collect, but it
will also build your relationship in more difficult
times, so that when times become better (and they
always do), you will have earned the business and
the loyalty you deserve. C
Jeffrey Gitomer is the author of The Sales Bible and
Jeffrey Gitomer’s Little Red Book of Selling.
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