While some businesses will struggle to survive in a sluggish economy, many will do better than ever -- primarily because they have mastered proven, but seldom-used slowdown strategies.
So says Jerry Buchs, author of the recently published report, "Strategies for an Economic Slowdown: 16 Proven Ways to Sell More of Your Products and Services While the Experts Decide If We're in a Recession!"
"While a downturn may not last long, many businesses need to develop strategies that help them retain their current customers and keep them buying," says Buchs, an Ohio-based consultant who specializes in public relations and marketing strategies for businesses. "They also need to master marketing techniques that will win them new customers to replace any business they may lose during a slowdown."
Among the recession-proof business strategies Buchs outlines in his new report:
Commit to marketing consistently and aggressively all the time -- not just when you need the business. Planning an ongoing marketing campaign ensures a steady stream of new business leads. Marketing done today -- and every day -- begins a selling cycle that will result in new business when you need it six months down the road.
Give your existing customers superior service. In a slow economy, businesses should do everything they can to hold on to their existing customers or clients -- the bread and butter of their business.
"The best way to hold on to your customers is to please them," says Buchs, "and the best way to please them is through better customer service. Now is an ideal time to go the extra mile with extra service or courtesy. It can mean the difference between dazzling the customer vs. merely satisfying them."
Add value to your existing products or services. While prospects may seem reluctant to spend money in a soft economy, their real concern, says Buchs, is making sure they get the best value for their dollar. Keep existing customers and land new business by offering more value than the competition.
For instance, any business selling a commodity item could add value by offering faster delivery than the competition. Or a larger selection. Or more colors. Or easier payment terms. Or a better guarantee.
Motivate inactive customers. Contact past customers -- people you served at one time but who are not actively buying now -- to remind them of your existence. A properly scripted telephone call to past buyers should generate approximately one order for every 10 calls.
Motivate old leads. Most businesses give up on sales leads too early. Many of those dropped leads can be turned into profitable business with just a little extra sales effort, Buchs says. Repeated follow-up with better offers should convert 10 percent of prospects into buyers.
Repackage your products or services to accommodate smaller customers on reduced budgets. Businesses that sell products can offer compact models, economy sizes, no-frills versions, easy payment plans, extended credit, special discounts, incentives and smaller minimum orders to appeal to prospects with reduced spending power. Service providers can be more flexible by selling their services and time in smaller, less-costly increments.
Supplement your normal work. Fill gaps in your schedule with other types of related work. For example, a carpenter who normally handles large, lucrative home-remodeling jobs can take on lots of smaller jobs and handyman work to keep the money coming in if his home renovation work falls off.
Stay positive. The most important thing about a slow period is not to get depressed by it. If you are down, prospects can sense your desperation and fear, and it has a negative effect on your dealings with them. How to reach: Jerry Buchs, firstname.lastname@example.org or (440) 985-2813