Sales Tips For Hard Times

When the going gets tough, the tough work better

Honda auto showroom


When the economy slows down, your business can’t. You have to perform at your peak in order to stay afloat in a tough environment. Here are the top 10 critical items your business needs in order for you to maximize sales in a challenging economy.

1. Prospecting and Follow-up
In bad times, your existing customers will take longer to make a decision. Knowing this, prospecting and following-up with your existing customers are more important than ever.

Building stronger relationships with your existing customers, who already have the confidence to do business with you, will prove more profitable today and in the future.

Here is a real example: If an estimated repurchase cycle is up from 24 to 30 months:
Customers that have bought from you in the past 5 years: 3,307
The average number of months a customer will take to repurchase: 30
This month you have this many customers ready to purchase: 110.23
Staying focused on your existing customers should be a top priority.

2. Forecasting Inventory/Supply
You need to use a measurement tool to make sure you maintain the right amount of inventory/supply at all times. In difficult times, it is even more critical to have the necessary inventory/supply available when a customer arrives, so you don’t lose that valuable sales opportunity to your competition.

3. Increase Your Marketing Effort
The key word here is marketing effort, not expense. Your marketing expense still needs to be based on a realistic sales plan. As discussed in Item 1, good follow-up through phone calls, emails and personal visits directly to your existing customers and potential target markets will create the best results when fewer customers are visiting your dealership.

4. Focus On The Sale
A sales manager can only have one top priority. Here’s how it can be expressed: “If am working with a salesperson or customer, I am doing my job. Every other task I am supposed to do is a second priority.” Make sure you are completely focused on selling during regular business hours. Sure, you have to do other administrative work; do it after hours if necessary.

5. Measuring And Managing Sales Activity
It is now more critical than ever to know how your sales team is performing to generate sales. Understanding closing ratios, presentation percentages, and the speed in which you respond to an Internet lead will help you as a manager create success instead of failure. You can no longer afford to hope that customers will just walk through the door. Focusing on Sales Activity will help you coach and improve results.

Jaime Hernandez
Jaime Hernandez
Jaime “Jim” Hernandez, is president of Strategic Business Communications, Inc. which ranked #4122 in INC magazine’s Fastest Growing Companies in America. He contributes a column about marketing for Latin Business Today. A motivational speaker, marketing consultant and trainer, Jim has worked with more than 30 businesses in the U.S. and abroad. He is a member of the National Advisory Board of MYM, and has been a guest lecturer on sales and marketing at the University of San Diego.

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