Revenue Growth in a Bear Market:
What does it take to survive, and even prosper, in a bear market? There are lessons to be learned from those who were successful in 2001 and the Great Recession of 2008. During that time, I observed many strategies that worked and plenty that didn’t. Bottom line? Think less about the circumstances and more about how you’ll respond. Below are three critical strategies to align your sales organization with your company growth objectives:
- Relationships before revenue. Now is the time to over invest in creating valuable experiences for your current customers, but don’t stop there. Think about past clients and those who you want to work with in the future. Invest in those relationships by providing insight, expertise, and value today – regardless of the real time financial return. All recessions end. Relationships cultivated today will translate to big wins for the future health of your company.
- Value to Cost Ratio. Does the value you provide exceed the cost of doing business with you? Are you capitalizing on opportunities to surprise and delight when times are dark and scary? Not only should you provide as much value as possible to current customers, you should also use this time to invest some energy in those back-burner ideas that, with a little TLC, could really take off. What can you do to come out of this time of uncertainty stronger than before?
- Improve skills. It’s not just professional sports teams and Olympic athletes that are sidelined – in a bear market many businesses have fewer opportunities for sales. The silver lining is the additional time to improve the fundamental skills of your team. Consider this the ‘off-season’ and take time to provide intentional coaching for your team. Nothing has a greater impact on performance than coaching, and most professionals indicate they get little coaching or real development from their managers. In the hustle of a bustling sales climate, coaching can get pushed down the to-do list. Here is your chance to come out of the tunnel with a stronger team than ever.
Productivity: How to Minimize Miscommunication in a Virtual World
Misunderstandings are common in the best of times. Add stress, chaos, virtual meetings, misunderstandings multiply, sometimes exponentially. As lucky as we are to have video conference technology (at least we have a fighting chance of understanding body language), there are still nuances and nonverbal cues getting lost. With technology issues and the presence of dogs and children, we add ample opportunity for distraction and in turn, miscommunication.
Do your part to prevent misunderstandings, which often start small but can create outsized challenges with these tactics:
- Say it in a sentence. Or two. The power of succinct language cannot be overstated. It’s easy to get lost in deep explanations and detail during business conversations. Chances are high that someone’s attention may wander to the chat box, the cell phone, or the screaming two-year old. Sum it up. Make your points unequivocally clear and concise.
- Ask clarifying questions. Make sure you genuinely understand what others are saying. People talk past one another all the time (let’s face it, most people are not good at point #1), and we often let it go, knowing we will have a chance to circle back later. When someone shares a thought or idea, clarify and confirm your understanding by asking a question or repeat what you heard “what I heard you say was…”
- Confirm understanding or acceptance. After you’ve shared information, check in with the listener. Ask questions such as, “did I explain that clearly enough?” or “what do you think of the option I suggested?” Invite their perspective to ensure they walk away with the message you intended. If their response indicates otherwise, you’ll be glad you confirmed.
Inspiring Loyalty with Levity
One of my favorite restaurants here in Tampa is Forbici Modern Italian. Along with carry out orders, they are handing out rolls of toilet paper. Branded no less!
The ability to find some lightness — while doing something for customers that demonstrates you are going the extra mile is powerful. What can you do creatively during this time for your customers?
The Forever Transaction: How to Build a Subscription Model So Compelling, Your Customers Will Never Want to Leave
Written by my colleague and friend Robbie Kellman Baxter, The Forever Transaction is one of the best books I’ve read on thoughtfully creating recurring revenue streams. I’ve worked with Robbie for years and she’s the expert on the subscription model business! This book takes a practical look at how organizations can launch, scale and lead subscription-based businesses. Robbie interviewed industry leaders and spent years researching in order to write this book, and she gets into the nitty gritty of what works. The book covers everything you need to build durable, long-term relationships with every customer, and leverage them for ultimate business success―today, tomorrow, and forever.
Question to Consider:
As our routines shift and we spend more time at home it is easy to be sedentary. How are you taking care of you mind and body? It is important to engage and prioritize staying active regardless of the activity. This will not only help clear your mind, be more creative, but may even help you sleep. Whether it is taking a walk, doing an at home workout or even playing a game with your kids. Don’t forget to prioritize yourself!