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Top Ten Secrets For Selling In An Industry Slump

All industries have slumps. Tough times call for tough methods and strategies. Cold-calling is a head-on, direct approach to generating sales. As a means of making sales or getting appointments, it's always effective, in fair times or foul. You can do it! Here are ten of my secrets:

  1. RECOGNIZE THAT COLD CALLING RULES! When your old contacts vanish, cold calling will pull you through the rough times. Since most people fear cold calling, you will be ahead of the game. Make lots of prospecting calls, and then make more. If you don't make the calls, the competition will. Your prospects may be spending less, but they are still doing business!

  2. DEFEAT THE COMPETITION. Competitive businesses need an edge, and right now the edge goes to the businesses prepared to do what they don't like in order to get what they wouldn't otherwise get. Right now, cold calling can make the ultimate difference for firms really struggling, particularly if their competitors are unwilling to compete.

  3. USE A COMPETITIVE STRATEGY. Understand what the competition will do to win and how you will overcome it with a better plan. Beat the competition and win the prospect.

  4. IT'S ALL ABOUT THE NUMBERS. Make lots of phone calls and then make more. The more calls you make, the better your chance for success. When you think you can't make another call, do it anyway. Remember the old adage, "If you throw enough spaghetti against the wall, something is bound to stick." Even novices can succeed if they make enough calls.

  5. MAKE JUST ONE CALL. If you are reluctant to make calls, give yourself a simple goal. It's easier to commit to one call only. Don't worry about succeeding, just do it! Make the first call, and then try for the second one and so on. Recently, a friend whined that he was having a hard time building his business. When I suggested that he make just one call; not every hour or every day; but to merely start with one call a week, he was surprised at this meager goal, and asked, "What good will only one call do?" I asked how many calls he made last week, and he replied, "None." So, the light went on and he agreed that one is better than none. The next week he said that he was pleasantly surprised at the effect the single call had on him, especially since it was successful. The following week he made two. The third week he called to say he had three new clients.

  6. ASK FOR A RECOMMENDATION TO ANOTHER DIVISION. A referral is powerful! Call each existing client, and ask for a referral to another department that she thinks might be able to use your services. What could be better than a recommendation from a business associate in her own company? Your clients may not be sitting around thinking about how to build your business; however, they usually have no problem referring you on to an associate, especially if she is happy with your service.

  7. TRANSFER YOUR SUCCESS FROM ONE COMPANY TO ANOTHER. If you've completed a successful program with BMW, that's your sales tool when calling on Saab. They'll value your industry experience. A referral from one client to another is beyond powerful. Again, your clients are not sitting at their desks thinking about whom to refer you to. But, they are usually more than happy to do it when asked. Ideally, you may want to ask if they'd call ahead to say that you would be calling.

  8. USE YOUR CREATIVITY & PASSION. This is the time to use all the creativity and passion you've got. Take the extra step; tenacity is appreciated by your prospects as long as you don't hit them over the head with a hard sell approach. I have actually been thanked by prospects that say, "Thanks for following up." Or, "Your enthusiasm is appreciated."

  9. BELIEVE IN YOUR YOURSELF, PRODUCT/SERVICE. If you don't, neither will your prospects. When you reveal your passion, you should sound convincing and enthusiastic, and that you have your prospects' well being in mind.

  10. MAKE THE BUSINESS COME TO YOU. Publish a newsletter monthly or quarterly. It will rank you as an expert, impressing your clients. Publishing valuable information earns you a good reputation and keeps you in front of your prospect.