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When the Going Gets Tough

William Offen

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Talking to a prospective client recently I was amazed at the affect that the so called ‘credit crunch’ has had on this previously bubbly and positive personality.

This is a partner in a company that had been positive and growth motivated, recently embarking on an expansion program that was producing real growth as indicated in this extract from our conversation: “although we haven't seen any evidence yet, in fact business is on the up, we feel that there is probably going to be a downturn soon and so we are going to consolidate and see what happens", (double talk for playing safe and contracting the business).

When pressed further on why they felt this, it was all down to outside influences such as the media and news channels and talking to ‘friends’ and colleagues

So here is a business that was on plan, doing well and with no actual evidence of problems that is now changing those plans simply because of the worry that things may take a turn for the worse. They will undoubtedly suffer as a consequence, losing ground they had fought really hard to gain over the previous couple of years - and all because they had allowed themselves to be damaged by outside influences.

In my opinion, it's this kind of action that creates opportunity for their competitors - only the strong companies become stronger in times of challenge.

Success visits those that keep their head when all about them are losing theirs

If your competitors are worrying that “things are going to get tough" they will probably ‘consolidate’ in their droves. ‘Consolidate’ means reduced marketing and sales activity - accepting excuses from clients when they decline to buy, seeing a slow down in sales as a sign of the times instead of looking inward for improvements and generally expecting the worst - and we know what happens when we expect the worst!

On the other hand, if you do precisely the opposite and increase your activity, stay positive that business and orders are still there, look to give your clients more reasons to buy, its your company that will get the orders, your company that will fill the void left by the others and your company that will come out of any challenging times all the stronger in a reduced competitor market.

Here are a few pointers:

1. Use the Lord Nelson approach - put your telescope to your blind eye.

2. Don't agree with anyone who says that times are tough - in fact argue the opposite.

3. Know that your competitors will give you opportunity to grow because they will contract.

4. Know that you have a choice between contracting and growing.

5. Let others do the moaning.

6. Prepare to take full advantage of market conditions, make sure your business is the most dynamic and the sharpest its ever been, your staff the most highly trained to be at the top of their game and the most positive they have ever been - and prepare them to ‘repel and reject’ bad information.

7. Decide that when our so called leaders have finally sorted themselves out and the graph goes back up, that your business will be one of those that have continued to grow, prosper and flourish.

8. Put your prices up.

Remember, it's our choice, we may need to work a bit harder, but the opportunities are there for the taking.

William Offen CInstSMM, IDM.

Managing Director of Sales Dynamics Ltd & creator of Communicate4™


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