Yes, thank heavens for this economic crisis! You heard me right. I am actually grateful for how it has impacted me. As it turns out, this horrible recession has revealed to me just how deep a sales rut I have allowed myself to fall into. A rut! I am not in any rut! Although that sounds good, and the actual possibility of becoming engulfed in a sales rut is virtually impossible, the rut is, in essence, a reality. The good news is... I have discovered it sooner rather than later. How's that for recognizing the silver lining hidden behind the ominous gray clouds!
Despite my planned intentions, my ardent selling efforts to the contrary and some recent sales successes, I unknowingly have arrived at a place that can only hinder my sales progress if left unattended. My previously industry-diverse customer base has proven grossly insufficient at generating enough sales opportunities to thrive upon in this economy. At least I previously thought my selling base was diverse enough.
In reality, my customer base is now revealed to be horribly top-heavy with regard to the automotive industry. Recently, I have been working with numerous Tier 1, 2 and 3 suppliers to the major car companies, many of which provide goods and services to each other. Right now, many are idled, some are closed and some are operating at significantly reduced capacity. Not very good news. Although my selling diversity extends to the food processing industry, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, plastics, power generation, bio-tech and others, those various industries combined make up a mere 45% of my base. That market positioning carves a deep rut in the current economic road. Yes, it is now time to expand my comfort zone once again and further diversify.
How does one accomplish this? What action steps are necessary?
1. Take inventory of my customers. What shape are they in?
2. Where is most of my income currently derived?
3. As is, what are the prospects of both sustaining current sales levels and experiencing sales growth?
4. Define my short and long term sales and profit expectations.
5. What industries are thriving? What do I have to offer these industries?
6. Focus on "Green," cost-savings and error-proofing manufacturing strategies.
7. Assess my goods and services offering? Which are most unique and most profitable?
8. Prioritize my offerings by value, uniqueness and profitability.
9. Match these key, profitable goods and services with select targeted customers.
10. Design a sales plan for penetrating these accounts.
11. Filter my action strategy by "Green-ness," cost-savings potential and error-proofing customer operations.
12. Take immediate action.
These action steps are actually an ongoing process and must be revisited at least monthly.
Some people may just complain. Some will blame the economy for their woes. Others may accept their situation and frantically await better days. Some will continue with their current strategy and hope for different results. Still others will hope that things will simply get better soon. The fact is, your attitude and actions will determine your stress level and economic gains or losses in this currently turbulent business climate. Do you think this 12 step agenda might help? If not, what is your action plan?