Earlier in my career, I was an on-air contributor to The Bottom Line, a nightly business program on Dallas/Fort Worth’s KRLD — offering “street-smart tips on how to survive and thrive in a changing marketplace.”
In the pre-Internet era, the station published an annual digest of events and information served up Top 10 style. Here is a round-up of my recommendations. Do they stand the test of time?
- Keep your Pipeline Filled . An uncertain economy translates to a protracted sales cycle. Budget priorities can change and decisionmaking can drag. Be sure to have lots of prospects and possibilities in the queue.
- Renew Old Acquaintances. Review your contact database and old customer lists. What are former clients doing now? People do business with those they know and trust. If you had a good relationship before, you can make the sale again.
- Target the New Companies. Many new businesses have been formed over the years — with people you know at the helm and needs that you can serve.
- Protect Your Turf . Be sure your existing customers are happy. Ward off competitive intruders. Build yourself in – up and down the ranks of management. Not just with your day-to-day client contact.
- Look for Cross-Selling Opportunities. Scope different operating units and pitch new product offerings. Track past client contacts who might have new areas of responsibility.
- Find the Silver Lining. Austerity can bring opportunity. Personnel shifts and cutbacks in companies are commonplace today, but the work still gets done – and it’s often assigned to outside vendors.
- Capitalize on Your Special Niche. Sell deeper into that market – especially if you excel and dominate and especially if there are few competitors. Leverage what you’ve already done – perhaps in new vertical markets
- Consider Joint Ventures. Take a new approach to pitch particular pieces of business. Cut your risks, increase your hits, add expertise and new team members — without adding overhead.
- Start Networking. Find the organizations where your customers are – and your competitors aren’t. Become an active member or committee leader. Consider “pro bono” projects that will help the group – and put the spotlight on you.
- Showcase Your Expertise. Find new ways to get in front of your prospects when they are most “influenceable” and when you’re not in a direct selling situation. Get on the speakers circuit, where you can deliver your information from a platform of authority. Write guest columns in key publications.
In today’s world, we would also add Web 2.0 — blogging and social media to the mix!
August 30, 2009