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Q: I'm seeing a slump in my company's sales. How can I give them a boost?
A: Every company, at one point or another, experiences a sales slump. But the sooner you take action, the easier it will be to increase revenue. Here are four steps to follow to get out of a sales slump.
1. Call on satisfied customers. These are the people you know best; presumably, they're the ones with whom you have the best relationships. Are there additional ways to satisfy their needs, or do they have new needs you can meet? Ask how their business is doing. Is there a way you can help them serve their existing customers or find potential new ones? Once you learn about their problems and challenges, you can come back to them with fresh solutions.
2. Analyze your existing accounts. Different accounts have different sales cycles. Sales may take a week, a month or two years. Sometimes, you get so caught up in landing the big one that you forget about the smaller accounts with shorter sales cycles that can bring money in now. In business, you have to look ahead and think long term. But you also have to take care of day-to-day responsibilities. It's important to keep those factors balanced; don't get so focused on one that you lose sight of the other.
3. Stay on top of business and world news. Always keep in mind how current events might affect your customers. Look for sources that will give you new ideas on how to fine-tune your activities and target your customers more efficiently. Read materials that will help you speak to your customers in their business language. Learn more about how other people grew their businesses. There's always a lot to learn from the successes-and failures-of others.
4. Don't waste time. Be selective about your customers. Don't keep doing business with someone just to keep them in your client base. Some customers are simply not worth the trouble for the amount of business they give you. If an opportunity doesn't meet your expectations, move on.
The best way to pull out of a slump is to keep moving forward. Remember: See the people, sell the people, serve the people. Don't let a temporary slump turn into a slippery slope.