“When an economic downturn or recession hits, there’s a tendency for companies to panic, and to cut back on their sales and marketing. But sales are to a business what gas is to a car: without them, you aren’t going anywhere.”
Sales are vital to the operation of a business, but during tough times there are often cutbacks in these areas. However, companies that focus on improving operational efficiency while also investing in sales and marketing see the most success in a changing market. Not only does this continue to drive revenue, but it also reinforces your company’s name in the community.
Below are 5 steps you can take to recharge your sales and marketing efforts, as discussed in Aspire’s recent webinar, cohosted by Marty Grunder of The Grow Group:
- Calibrate your sales strategy
- Build and strengthen customer relationships
- Train, manage, and motivate your team
- Utilize digital marketing strategies
- Embrace the power of company reputation
1. Calibrate your sales strategy
As a business owner, you have two options related to your sales strategy. You can stick with your current strategy (it may still be working), or you may need to recalibrate your approach. In this instance, focus on what you do best. In a market with many competitors, you need to differentiate yourself by identifying what makes your business unique. Is it your maintenance work, your construction work, or your superior design that set you apart? From there, identify your ideal clients. To find your ideal client, you need to look at three aspects of the relationship: is it enjoyable, is it sustainable, and is it profitable? If you can answer yes to each of those questions and they fit your strategy, you are on a path to success.
If you are looking at your current business mix and you cannot say yes to all the questions above, then maybe it is time to re-evaluate your strategy. When looking at the needs of the market, you may discover there’s a need for more maintenance work—or the opposite, more construction work. As a service business, landscaping is about identifying the needs of consumers.
2. Build and strengthen customer relationships
Now is the time to build relationships with your customers and prospects. While your competition is cutting back on communication, it is your time to step up and act as a trusted advisor. Let clients and prospects know that you have their best interest in mind when discussing their needs. People are more likely to do business with someone they know and trust.
3. Train, manage, and motivate your sales team
When times are tough and deals aren’t closing, it’s common for sales team members to get down on themselves, but it is your job to inspire them. Motivate your team by giving them realistic goals to achieve as well as the tools they need to achieve those goals. DO NOT CUT BACK ON SALESPEOPLE OR TRAINING. Think of this as an investment; your sales team will be the ones to get you through tough times. Work with your team to develop new sales scripts that can help them overcome objections.
During the webinar with Mary Grunder on this topic, he made a great point for all sales team members to remember, “Don’t sell the tree, sell the shade.” It’s key to communicate benefits, not features.
4. Utilize digital marketing strategies
There are many digital marketing channels that you can utilize for your landscaping company. Each one of these tools can be very targeted and cost effective while also helping you reach your ideal client and focus on your specific business mix. Google AdWords and Facebook Ads are two popular forms of digital marketing that can provide quick returns on your investment. For long-term lead generation, utilizing SEO can be very effective as well. In this digital age, a digital marketing strategy is extremely powerful and enables potential clients to find you.
5. Embrace the power of company reputation
In a world where people are constantly communicating with one another, your reputation is very significant. Word of mouth can make the difference between a potential client going with your business or choosing a competitor. Or you may have a very happy client that will refer you to everyone they know.
The same goes for managing your online company reputation. Pay attention to your reviews on websites such as Google. Once again, these reviews can have a major impact on a potential client selecting your company over another. Another nice touch is responding to all reviews, good and bad. Responding to reviews shows that you are actively listening to your clients and addressing their thoughts or concerns.
How to succeed
While it’s very difficult to succeed when people are not buying due to uncertainty, it’s the duty of sales, marketing, and all other areas of the business to build confidence in both existing and potential clients. There are many steps you can begin to work on today to build that confidence. Providing open communication, reminding people that your business is still there, and letting everyone know you care about their needs will leave a strong impression.
Many of these tips came from the cohosted webinar with Marty Grunder, President and CEO of The Grow Group. You can view the recorded webinar below.