You know what they say; change is the one thing you can rely on. Your business will go through peaks and lulls, that’s guaranteed. You just need to make sure you get through the challenging times in order to see the best times. Here’s how we think you can do that…
Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
When a situation becomes uncertain, communication is possibly THE most important thing you can do. People will be searching for clarity and the more you can give them, the more they will flock to you as a dependable business partner.
Maintain all your usual touchpoints and add more. You don’t want a single person to feel like you haven’t reached them so cover as many channels as possible; email, social, a notice on your website, a notice in your shop window, maybe even direct mail!
Keep Your Team In The Loop
Letting your customers know what you’re up to is obviously important but don’t neglect communication with your team either. There are so many tools out there to facilitate video conferencing and document sharing. Get the digital infrastructure in place so that your team can keep working while apart.
Plus, try to make sure you are visible where possible. And by visible, we don’t necessarily mean using a video medium for every conversation. We just mean that you need to be seen to be working and contributing something. This helps to prevent any resentment building.
Having a flexible approach to how you conduct your business is really helpful when things get tight. The more options the better so you can meet your customers wherever they are.
Many people are moving to online shopping for the majority of things anyway but this is especially true in times of confusion. Online shopping is more convenient a lot of the time as it makes it much easier to compare what’s out there. It also means that you will always have a channel for taking sales.
Take Advantage of Low Advertising Prices
One thing that can be helpful about prices going down is that marketing prices are going down too. Brand awareness is a very powerful foundation for future campaigns so use this time to get your name out there.
Competition will ease off as some of the lightweight competitors fall out of the game. You can make this an opportunity to pick up their old clients and expand your books. Average order value might go down but if you’ve got the numbers, you can still maintain a healthy income.
Upsell and Cross-Sell Like a Master
If you’ve ever felt awkward about promoting your more expensive items, now is the time to shake that feeling. Every sale matters.
Obviously, some clients just won’t be in a position to spend more and you can use your intuition to gauge that. However, where you can, push clients to upgrade with a special finish or to add another item to their basket. Read our upselling guide for tips on how to frame the sell as something that is in your customer’s best interest.
Keep an Eye on the Competition
Don’t fall out of the loop just because you’re getting too engrossed in your own business. If anything, now is the time to monitor those tabs even more closely. Remember, they are likely to be increasing their communication too.
Look for ideas that you can match but also look for where they are leaving gaps. What aren’t they able to offer that would be really helpful to clients at this time? Are they slower to react to changes? Do they have supply issues? You can be there for where they fail.
Anticipate New Needs from Your Customers
Along the same line, try to keep one step ahead of things if you can. The businesses that survive the tough times are the ones that approach every problem as an opportunity. Things are changing and you need to change with them.
Some changes may only be temporary and so only need temporary measures. Some changes might be more long-lasting though. If the whole market is facing a paradigm shift, what new requirements will your customers have for you?
Position Yourself as the Expert
Your product is just one part of the deal. The way in which you deliver your product is another element and it’s equally important. When everything feels a bit chaotic, you can offer stability and confidence.
Customers will be facing new problems and may be coming to you for the first time. Find out as much as you can about their situation and use your knowledge to guide them towards the best option for them. You’ll earn a lot of respect for helping people with their problems rather than just focussing on the sale at hand.
Learn more about how to sell on value rather than price in our free eBook, What Kind of Print Seller Are You? Learn how to position your customers at the centre of your business plan and maximise sales as a result.