Recession, economic crisis, financial grid lock, even DE-pression! These are the words we hear virtually everywhere these days.
Its scary. If you’re running or selling for a small business, its likely that the gloom and doom that is being showered on us by our politicians, Wall Street and the media has gotten your customers in a hesitant mood and it may have even infected you personally.
There is a lot of advice available on the web for selling in tough economic times. My advice is to recognize that fear and pessimism are like viruses. You can be infected easy and you can easily pass them on. The good news is that you can choose not to do either!
Just be optimistic and hopeful! No question that this will be contagious to your customers.
Of course, your customers live in their own worlds and they have already been infected by fear elsewhere. If so, the position your company as the safe bet for them. Don’t let their fear of the future cause them to put things on hold or look at other alternatives.
Look closely at your companies terms and conditions and ask yourself what will my customers be afraid of when entering into this relationship.
In B2B sales, customers are most often afraid that things won’t go according to plan and they won’t have sufficient options to adjust as needed. Experience teaches us that things almost never go according to plan. Your solution may not meet all of their expectations and/or other plans the customer has for their business may not materialize and these things may effect their utilization of your company’s solutions.
So, make sure you give them options when unexpected surprises come up.
Its amazing to me how often I learn about competitors that force their customers to sign year long or longer contracts and then force them to pay big bucks to cancel early.
I don’t know about you but, my customers are smart enough to ask about that sort of thing in the beginning. I know for a fact that Salesforce.com and other competitors in the Online CRM and Contact Management space won’t refund any of your money or even help you get your own data out of their systems. What I also know is that customers know that they may need to exit the contract for reasons that have little at all to do with the vendor. If the vendor’s going to “lock them in”, then that can be scary.
So what if you make your company’s edge the fact that you align your interests with your customers? If they’re not happy, your not happy… Isn’t that what a free market is all about?
Your business is surely very different than mine and the options that are important to your customers are probably very different too.
Look at the Ts & Cs that are talked about when your customers are evaluating vendors. Ask some customers which ones they find the most limiting. Now find a way to take those restrictions off your customers. Set them free to get what they want without fear!
You just might find that 2009 turns into the year that your market share grows faster than it ever has!