Many businesses suffered when the economy took a turn for the worse from 2007 to 2009. The national housing bubble burst and resulted in a global financial crisis. Many people lost their jobs and their homes, and many businesses had to close.
It was especially detrimental to start-ups. Imagine trying to get your business off the ground when no one could even afford to walk in your store.
Despite the millions of stimulus checks that were distributed, many companies, large and small, had to shut their doors.
It’s scary to think about, but that’s always a possibility when you open your own business; you have to be prepared for such an eventuality. As much as you want to stay positive and always hope for the best for your new business, you also have to be smart and know what to do when sales are slow.
How to increase sales during slow times
Despite the condition of the economy, you have to know what it takes to keep your business running and show your customers how relentless your company can be during hard times. This will create a hopeful perception on behalf of consumers and a steady following.
A company with good leadership that knows how to direct its sales team through slow times will always come out on top. They key is strategizing and always being one step ahead. While being overly optimistic is never a bad thing, anticipating hard times helps you be more cognizant of what’s happening. Paying attention to the market’s behavior will enable you to see stagnation coming before it hits.
Devise a strategy for what the sales team should do during these slowdowns and drive your team toward a specific goal. Create scenarios for where the company should be in various stages of a recession. Make a crisis budget that creates a cushion for when sales are stagnant that will help ensure inventory is still regulated and employees still get paid.
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Two ways to keep your company afloat when sales are slow:
1. Assess who is buying and who isn’t. It’s important to know what your clients and customers are doing and how the slowdown is impacting them. What are their buying patterns? Are they buying only what’s necessary or still making impulse purchases? [A sales pipeline tool like Keap](https://keap.com/features/sales-pipeline) can help you understand these patterns. With this data, it's now the time to show empathy and figure out what problems you can solve for your customers. Everyone is in the same boat during a slow economy, so engaging your customers on a personal level and demonstrating you’re actually putting them ahead of your profits will ensure longevity and repeat business, even when times are tough.
2. Focus on potential clients. This is your chance to make the perfect first impression. Because your company had the foresight to anticipate a slowdown, you’re prepared to provide what other companies can’t. Just being in a good financial state during a crisis is a lead generation all on its own. Act like a consultant and be patient, as customers might not have the budget to spend right now. This is your chance to assure them you’ll still be around when they’re ready, building a foundation for future business.
Coming out ahead
Cream rises to the top. The successful companies will be the last ones standing when the economy starts to turn around, leaving all of the weakened businesses behind. A successful company bands together during crisis under great leadership.
Strong leaders know how to guide their teams with a pragmatic approach to sales, problem solving, and generating leads in an economic downturn.
Once you accept the market for what it is and what it’s doing, devise a plan to counteract how slow sales will affect the business. This won’t be easy, it may take many hours to compensate for what the company will lose just to break even. But perseverance is an indication of a robust, intelligent, efficient company that can still remain standing on the other side of a recession.
Check out Keap's Lifecycle Marketing Assessment to determine where your business stands among the industry's top performers.