More About Slowed Down Economy

With sales slowed at most first firms, we are seeing a delay of projects starts, closing of sales and commitments in general. I feel like I need to continue to find new clients or avenues. Any thoughts? (Bill A, Sales Professional, Buffalo, NY)

A: In any market, your best opportunities come by identifying a prospect's points of pain and bringing expertise to solve them. In a disruptive market like 2009, even clients with solid businesses have different concerns than in normal times. Now the concerns of employees, creditors, suppliers as well as those of management are of concern. Your ability to bring these issues into sharp relief is your ticket to a motivated buyer of your products or services.

Read the concerns of managers in the business press. Their first thoughts turn to managing risk: preserving budget, using credit sparingly, doing more with less, hiring smart, and generally hunkering down. Risk management, however, also means not taking a chance on a sales or management professional who says they can help with those issues. You will need to do more than just promise results; you'll need to work out a clear, highly focused, short time frame approach with tangible results. No more lengthy windup, diagnostic-focused, training-rich, casual-pace engagement plans. For many companies, this is survival so you should treat the scenario accordingly.

Instead of shopping your traditional services or products in search of a need, think about breaking them up into their parts. Each service or product should have a clear line of sight between a specific point of pain, applying your expertise and producing a tangible result and ROI. Propose each part as a standalone service or product, each with specific benefits and show how these results resolve or relieve a specific pain(s).

Happy Easter to you and yours.

George F. Mancuso
George F. Mancuso, CPC