Posted by Rakesh Sharma on March 12th, 2020

We have seen the collapse of the automobile sector and rising number of non-performing assets (NPAs) of various banks. Non-banking organizations are also going through tough times. Declining and shrinking consumer demand have impacted the economy badly across.

This has led to countless instances of job losses from giant automobile manufacturers to small biscuit makers across the country. Job losses are common across the various business in small and big businesses in India. There are organizations that hire some of the best business coach in India but still do not get desirable solutions to combat the problem.

In my career as a Sales and Business coach, I meet lots of Indian SMEs (Small and Medium Businesses) engaged in export business and found that they are facing a hit because their sales are shrinking in the overseas markets.

SIDBI report has found out that manufacturing sector sentiment was impacted by consumption slowdown stemming from factors such as higher ownership costs in the auto sector and slowdown in domestic tendering, especially in the capital goods segment.

In India it has led to   

  • Rising unemployment
  • Sharp fall in business confidence & profits.
  • Orders are put on Hold
  • Delayed payment from big businesses
  • Falling demand for imports
  • Increased government borrowing

But the question is, what can be done in such a scenario. Are there some controllable factors? Yes, something is possible and certain steps can be taken. Specially the small business can take certain steps to over come the impact of economic Downturn in our country. I have suggested the following ways to my clients and they have got good results by implementing the same. Many of them have been able to continue to grow and so many of them have been able to control the impact of the downturn and arrested the sliding of their business southwards. These steps are simple and highly impactful for small and medium Enterprises.

  1. Strengthen your relationship with Current Customers:

Did you realize that your existing customers are always your best friends and your best advocates? Create a comprehensive list of existing customers. Analyze their buying pattern and trends and start meeting them more often. The existing customers are more likely to rely on you and you can get the best out of them without incurring the costs of finding a new customer.

The small businesses must do a proper data analysis and must ensure to get in touch with existing customers. I have seen that many old customers are not even contacted and in the meantime they have moved to competition. Now salespeople find it difficult to contact them. But you can always reopen the dialogue by writing a simple small mail to them. The old relationship can be revived easily. Therefore, don’t neglect your best customers, the old customers and existing customers.

You can use some methods of being in touch with your customers. You can have periodic face-to-face meetings or lunches with your good customers. Supporting them with complementary services is always a good idea. Understand their biggest business challenges and look for ways you can help. You need to ignore the immediate business benefit from such interactions. 

  1. Strengthen your Sales Process and scale up your sales activity:

During recession every one starts talking negative and discusses how getting new business is difficult. These negative talks lead to low expectancy at the level of salespeople, as a result of which sales activity and follow up go down. This results in poor sales results. We recommend that you do just the opposite. Increase your sales activity and start following up more rigorously.

You sales process is lifeblood of your business! How much is your market share? It is very small. So, if you increase your sales activity you will be easily able to minimize the impact of recession. Increase prospecting aggressively. Also increase the follow up very systematically. Start managing your sales funnel in a better manner. Everyone within the organization needs to be trained and coached to understand the company’s strategy and proactively promote the business at every opportunity. When hiring, look for people with not only the right qualifications but also the right attitude.

Set your monthly targets. Do notfocus on sales targets beyond 30 days.Assign specific sales targets to each member of the team. Monitor the sales activity of your team members very closely. You should break down how many sales you need to close each month to meet your revenue goals.  Sales happen in the field. Determine how many meetings, calls, emails you need to send to generate your target sales.  You must keep the sales process going-on in your business. You should fix up some dedicated time for sales for yourself per day to keep the tempo high.

During recession period lot of good people lose jobs. They are available in market for hiring. You could pick up many quality salespeople during these days whom you cannot otherwise afford. Some salespeople can also be available only for commission. But you need to monitor them very closely.

Identifying your target market is also very important. During the period of recession your own time is very precious, and you cannot afford to lose your sales efforts on wrong prospects. Therefore, identifying the right customers and chasing for their business is the key to success in tough times.

  1. Develop and Implement Strategies to Win the Competition's Customers

This is something you always wanted to do. You always envied your competition. How can you forget when couple of days back you lost a big order to your competition? Every business owner is on lookout for new customers during the tough times. Targeting the competition’s customers shall be part of the strategy of each organization. You need to continue to  expand your customer/client base by getting the competitor’s customers.

How can you get the competition’s customers? Focus on referrals can be a good way of getting into competition’s market share. Identify the gap at the marketplace and offer the same. This could lead to getting customers from your competition. Constantly keep working on your brand building. Ensure good follow up with your competition’s customers. Marketing efforts must be focused on communicating your value and USP to potential customers of your competitor.

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Rakesh Sharma

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Rakesh Sharma
Joined: February 11th, 2020
Articles Posted: 6

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