Next year might be the year. If it is, will it be yours?
At this moment it appears as though the economy is gaining a little momentum. The automobile industry is in slight rebound, interest rates are so low that homebuyers might actually top refinancers and corporate America is finally letting up a little on their purse strings.
Beware: Banks are still reluctant to lend to people, the stock market is still up and down and world uncertainty has become more uncertain.
Within the framework of this opportunity, there’s one thing you cannot do: wait.
The days of waiting to see what will happen, waiting to see when things will return to “normal” and waiting for a sure sign of recovery are over. You cannot afford to wait any longer. You cannot afford to get by until the economy is once again safe.
The definition of “safe” has pretty much been eradicated from the dictionary, unless someone is safe sliding into second — and even then instant replay may prove them wrong.
Below is a list of actions for you to take right now. Not after the holidays. Not after the new year. Right now.
1. Train everyone in your company on positive attitude. This is not a promotional plug for “YES! Attitude” book. Rather, it’s an undeniable fact of business that attitude is the biggest success driver, both internally and externally.
Reality: If sales pick up and customers begin to call and your internal service isn’t the best on the planet, you will lose. And, worse, you’ll blame it on the economy.
2. Visit your top 10 customers. Talk to them about their situation. Talk to them about what they plan to do next year. Make an informal partnership offering. Make part of your relationship their success. And make a commitment of both time and people to help make their success your reality.
Idea: Bring your Flip video camera and capture the story of your relationship, the motive of why they buy from you and some form of testimonial or endorsement that you might be able to use both online and in a sales presentation.
3. Huddle internally with your key people, especially your key financial people. Make sure you’re safe going into next year and budget whatever you can to promote yourself. Invest in the Internet, invest in service training, invest in social media and invest in your salespeople. Now is the time to put your business money where your business mouth is. Waiting will give your competition an extreme competitive advantage.
4. Get your salespeople mentally and physically ready to go on the offensive. If you’re like most companies, you’ve probably cut some of the lifeblood needed to make your business stand out from the others. You’ve slashed training, you’ve slashed marketing, you’ve slashed advertising and you’ve cut your staff to where most employees are doing what two employees used to do. These cuts have had an adverse effect on sales and morale. It’s time to reinvest in sales and the sales effort.
5. Visit your banker and find out if you qualify for money, just in case you need it. Banks have become loan-resistant. This is not just a fact. It’s also a grim reality. It will be years before they get over the shell shock of not being bulletproof, and it will be years before any type of business loan is relaxed beyond 100 percent collateral. If you think you’ll need money, make arrangements for it before you actually need it.
6. Exchange cold-calling time for business social media time. Make certain that you’re ready to Link, Face, Tweet and YouTube your way to value and engagement, connecting with existing customers and prospective customers.
Reality: Cold-calling has become the ultimate, annoying waste of time. Your prospective customer is busy with his or her business and does not need to be interrupted with your pathetic sales pitch. Your value offering and value messaging, through all forms of social media, will ultimately create attraction to you from qualified people.
6.5 Employ manners that your parents taught you and deploy gratitude internally and externally. Your parents taught you what to say, and I’m challenging you to be grateful for it and share your gratefulness with others. Make certain that your internal and external customers know the sincerity of your appreciation for their loyalty and their business.
What I’ve just given you is a list of actions that will help you succeed, especially in the coming year. Please pass this message on to everyone in your company, starting with your CEO and ending with every person who may not believe that they can make a difference.
Note well: I’m not asking you to be a team. Rather, I’m asking each individual to take responsibility for their thinking and for their actions.
It is my hope that you begin taking these actions today.
Jeffrey Gitomer is the author of “The Sales Bible” and “The Little Red Book of Selling.” President of Charlotte-based Buy Gitomer, he gives seminars, runs sales meetings and conducts Internet training on selling and customer service at www.trainone.com.