Innovation

Peer-to-Peer: How to overcome a sales slump

Written by PROFIT-Xtra

Question

“Hate to admit this, but after two-and-a-half straight years of success, I’m in a bit of a sales slump. Now I feel myself getting a tad desperate and pressing harder for orders, which prospects can probably sense. I’m feeling increasingly negative, pessimistic and unmotivated.

“I’m considering talking to a handful of my best customers and asking them to help evaluate the situation. Does this seem like a good idea? And what else can I do to overcome this slump?”

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Reader responses

Anonymous:

Selling to existing customers is always significantly easier than selling to new ones. But far too many businesses concentrate on getting new orders, new clients, new, new, new. Regular, systematized follow-up with existing customers can be a potential goldmine. Sell them what you sold them last time, sell them new things they didn’t try last time, or sell them new products you didn’t even have when they last ordered. If you don’t go after them, they become easy pickings for your top competitors.

Anonymous, Your Personal Trainer for Sales:

I would not recommend going to your clients to ask them why you aren’t selling. However, if you must, here are some questions to ask yourself first:

  1. Has something happened in your industry that would place your product or service in less demand (e.g., some sort of innovation)?
  2. Has something happened to you personally that has affected your personality (e.g., a family problem)?
  3. Do you know what your competition is doing (e.g., Does their widget have new features that you have failed to keep up with)?
  4. Has there been a downturn that has affected the ability of your clients to pay for your products or services (e.g., are they going through a slump of their own)?

Look hard internally. And once you have answered these questions, go to one client who you have a great relationship with and ask them point blank why they are not buying from you. Going to a number of clients sends the wrong signals about your business. People tend to like to deal with others that are successful.

Having a coach or mentor would also help you along in this process and, yes,negativism and pessimism are counter-productive. So forget that; rather, get focused and start answering some of the questions I mentioned above.

at Boening, DWC Inc.:

NEVER ask your customers to evaluate the bad situation you are in. Who wants to deal with someone in trouble? Spend a few bucks and ask professionals (consultants) to help you. This way you get the best advice and nobody needs to know about your temporary problem.

Pat Boening will receive a copy of Managing Human Rights At Work, by Stephen Hammond.

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Originally appeared on PROFITguide.com