Top Ten Downturn Selling Ideas

I was intrigued to come across a doted angel investor’s tips for how the so-called ‘real-time’ social web can make money. This is of interest primarily to anyone interested in how on earth Twitter can capitalise on its bumble-bee deafening buzz.

His top ten revenue creating avenues (isn’t monetisation such a cumbersome word?) is the kind that usually throws up the irritatingly familiar “it’s all just common sense” reactions from those miffed at their peripheral disengagement. Yet I fancy that you’d be hard-pressed to find another commentator (or in this chap’s case, participator) that goes beyond the oft-trumpeted Ads and Account Charging ideas.

It made me think of the biggest challenge to salespeople today, selling in a downturn of course, and whether you could create a similar top ten of things that you should do right now that (and here’s the crucial thing) you wouldn’t necessarily do during good times.

It’s a tough task, especially when seeking to avoid the sales cynics (and I bet we all know several!) responding in those dismissive “common sense” tones.  Nevertheless, it’s an idea with much merit I feel, so here goes, my top ten selling tasks for our credit crunch recession times. Even if you disagree with the specific applicability of one or two, hopefully there’ll be enough here from my quick few minutes thought I managed to devote to it, to kick off a quota-busting solution sales idea or three for you:

10. Business case
Know yours backwards, have one for each client/prospect, reduce risks and switching costs and use it as a way of maintaining contact in periods when you wouldn’t normally speak.
9. Leverage expertise
What is it you personally are most renowned for? Talk to everyone about it, always offering related alternatives for purchase.
8. Add-on focus
Create an offer for your favourite add-on product and make it on every call/bid.
7. Know your gaps
Despite the growing prevalence of data mining software, so few salespeople still get a handle on this. Do your own analysis for the biggest sellers normally taken as a pair.
6. Cross-sell
We all know what up-, switch- & link-sells are, but cross-sells are often left behind. The more outlandish the fit seems, perhaps the better the opportunity.
5. Work your sweet spot
Wherever it is, you want more of the same, and can usually increase contacts and touch points where you already reside.
4. Flagship/Trophy products
What’s the one key thing that absolutely everyone should take from you?
3. Build in incentives
Who knows how long this’ll last, so think about future rebates for upgrades, servicing contracts, volume increase commitments and run-rate contracts.
2. Raise a key price
Ask your customers what they feel the best value product is and build something into/alongside it to in effect raise its price
1. Innovate with packages
Play around with bundling hitherto unattached products and new angles on commonly purchased items.

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