SalesDog Weekly Newsletter
    Issue 611 Coffee with The Dog February 19, 2013    
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Quote of the Week: "Try not to become a man of success,
but rather try to become a man of value."
—Albert Einstein
Five Tips for Selling in Tough Times
by Wendy Weiss

In a recession, you cannot open a newspaper or turn on the television without hearing about the economy, the market, bankruptcy and tough times. It is a scary, depressing time filled with doom and gloom. What's happening with the economy? What will happen with your sales? With your business? With your job? Will you survive?

Let's face facts: we are in difficult economic times and things will probably get worse before they get better. At this juncture, business owners and sales professionals have only two courses of action available to them:

  • Option 1. Tighten your belts, cut costs, increase discounts and accept lower sales revenues and a shorter, smaller bottom line. Hunker down and hope that you will survive till good times come around again.
  • Option 2. Sharpen, refine and increase your prospecting and sales skills, and look for new opportunity.
Yes, look for new opportunity. While other business owners and sales professionals are busily tightening their belts, cutting costs, increasing discounts and accepting lower sales and lower sales revenue, opportunity is there for those who take action.

Most companies, including your competition, will be doing less and doing with less: They'll be cutting out marketing. They'll stop prospecting. They will discount. Moreover, they'll be scared to death to approach current customers for more business for fear of alienating and losing those customers altogether.

Because of the way most companies react to an economic crisis, this is actually a good time to build your pipeline, win new business and expand your market. The key to flourishing during difficult times is not to simply work harder; it's to work smarter.

Here are some actions that you can start today to insure that you maintain your sales and grow:
  • Increase your sales skills. Prospecting and selling are communication skills and, as with any communication skill, they can be learned and improved upon. If you are not closing sales, it could be the economy; but it could also be that your skills need sharpening. Great sales skills will enable you to take advantage of the opportunities that do exist. Great sales skills will enable you to close sales even during difficult times. Conversely, not having the requisite skills will allow potential sales to slip through your fingers. If business is really slow, use some of that extra time for education.
  • Increase the number of qualified prospects you reach. In difficult economic times many companies, business owners and entrepreneurs cut costs by eliminating marketing and prospecting efforts. This is a huge mistake. While this is probably not the time to be spending large sums of money on brand new initiatives, it is imperative to continue low-cost marketing and prospecting activities. Without prospecting, sales do not grow.
One of the best and least expensive sales and marketing activities you can initiate is to use the telephone. Call potential new customers to introduce yourself. Call existing customers to sell them more products and services or gather referrals. Calling your customers has the added benefit of helping to maintain customer loyalty, which is imperative in times like these.
  • Make inroads on your competition's customers. When times are tough customer loyalty is shaky. This could be the perfect time to increase your market share by targeting your competition's customers. Perhaps you offer another product or service that your competition does not. Perhaps your offering is less expensive or adds value in a way that your competitor's does not. This is an opportune time to introduce your competitions' customers to you, your company and your products and services.
  • Find new applications and markets for your products and services. Can your products and services be used in nontraditional ways? Are there other markets that are potentially in need of your products and services? Now is the time to explore these new applications and markets. If you find that your traditional market is drying up, look elsewhere.
  • Find new ways to help. The easiest sales to close are sales to existing customers. They already have a relationship with you. They know you and they trust you. Go back to your customers with new applications, add-ons and improvements for your existing products and services. Find new ways to help. Your customers will respond.
These five tips all have one thing in common: They require action. You cannot allow fear and anxiety about the economy to paralyze you. Instead, focus on what you can accomplish and take steps to do so.

In a difficult economy, it is imperative that you reach out to new prospects and to existing customers. Don't be one of the many who wait with their fingers crossed for the economy to improve. Instead, keep taking proactive steps to build your sales pipeline and generate sales revenue. This will help you weather any economic crisis and come out of it successful and well positioned for even more growth in the future.

Wendy Weiss is known as The Queen of Cold Calling.

This article is reprinted from Volume II of the Top Dog Sales Secrets books. These books contain the combined selling and business growth expertise of dozens of nationally renowned sales experts. Learn more here.

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Trivia: The shortest French word with all five vowels is the word meaning bird. What is it? You'll find the answer here.
Interesting but useless fact: Ukulele means jumping flea in Hawaiian.
Fulsome is the featured word of the week. Find the definition, pronunciation key, and an example of it used in a sentence here.
Dogfucius Say: He who laughs last thinks slowest.
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Word of the Week: Fulsome adjective [ fool-suhm, fuhl- ]
  1. offensive to good taste, especially as being excessive; overdone or gross: fulsome praise that embarrassed her deeply; fulsome décor.

  2. disgusting; sickening; repulsive: a table heaped with fulsome mounds of greasy foods.

  3. excessively or insincerely lavish: fulsome admiration.

  4. encompassing all aspects; comprehensive: a fulsome survey of the political situation in Central America.

  5. abundant or copious.
Example Sentence:
I'm sure he'll be delighted to receive such fulsome praise from you.
Definition & Example courtesy of

The shortest French word with all five vowels is the word meaning bird. What is it?

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