With the weak economy and the grid-locked government, many business leaders feel stuck, frustrated and frozen in place. They know that their current strategy of downsizing, economizing and streamlining will not lead to long-term success.
In fact, in a recent survey, the number one issue among business leaders and business owners was no longer cost reduction (the “champion” of the past several years). Instead, business leaders fretted about weak sales.
Alas, many of these same leaders are unsure of how they can find new sales, grow their businesses and move forward, especially with consumer and business demand so muted.
What to do?
These leaders need to get out of their offices and personally conduct 3 days of field research to better understand their businesses and see their companies through the eyes of their customers.
Travel with your best salesperson for the day and see him or her in action.
- Why is she so good at what she does? How can you take some of that “magic” and impart it to your other salespeople?
- What does he think is most important in re-kindling growth? What is limiting him from selling even more?
- How does she really sell your products and services?
- What is really important to the current and potential customers that you meet?
Meet with one of your best customers and thank them for their business.
- This good customer will feel appreciated, even flattered, significantly enhancing your relationship.
- In the ensuing discussion: you will learn about this customer’s strategies and barriers; the customer will likely tell you where your company needs to improve and how you stand relative to your competition; the customer may suggest new product and service possibilities; and you may even jointly brainstorm about innovative solutions to the customer’s problems.
- In the end,you will be better much better prepared to serve this customer’s changing needs. You may even be able to team together to develop product enhancements or develop new products and services, tying you in even more closely with this customer. And you will have insight into changes that are likely going on with other customers.
Go through your quote log and order book in detail and learn about your newest customers as well as those potential customers that you have quoted to for the first time
- Why did these customers reach out to you now?
- Are they in an industry or market that is growing and may be a fruitful source of revenue in the future?
- Are they using your product and services in new and different ways?
- For those customers that you quoted to and lost, can you change your product and service offerings to better satisfy their needs?
After these 3 days of personal field research, you will have a much better idea of possible strategies (some of which may have been right under your nose all this time) that will move your company back onto a path for growth, even in these sluggish times.