By Matt Doyle, VP and Co-Founder of Excel Builders, a truly unique custom home builder, creating homes that make every day easier.
Selling products and services is challenging at the best of times, but it’s even harder when there’s an economic recession, pandemic, or any other national or global hardship occurring.
This is a difficult issue for me because I work in the custom home construction industry. All homes are big-ticket purchases, and people are especially reluctant about these kinds of purchases when there isn’t much economic certainty.
That’s why I’ve found it necessary to develop sales tactics that are effective even when the future doesn’t look its brightest. The following three methods have helped me keep my business afloat through some of the hardest times.
Serve your current customers and prospects first.
Developing new customers is very tough in a recession. That’s why it’s important that you focus your efforts on keeping the people who have already decided that your products have value.
Increase the amount of attention that you give to people who have already responded to your advertising or purchased your products by doing any of the following:
• Send a follow-up message to people who have reached out but haven’t taken the next step.
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• Send thank-you messages to people who have recently placed orders or signed up for subscriptions.
• Ask customers if they have experienced any issues with the product or services, and help them out if they need to handle any errors or warranty issues.
Word-of-mouth is one of the most effective forms of advertising in even the best of times, but in economic downturns, it may be the only type of marketing that reaches nervous buyers. Focusing on your current customers helps you invest in this type of marketing.
Focus on the long-term value of your products.
No recession lasts forever. This is the message that you need to take to your customers. You need to find ways to highlight the long-term value of your products and make the case that having them now (rather than later) is beneficial.
This can be tricky and highly dependent on the type of product that you are selling. Here are some examples of how to apply it:
• If you sell advertising or promotional services, focus on how much it matters to keep advertising while other competitors are cutting back. This can net you some long-term gains.
• If you sell consumer goods, focus on the value of being a trendsetter or an early adopter.
Be wary of cutting your prices.
It may seem like common sense to slash your prices during a recession. However, doing so could have some serious consequences when it comes to your brand.
First, cutting prices suggests that your products were overpriced in the first place. If you’ve worked hard to develop the value of your brand and products, the last thing you want to do is to make that value look like an illusion.
Second, cutting prices signals to your customers that it may be risky to buy in the short term. Now, everyone who bought in before the price cut looks like they made their purchases too quickly. The rest may wonder if the prices will drop even lower if they just wait it out.
There is an alternative to cutting your prices that won’t alienate your current customers or damage your brand: Adjust your offerings. Condense your products or services into packages that contain essential parts, and pass on savings that way.
Sell yourself wisely during hard times.
Now you know how you can sell your products more effectively when the market isn’t looking its best. Remember to serve the loyal customers you already have and focus on the value you offer in the long term, and don’t damage your brand by prematurely slashing prices.