Slowing economy is everywhere in the news !!
- International Monetary Fund (IMF) has again lowered its forecast for world economy
- BREXIT could cause severe damage
- China GDP: Economy slows to 6.7% in first quarter
- Eurozone GDP growth halves as French economy stalls
- US preliminary Q2 GDP at 1.2% vs 2.6%
- India’s manufacturing PMI falls sharply in April 2016
Knowing all this and still sitting on your hands, doing nothing, and waiting for the economy to improve is the quickest road to bankruptcy. No matter what industry you work, “business as usual” mindset will sink your ship.
You have to be innovative, adopt latest technologies, and market your products or services in a new way. More than ever you have to focus, improve, and possibly even change what you used to do, to attain and retain customers.
Let’s look at some strategies to combat recession:
- Buy time for yourself.
No matter the size of your business, place a mental image in your mind- You are the most successful person in your industry. Audit yourself- How much time is consumed by routine office work which someone else should be doing? Spend more time with more important tasks such as marketing strategies, improving customer relations, and implementing new strategies to expand your services. Your routine office work can be delegated to your Virtual Assistant (VA).
- Be different and stand out from the competition.
- Study & then target your market more precisely
Your customers are equally desperate in such dull market conditions. They want someone who has the knowledge and experience to provide the solution to their specific needs or problems.
Be precise about the ideal clients and define your target market by industry, by size, by length of time in business, by the problem you solve, etc.
When you are clear about whom your products and services really help, you’ll attract more clients and you can charge more because of your specialization.
2. Position your firm as a specialist or an expert
You are an expert and that of your competitors may be the same. If you want your prospects to see you as an expert in your field, don’t expect them to seek you out from on their own. Demonstrate your expertise and give them a reason to contact you. Create a free, irresistible offer that shows your prospects how well you understand their problems and can solve them.
So, what are you waiting for? Why not find out the marketing strategies and techniques that will put you out in front of your competition today? Each day that you delay means more business lost due to outdated marketing.
3. Build strong relationships with prospects
For each month that goes by, customers lose 10% of their buying power. “Out of sight, out of mind.” Once you’re out the door, off the phone, or your prospect has left your website, they’re going to forget you.
So, how can you make sure you have a stronger relationship with your prospects than your competitors do?
Stay in contact once a week/month without testing their patience. Mail them a postcard, birthday card, sales flyer, newsletter, etc. to keep your name, phone number, and service in their mind. Solve their problems and demonstrate your expertise in a personal and engaging way.
As a part of your customer relationship process, get permission from your customers to use their E-mail address. As long as you have their permission and avoid overuse, E-mail can be a powerful and inexpensive marketing tool.
Consider GrabTaxi – GrabTaxi has raised its total funding to about US$700 million, making it one of the best-funded startups in the history of Southeast Asia. So, how does GrabTaxi stands out?
Providing Quality Customer Service: The driver’s details and a pre-determined fare are made available to the passenger to ensure complete transparency. Passengers can also rate the driver through “share-your-ride” over social media. This ensures that the company regularly gathers feedback and executes valid propositions quickly, to improve the experience for both driver and passengers.
Catering to individual needs: GrabCar provides a range of limousine services and vehicles for passengers with different needs. For example, those who wish to be chauffeured in luxury can opt to travel in a swanky BMW 5-series with the GrabCar+ Premium 4-seater option, while those who wish to bring along their whole extended family with them, can choose the GrabCar 13-seater option.
Understanding the market: GrabTaxi’s unique position as a Southeast Asia startup, means it has a deeper understanding of what strategies and services work in the region. It is able to attract major investors to invest millions (which is the largest investment a Southeast Asian Internet startup has ever received so far). In addition, GrabTaxi is only focused on Southeast Asia, so it can concentrate all its funds and efforts on the region.
Keeping in touch: You may often receive text messages from GrabTaxi about their exciting free rides, GrabHitch, etc. What they are actually doing is, making their presence feel in your life, even when you do not really require them. The most important strategy is how you plan to keep in touch with your prospect, because the moment they are not using you, means that they are definitely not thinking about you.
- Avoid poisonous personalities.
Unfriendly and negative employees cost you money by chasing your customers away. Spend more time interviewing and hiring people who enjoy helping people. Engage behavior based interviewing and screening assessments to improve your chances for hiring success. If your customer needs can be met remotely, consider hiring a Virtual Assistant who can deliver perfect results with less overheads.
- Put a shopping cart on your website.
Online sales are nevertheless rising at a spectacular pace. This increase of sales is coming from people who want to save time, avoid crowded stores, and the ability to shop outside of store hours. Make an audit of what services and products you can add or offer online.
- Pay-per-click advertising.
It’s an internet world. More and more people are referring to Online news/entertainment in lieu of conventional newspapers and TV. Pay-per-click will insure you receive top visibility on websites, driving more customers to your door. The most popular pay-per-click advertisers are found on Google, Yahoo, and Overture.
- Create Customer Service Commandments.
Bates Ace Hardware store in Atlanta created “Twenty Customer Service Commandments” modeled after the Ritz-Carlton hotels, outlining specific behaviors to demonstrate dealing with customers and fellow employees. For example, “Accompany a customer to the correct aisle instead of pointing to another area of the store.” They have printed the commandments on a small card and employees carry it with them at work. Furthermore, supervisors reinforce good customer service by quizzing employees on one commandment each day.
- Take your message to the media.
People love to listen/read stories. Local newspapers and television are always looking for stories and topics of interest. Learn to write a press release or call your local media outlet about a special aspect of your business. If you have a history tell them about your history and how you got to the peak. If you are a beginner, tell them about your aspirations and where do you dream to go. It can easily result in one / two-page spread in a newspaper.
- Take advantage of downturn & curves.
For some, this economic downturn is an opportunity in disguise. Like dangerous curves on a racetrack, economic downturns create more opportunities for companies to move from the middle of the pack into leadership positions than any other time in business.
Consider how Southwest Airlines Co. surged ahead during the 2001 recession. With a clean balance sheet, a clear cost advantage and adroitly hedged fuel costs, the discount carrier grew at the expense of rivals. As others eliminated capacity and jobs, Southwest lowered fares to gain market share. It boosted advertising to trumpet its price advantage and built solid relations with labor by avoiding layoffs.
Compare it to driving a curvy road.
Slow in, fast out—like a good driver heading into a sharp curve. Winners in recessions tend to break quickly, heading into a downturn by managing costs carefully and consistently. It’s like downshifting to a lower gear to slow momentum and increase responsiveness.
They focus on what the company does best, reinforcing the core business and spending to gain share. They aggressively monitor the competition to ensure they have the best possible line through the curve. That sets them up to accelerate at the apex of the curve, when the economy starts to improve. The farther you can see and the quicker you can turn, the faster you can safely corner.
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Also, check out our video, about how a Virtual Assistant can assist you to grow your business.