There is nothing so alarming as watching your sales numbers decline. At first, you figure it’s a fluke, a blip. Nothing to be worried about. But if weeks and months go by and the numbers keep heading down, it is very easy to start freaking out. Nevertheless, this is the time to keep control – because the worst thing to do when sales drop is panic. Here’s what to do instead.
First, get a grip.
Easier said than done, obviously. But the death spiral of slowing sales to growing panic to making really bad decisions is the last thing you need. So do what you can to keep your nerves in check.
But if you can’t do that …
It’s not always easy to get a grip and, sometimes, you can be in it so deep you can’t even tell you’re spiraling. But you can get a check on your behavior. So if you’re in a sales slump, make sure you don’t start doing any of this with your marketing:
- Copy the competition
When your sales slump, you might convince yourself that your competitor is doing great. Somehow, whatever market forces are afoot are only impacting you and not them. So you start paying attention to everything they are doing. You look at their website, get their newsletter, read their content. You come to the conclusion that everything they are doing is great and everything you’ve been doing is garbage. So why not try to be a little more like them? After all, your product is just as good.
Yikes. This kind of thinking gets you nowhere. First, your competition, just like you, is trying to present a good face. You have no idea what’s really going on behind the scenes. Second, successful marketing is about distinguishing yourself from the competition. If you start trying to be more like them, you lose what makes people choose you.
A good rebrand is a fine thing – unless you’re in the middle of an identity crisis. If your sales are slumping and you’re panicking, this is not the time to redefine who you are as a company. The results are guaranteed to feel random and out of character.
Instead, hold the course. Your look and feel are already known to your customers. Your brand was working just fine for you for a long, long time. So there’s really no need to change it right now. Hold steady.
- Add new product lines
This can be a bit trickier because you may actually need to add some new products or services to weather the storm. But what you don’t want to do is start frantically adding new things in the hopes someone will finally buy something.
What you can do is listen to your customers (more on this in a minute). If they need something in a lower price point or shorter timeline, maybe you can do that. Just don’t add things willy-nilly because you are panicking.
- Desperate outreach
People can smell desperation a mile away – and it is a surefire customer repellent. Desperation shows up as tons of discounts or reaching out to prospects too often, or trying to upsell folks on things they don’t need. None of it is a good look.
Instead, try slowing things down. If you want to do a sale or offer a discount, take a look at how recently you’ve done that. Does it make sense to do it again? Are you at risk of teaching your customers to just wait for a sale price before buying? If so, resist the temptation.
Instead of panicking, try this …
So what can you do? Talk with your customers. Find out what’s going on. Are their budgets tight? Are they having layoffs? The odds are it’s not coming from something you’re doing – which is why panic responses won’t help.
Ask your customers what they need under these new circumstances. Maybe offering different packages can help. Or including some extra customer support with the deal. Whatever change you make – if you make any at all – make sure it’s based on solid customer information.
Slowdowns aren’t the end of the world
Every business experiences slowdowns from time to time, and no sector is immune to a tough economy. To see your way through, keep your head on straight, listen to your customers, and don’t give in to panic.