Sales training and sales effectiveness are now critical to businesses, especially during recessions and even more so now that it can no longer rely on the gimmicks it had become dependent upon. The major components that businesses have relied on for their success over the last decade — mass market advertising, high inventory levels, free credit, no money down, etc. — are either no longer available and/or cannot be justified.
Advertising, no matter how effective your jingle or offer, has to compete with shock media, doomsday reporting, the latest celebrity scandal and reality TV not to mention the TIVO factor. When your catchy ad runs for 60 seconds and the 30 minutes before and after they tell the same consumer how bad things are, your advertising minute has as much chance of moving a consumer to your product as you have of melting an iceberg with a hair dryer.
Gimmicks like no money down and zero percent interest are no longer workable because the manufacturers are either not in a position to offer it or the banks won’t approve the transaction. Offering financing to anyone and everyone became the mantra over the last decade and that gimmick is gone until the banks go unconscious again.
So what are you to do in a economy that is contracting, where the buyer lacks confidence, where each business has to be much more selective in how it invest its dollars and the gimmicks are no longer available? The only solution is to get back to basics when the company and its people have to realize its survival and future depends on the management and sales team generating opportunities by networking, prospecting and making personal contacts. Businesses have to break their dependence upon mass advertising and gimmicks as a way to grow business. This is a challenge because so many companies have relied solely on these tools in order to grow their businesses.
Companies have to get back to training their sales and management team on how to rely less on gimmicks and more on sales skills and sales effectiveness in order for them to generate the activity levels that were created artificially. Businesses have become complacent over the years that customers would come to them and now it is time for business to go to the customers. It is truly back to basics. Back to a time when you had to create opportunities and interest in your products and services one person at a time. Service prior to the sale, before there is even interest in your product is now more important that service after the sale because without this ‘early’ service there will be no sale.
The days of gimmicks, shortcuts, and easy opportunities are over for now and it is time to get ‘back to basics’ of building your business through your people. That rebuilding means daily attention to the development of your people’s skills, sales training, sales effectiveness and the motivation for your group starting with management and flowing to all of your employees.