Time has marched on. Suddenly, it’s a new year chockfull of resolutions and ‘must do’s’.

Time has marched on. Suddenly, it’s a new year chockfull of resolutions and ‘must do’s’. And despite the daily diet of doom and gloom, there’s still business to be had and much that can be done to sustain growth — even in an economic downturn. So says sales consultant and guru John Graham in his Winter 2009 edition of Magnet Marketing & Sales. Here are 10 of his suggestions for winning more business in 2009:

  • Get customers thinking about possibilities. Take your cue from Disney — inspire customers to celebrate rather than buy, buy, buy. Help them to create memorable experiences.
  • Demonstrate strength. Don’t allow your company to be perceived as a bad bet to do business with. Make sure you’re visible, demonstrate strength, and let it be known there will be a tomorrow for your customers.
  • Craft a clear and compelling message and stay with it. Cadillac’s advertising campaign wins kudos for being memorable. “When you turn on your car, does it return the favour?” How does yours rate?
  • Think performance. There’s no longer room for excuses. Companies and workers must now pass the even more demanding performance test.
  • Get knowledgeable. Understand the big picture, not just your own product and services. Salespeople are often blinded by their own objectives, and as a result, don’t understand what their customers are facing or the problems they need to solve. They are only interested in selling something and that’s a formula for failure.
  • Build your database. One of the major weaknesses in most businesses is contact info that is sloppy, inaccurate, incomplete or non-existent. No business should minimize the value of a contact info system as a competitive advantage. “If you don’t know who and where they are, you can’t market to them.”
  • Stop pushing and start pulling. If you try to push customers to buy in this economic downturn, you’re dead. They won’t stand for it. Once you understand a customer’s particular buying process, spend time figuring out how to fit into it, not change it.
  • Change can be disastrous. Don’t do things just because they’re different. There’s no room for mistakes, whim and personal preference.
  • Professionalize your communications. The weakest link between a company and its customers is its communication. Poorly written letters, e-mails, memos and newsletters can damage customer relations. That is where differentiation and branding begins.
  • Plant the seeds of tomorrow. Think longer term; stay close to prospects as well as customers, and it will be a good tomorrow.



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