Countertops Magazine Archive

5 Keys to Adapting to the New Economy

5 Keys to Adapting to the New Economy

What’s your greatest challenge right now? If you’re like many business people, it’s figuring out how to increase your sales. Today’s economic climate has become one of survival of the fittest. So it’s time to get fit. It’s time to get off the couch and do some business sit-ups. We can no longer afford to wait until the economy rebounds. It might not.

What used to be a challenge of keeping up with serving clients, has now become a challenge of simply finding them. And even though things seem to be improving a little, it’s not enough. If you want to discover how to increase your sales – keep reading.

I’m going to share with you the five fundamentals you must master if you want to do well in the new economy. Just as all creatures must adapt to a new climate or environment they find themselves in, you too must learn to adapt to this new economic climate. Here are the five fundamentals you’ll need to master.

1. Decision
Decide to win. Determine to set and reach specific, measureable goals. Put them in writing. Many business people in our industry have been hit so hard by the recession that they are reeling about like drunken sailors. It’s time to sober up and focus. Waiting for the economy to come back to former levels is a bad idea.

Yes, the pie is smaller. Get a bigger fork. Decide to take action and move your business forward with a clear and laser-like strategy. Take charge of your company’s future sales by determining who is buying in your market, who they are choosing most often and why.

Make sure that your offering is unique and compelling. Realize that people will buy for their reasons, not yours. Value, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. If you are touting your fast turn-around and they care more about quality, you lose. If they are concerned about seams and you talk about your low price, you’ll be missing the mark when it comes to sales.

Every buyer has one or two key buying factors or “triggers.” Your job is to find theirs. Creating value based on what they value most is the key to easily increasing your sales numbers. So decide right now, as you are reading this, to take the steps necessary to strengthen your company’s sales efforts and get results. Resolve to do whatever it takes to gain more market share. Commit to becoming the company of choice in the mind of the new consumer. Create an “I can” attitude.

2. Comparison 
Look at the competitive landscape. How do you stack up against the competition? Great companies don’t ignore the competition. When they do, it is to their own demise. I promise you, Pepsi is watching Coke and vice versa.

However, when you look at your competition it is to see what the customer sees in them that is so appealing. Work to discover how you might be not only different, but better.

In a flat economy, the only way to grow your sales is by taking it from your competitors. That happens by offering a greater perceived value to customers. Clearly tell them why you’re a better choice.

It’s time to reinvent yourself; to evolve. You must adapt and become more than you have been to offer greater value than anyone else. Times have changed, the economy changed and consumers have changed. Have you?

Adapting to the new economy means adopting new strategies and principles that help you to navigate the rough waters of this new economy.

3. Vision 
It’s time for a new view. Begin to see through the customers’ eyes. What do they want most? What do they want and need to hear during the sales process? What determines value in their eyes? What creates trust? Answer these questions and you are on the road to higher sales.

Learn to look at your business through their lenses. The more you understand your customers the more you’ll sell and the easier it will be to appeal to them and stand apart from the competition in ways that matter.

I guarantee you, most of your competitors are not thinking this way.

4. Clear, Compelling Communication 
Make your message stronger. From your marketing materials to your website, to the words you speak when meeting with a new client, your communication must be clear, enticing and to the point.

Customers don’t care about you, or your goals; they care about theirs. Talk about their issues. Resolve their concerns and fears – yes fears. From my experience, most women are afraid of making a bad decision. And 91 percent of all buying decisions in the home are made by women.

Communication is critical to selling more. A friend once shared a powerful insight on this. He said, “Our income is determined by our communication.” The quality and quantity of our communication directly affects our income.

The more people you speak to plus the better you speak equals money.

Now here’s the challenge: it’s called Illusory Superiority or “The Lake Wobegon Effect.” It states that, most of us think we are better than we really are. It’s been shown that 85 percent of people think they are smarter, luckier and better looking than the rest. Did you know that 93 percent of college professors think they are doing a better job than their peers and that 97 percent feel they are less biased?

We all tend to overestimate our abilities, especially when it comes to our ability to communicate. Most of us are mediocre. If we make an effort to improve our communication, the result will be more sales and profits. Remember that everything communicates. From the car you drive to your apparel. From your website to your showroom and displays – everything is communicating.

Studies show that only 7 percent of communication is the words we speak. The other 93 percent is our tone of voice and body language. Don’t misunderstand me, the words we choose matter. It’s just that our tone and body language matter more.

Customers are trying to determine which product is right for them and then who to trust to provide that product to them. We should be focused on helping them to make that determination with our communications.

5. Trust 
Every industry has a No.1 attribute in the mind of their customer that, if owned, will give them a huge competitive advantage. In ketchup, that No. 1 attribute is “slow.” Heinz captured that single attribute and the result is ownership of 60 percent of the ketchup market. That’s how powerful this concept is.

In 25 years of selling, I am convinced that the No. 1 attribute to own in countertops is trust. Own this, and you own the market. Here’s proof.

I recently returned to visit my old neighborhood to discover that virtually all of the low priced guys had gone out of business. The three that remained strong were all the higher priced companies. The secret? These companies had gone out of their way to secure relationships with the top designers and builders. They had built their businesses on trust.

Low price is NOT the answer. Trust is. And trust will help you to create allies, which is a powerful key in tough economic times. Relationships can save a business and provide you with valuable leads and referrals.

Putting it All Together
These five fundamentals – decision, comparison, vision, communication and trust – will make all the difference in your sales in this new economy. Decide you are going to win. Stop waiting for the market to rebound, because it probably won’t. Get over it, this is the economy. Make a comparison of your company to your competitors. Get a realistic grasp of who you are in the marketplace. Choose how you will become more attractive to the new consumer. Adjust your vision. Develop a new view. See through the customer’s eyes. Find out what they value most. Every one of us buys on value, not price. Improve your communication and watch sales soar. Communication is a skill and can be developed. Spend an hour a week working on this ability and the result will be improved sales. It’s that simple. And always remember that trust is the key. It is the number one attribute to own. Nothing is more important than associating your company with the attribute of trust. This should be the focus of any company trying to thrive in the new economy.

Develop mastery in these five Fundamentals and you will change your company’s financial future. Selling is a skill that anyone can master. Now go out and tear it up!

About the Author
Kirk Heiner is an author, speaker and sales and marketing coach with more than 25 years in sales, and two decades in the kitchen, bath and countertop industries. He is known for helping companies to succeed regardless of the economy and can be contacted at [email protected]