Working Draft

Are You Still Concerned About The Economy?

By Justin Hitt, Strategic Relations Consultant,

There will always be some uncertainty to the economic state of the nation or industry you conduct business. From days of old, businesses toss and turn in the conflicts of nation, the stagnation of trade, or even over confidence in prosperity. If you position your business relationships correctly, a solid foundation you will stand.

No Need for Concerned If Working With the Right People

Consider this, no industry will disappear overnight; and in any industry, there are leaders with money to spend on what you offer. What are you doing to build successful business relationships with those leaders who are still buying the goods and services you sell? It is not likely all buying will ever stop, so seek out those individual who can make decisions to purchase what you provide.

Remember, leaders in an industry are not always the top producers or highest gross producers, leaders are those with the highest probability of future stability in regards to your business objectives. Recent news of WestPoint Stevens Inc (the second-largest US linen producer who is filing for Bankruptcy protection) demonstrates you have to look beyond your own region when seeking leadership in your industry.

Your company would be safe to produce the top five companies in key markets as identified by your ability to deliver finished goods. Expanding your market place to find buyers does not have to be costly, try first with your existing resources while scaling production to improve availability. Approach the industry leaders in addition to what you are already doing, and then transition your customer base as these larger accounts come on-board.

Since you know statistically and strategically that these top companies are profitable to pursue, you are really investing in the future potential of your organization. One warning, all that glitters is not gold, take careful effort to reevaluate each campaign to determine if the return justifies the investment -- as you learn more about the target company adjust your campaign accordingly.

Create stability through those customers you do business. Like a well-balanced stock portfolio identify and work directly with the best in the industry you serve. If your clients are the top ten (as they serve your objectives and have an ability to buy) in your niche, you have no need to fret about any economic challenge.

How to Get More Business in Any Economy

When your mental model focuses you on finding the one or two key buyers in an industry, you can keep moving towards your goals. It will not be easy, and you might have to gather additional information about your customers. This is why you must establish a business relationship over time, even when you do not specifically need its benefits.

Strategies you can implement to find those who are still buying what you have to offer:

  1. Clearly define the value of what you offer to those who would find it valuable from the buyers prospective.
  2. Identify the decision characteristics of the individuals who are still purchasing your offering, even check your assumptions with real customers.
  3. Develop a clear understanding of the characteristics that define your most profitable customers, go beyond analytical figures and document buying behaviors.
  4. Leverage existing relationships to reach the buyers who have yet to purchase your product, but have a need.
  5. Clearly develop an understanding of what creates a need for your product and use this information to identify buyers.
  6. Connect with other companies close to the decision to purchase your product, educate them to how you should be selected.
  7. Gather information about how your existing customer use your product or service, extend that value to new buyers through marketing.
  8. Focus your interactive sales actions to those 90% likely to purchase, develop automated and other methods that do not require labor to qualify the rest.
  9. Use ever interaction point to educate buyers or offer something of value; do not waste any opportunity to improve existing customer relationships.
  10. Clearly define how you interact with customers and what is expected at each interaction, have a standard process to train employees.
  11. Be clear in your industry as to your leadership position, seek out other top performers and stay in close ties.
  12. Never discount your price to make a sale, only use discounts to get customers in the door, but never to decide to buy.
  13. Monitor trends in purchasing using third-party data, even if you have to purchase it from your competition through a broker.
  14. Purchase your competitions unconverted leads as they match your best buyer demographics.
  15. Work with partners to differentiate the value of your product as it appeals to a niche within your customer base.
  16. Utilize computer-based profiles to pre-qualify buyers from active lead generation programs.
  17. Constantly survey your customer base to stay in touch with their real needs, not just your perceived needs for them.
  18. Append and enhance existing data as it serves the purpose of identifying buyers who have capital to spend on your offering.
  19. Document how you use current customer data; develop a model to keep data accurate and applicable to your inner circle of collaborating companies.
  20. Redefine your offering as it pertains to a specific niche inside your customer base; send customized marketing materials to test assumptions.
  21. Use profitable customer profiles to identify those most likely to be worth the effort of pursuit, pre-qualify every prospect prior to first contact.
  22. Understand in what geographic base you can cost effectively deliver your products; use this to define your scope for industry leaders.
  23. Test your assumptions against analytical data, then live customer interactions, while maintaining the use of best-known practices (a control.)

Someone somewhere must purchase your product or services to provide to their own customers, find those people and be available to them. No matter how bad the economy, companies will never stop buying at some level. The key is to stay connected with enough of those who are still purchasing what you have to offer.

Who has capital that they could use to buy what you offer?

© 2003 Justin Hitt, All rights reserved.
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Justin Hitt helps executives build stronger relationships with customers, employees, and vendors so that your business is more profitable. For a free special report on economic development strategies as covered in this publication, visit

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