Bad Economic News? Get Creative.

17 Nov

This is a guest post by John Simonetta, owner of an eco-friendly promotional items consultancy (see ProfromaGreen.com). John’s blogs are designed to keep us up to date on the “greening” of his industry.

It is becoming more and more obvious that an economic slowdown is coming.

As Ecopreneurists what does that mean to us? I think it means that we need to remember the entrepreneur part of our names as well as the Eco. Tough times are when fortunes are made. They are when more people are open to new ideas, because the old ideas no longer seem to work. Tough times are times to get creative.

Some ideas to make tough times work for you.

Money that is being spent will need to go farther as there may be less of it in your client’s or customer’s budgets. So add value by looking at the full spectrum of what you are selling. Can you offer more and make your client a better deal (i.e. you sell the stove, but what if you can sell the stove, the pots, the pans, and the power for the stove all together). By offering more you can lower your price on the complete bundle but you may make better, larger sales as you are solving more issues for the client).

Who is your competition? Take them to lunch, ask them some questions. Maybe you can serve your clients better if you team together. Or maybe your competition doesn’t have the fight for this coming slowdown and you can expand your business by taking over theirs.

Same idea one step removed. Who are your competitor’s sales leaders, their designers, their useful people? Take them to lunch. Are they scared for their jobs? Show them how they could benefit from being part of a stronger, better focused company. Fear is an amazing motivator, but it also locks people in place. If you can help someone better their position with a better job, now is the time to pitch it.

Lastly, get creative. You know more about your clients than you think you do, and of course we all know that reaching out to current clients is the number one driver of sales. What can you do to motivate your current clients? What can you do to hold yourself above the pack when approaching new clients?

For example, my company is now offering a FREE IPOD SHUFFLE with any new order of $2500 we receive  between now (Nov 18, 2008) and Jan, 5th 2009 for any print or promotional items we carry. In addition every order over $500 qualifies our customers, new and old, for our drawing for 4 nights of stress free relaxation at the Mata Rocks Resort in Belize.

Why are we doing this? Because we know that at the end of the year it is often use it or lose it for our customers, meaning if our target audiences – marketing executives, department heads, event planners, sales folks – don’t spend their allotted budget by the end of 2009, they lose the money. And even though the customer knows it is use it or loose it, they still have to overcome their fear and spend the money.

So we make this offer and send it to our clients and prospects. It not rocket science but it is maybe enough to wake them up and get us a few more orders before the end of the year. For more information on this idea see www.proformagreen.com/belize.shtml for details.

Now what about your idea?

Now get out there and get busy, 2009 is almost here. What are you going to do about it?

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