Too many businesses feel that it is Year X of the recession. Some see that things are turning around, for others however, they have tried everything but nothing really seems to work. The reality is that the hopper just isn’t as full as it used to be.
So what’s going on?
The list is endless. The well is dry. People aren’t buying like they were. There are more, cheaper competitors. Customers can do it themselves, or they can wait. Advertising doesn’t work anymore. Networking is an empty promise. Social media is just so much hot air. Strategy is all very good but what about some sales now?
It used to be OK. Currently it is tough. And it looks like it is going to get even tougher. Many businesses are like planes trying to take off but running out of runway…
Even more businesses are going to go bust. Many know who they are; even more haven’t lifted their heads above the parapet (or out of the sand) to see what’s about to happen.
Emergency situations require emergency measures. Now is not the time to avoid doing the cash-flow forecast. Now is not the time to find some intellectually fascinating project that distracts you from the real problem which is… not enough sales to pay the wages. WAKE UP! WAKE UP!
So what is to be done?
Well, it does depend on where you are. How deep is the problem? How long will the cash last? When do you need to start laying people off? I am afraid you need to confront all of this now. Know what it is that you are dealing with. Understand when you will reach a point-of-no-return and decide what you are going to do before you get there. Start preparing your Plan B now and get to grips with when you will need to put it into action. There is no time to waste; the time bomb will just keep ticking away so you need to take evasive action, and fast.
A cunning plan?
There is no universal solution, no one-size-fits-all business rescue plan that will take a dying business and transform it into a money machine. You have had plenty of time to organise that but for some reason it just ain’t working. But I do have a cunning plan that might just work, subject to timing, subject to how long you’ve got, subject to how much money you’ve got, subject to how much positive energy you’ve got left.
It is the 60:6 Formula. It is not rocket science; it is taking massive action. The thinking behind it is simple. For most of us (not retailers but you can still adapt my thinking) the sales are a function, a result of how many people you contact. Obviously there is a quality issue as well, but it would be fair to say that if you are talking to more people then the likelihood of making a sale increases.
So the 60:6 formula is as simple as this:
Make appointments to meet 60 potential customers in the next six weeks. Six weeks is 30 working days so you need to average roughly two meetings per workday by the time you rule out other work and activities you have got in the diary.
The process of having the target gets you to apply yourself to the task in hand. Draw up a chart with the numbers ‘1’ to ‘60’ down the side. And start filling in the names and the results.
The exercise gets you to re-focus on meeting potentials. And if they don’t want to work with you right now then they will probably know people who you should be talking to. Tell your people, “I am on the road for the next six weeks. If someone wants to see me, I’ll jump in the car and see them. Just give me the address and I’ll be there.”
A couple of caveats before you just rush off and make tons of appointments. Are you able to:
Be clear about what your offer is to your customer?
Ask for the sale?
Articulate what it is that you do and why people should buy from you?
Explicitly describe the overt benefit to the customer of your product/service?
Describe the real reason to believe why you can deliver the benefit/results?
Show what the dramatic difference is between your offering and that of your competitors?
Time to get the diary out and start making those appointments!