Seven ways to beat a sales slump

By Julia Keady

The trick to beating a sales slump is to see it as an opportunity to strengthen your business.

A sudden slump in sales can be frightening for any business. But sales slumps will happen periodically for a many different reasons including economic conditions, new competitors, staff morale, market saturation or a stale brand position. The trick to beating a sales slump is to see it as an opportunity to strengthen your business. Here are seven ways to do just that.

1. Re-evaluate

What's the cause of the slump? Are you selling luxury products in a recession or is there a new competitor taking market share from you? Maybe you're making wagon wheels when the tyre has already been invented. The first step is to have a good look at the landscape. Survey your customers, investigate your competition, review your product lines and analyse your business.

2. Strategic planning

Maybe you need to diversify your product range, or reposition your price point, or chase new markets, or market more aggressively, or renew your relationship with your customers with a special offer. The worst thing you can do is nothing.

3. Refresh your brand

You may just be yesterday's news. Is your brand contemporary, exciting, trustworthy and visible? Try out some new images, sales strategies or marketing channels and tell a better story about yourself.

4. Engage your staff

If anyone knows what's going wrong, they do. Put together some team strategy meetings and engage them in innovation and creative problem solving.

5. Invest in training

Bring in some expert help to lift your employees' sales and customer service skills, and examine each segment of your sales funnel. You can also start reading and looking at how other people have beaten this.

6. Rework ideas from your competitors

Find out what they are doing that's working, and either make it your own or improve upon it.

7. Work on your business, not in it

This is the time to step back and take a hard look at what is and isn't working - it's not the time to work longer hours in the business. Doing the same thing you've been doing will just bring you more of the same poor results.

A sales slump can be the point at which a business starts declining into oblivion, or starts ascending to new heights of creativity, productivity and innovation. As William Shakespeare said, "Nothing's either good or bad, but thinking makes it so."

How long has it been since you cast a fresh eye over your business?


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