How to survive the surges of a changing economy
By Julia Escobar, ProspectsPLUS! Director of Corporate Marketing
What goes up must come down. Our current economy is a constant reminder of that adage. Every boom has a bust and, fortunately, every cloud has a silver lining. Your challenge is to be mentally and financially prepared for any market, find the hidden positives, and turn those positives into a profit center.
Entrepreneurs and small-business owners historically fall into three predictable traps on the economic roller coaster. First, they spend when times are good; increased confidence makes them want it all! They buy bigger houses, lease expensive cars, create the corner office shrine to their success, over-expand their businesses and, unfortunately, fail to save for the eventual rainy day.
The second trap occurs when the market slows or normalizes, and business is no longer booming. All of a sudden, as confidence wanes, quick-to-spend entrepreneurs realize the value of saving a dollar. What do they do? They drastically cut back on advertising, marketing, services and expenses. The result is that they become invisible to the buying and selling public and, consequently, find themselves on the slippery slope of fast failure.
What, then, should you do? The opposite of what everyone else is doing! Save during the good times, and spend (wisely) when the going gets tough.
Having a handle on your true expenses is essential in both good times and bad. As entrepreneurs, our first instinct with money tends to lean toward the “I’ll just make more” mindset.
As we make our way into the fourth quarter of the year, and set our sights on a new year, it’s important to break out the budget and make smart cuts in expenses, such as renegotiating phone service rates or sharing expenses with industry partners at networking and prospecting events. Then put capital back into the business by paying off debt, improving your income/expense ratios and strengthening your bottom line.
Don’t be so quick to cut sales-generating activities such as advertising and promotion when the market tightens. Instead, take an aggressive stance by increasing your prospecting and marketing budgets, and you’ll soon reap the rewards of your forward momentum.
Businesses that cut back often emerge smaller and weaker when the market recovers. On the other hand, businesses that spend the money to maintain their branding rebound even stronger – often capturing market share lost by those who left the business or are in a perpetual state of quit.
The third pitfall is that many salespeople fail to grasp the concept of patience. Agents often are looking for a quick fix-immediate gratification for their marketing efforts. They send one postcard or place one ad and expect the phones to ring and their prayers to be answered.
Consistency, repetitive recognition and the understanding that every marketing effort has a track-able cycle for success is vital to your staying power. After all, it takes at least seven contacts for a prospect to recognize your name and place it with your company and profession. Too bad most salespeople throw in the towel after three. When should you stop promoting and marketing your business? When you retire – and not a day before.
Weathering market changes and economic storms is nothing new. How you handle each storm – whether you are willing to seek out the silver lining and keep your mindset on building that forward momentum – will determine your success and survival. Take your cues from the top producers who continuously keep their eye on the bottom line, are never afraid to do a rain dance and always find themselves high and dry no matter the market conditions.
Julie Escobar has more than 20 years of sales and marketing experience in the real estate and speaking industries. From copywriting to convention management, you will find her consistently seeking out innovative solutions, fresh ideas, as well as creative products and tools for the ProspectsPLUS! team of talented speakers and of course, their valued clients.
Would you like to bring effective sales strategies and skill-building techniques to your office? Call Julie at 866.405.3641 or visit www.ProspectsPLUS.com and register for our Master Marketing Newsletter™.