The companies that will prove to be most valuable are those that can actually sell their products and services without the help of short-term programs, government stimulus and gimmicks that are not sustainable. Anyone creating products that are wanted and needed and more importantly has a trained sales force and management team that focuses on how to effectively sell their products will survive and become the darlings of Wall Street.
Stimulus programs like the recent, Cash for Clunkers, may have created a short-term spike in sales but it leaves the players with a false sense of recovery. The consumer took advantage of the program, manufactures blew out inventories, dealers had a great couple of months but where do we go from here? The manufacturers are unable to project forecast production and the dealers won't know what inventories to obligate themselves to when these programs are over. That brings us to the real problem--businesses don't know how to generate an opportunity without stimulus.
Contrary to all the bad news, people are still buying goods and services. The question today is where are the buyers? How do you get your product and service in front of them and then close them? People are more selective now and that is why it is critical that companies train their people how to activate and generate a sale--not just wait on one.
If someone had a lease reaching maturity they will have to buy a new car, recession or no recession. If they need a new roof on their house they are going to replace it or repair it regardless of the economy. The question today is how to find those people who are able and willing and in need of a purchase without the help of some unsustainable program. The days of businesses getting abundant opportunities and sales forces wasting them is over, or the business is over for some time.
Which business would you rather be, (a) last month was incredible and none of our transaction were stimulus money/programs, or (b) last month was great and most of it was stimulus money. Oh by the way in answer (b) the company is still waiting for their money from the government.
Companies today must start with their people learning how to generate opportunities not just waiting until they show up for the 'big sale'. Selling today literally starts with the creation of the opportunity in the first place. This requires a creative think about how to identify who is in need of your products or services, who is qualified to buy and how to get your product or service in front of them. You must: (1) break your dependence upon stimulus programs, (2) think outside the box and (3) become willing to do what your competition will not do, and, (4) learn a lost skill set.
If you find this article beneath you, somehow I assure you that you will experience hell in the market place for some time to come. The greatest need of companies today is to generate an opportunity and ring the register by making 'the sale'. For the 26m people that are unemployed the easiest place to get a job today is the very same place where companies need the most help - SALES.
Regardless of the product or service your company represents, real selling skills is the name of the game today. It is no longer gimmicks, incentives or government programs, and it isn't cost cutting. Make selling the number one priority of the CEO, the management team and all every person that works within the company. Whether you are in mortgages, real estate, autos, furniture, technology, financial planning, banking, accounting, law, advertising, consumer retail, health care, grocery or whatever, know that first and foremost your company depends on selling for its survival more than any other skills. Even if you make the best product in the world you will still have to activate someone to be interested in it and then sell that product in order to Survive in the market place.
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