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Practice Management > Building Your Business

Best practices for growth in a recession - or anytime

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Joanne Black, author of “No More Cold Calling,” offers 10 tips that can help you grow your business, even in a recession.

  1. Reinvent yourself. Determine how you can create a leap in demand for your products and services. Build new alliances and consider alternate distribution channels. Don’t go solo. Listen to advisors and get input and creative ideas from others, especially those with differing points of view.
  2. Approach your business as an innovator. You’ll never have all the facts. Be fearless and make tough choices. Create new uses for your products. Develop a new business model if necessary.
  3. Dazzle your current customers. Your current customers need care and feeding. Don’t ignore them at the expense of new business. They are your best source for new business.
  4. Prioritize wisely. The most important activity for any salesperson is to do what’s “closest to cash” first every day. It may be following up with a prospect, writing a proposal, or closing a deal.
  5. Become an expert. Companies hire experts because they can’t afford to make mistakes. Position your company as a credible expert with a specific product or market niche. This leads to referrals.
  6. Stay connected. Networking leads to referrals. Attend a minimum of one event a week. You never know who you will meet and what you will learn. Never let your network go down. Networking is an essential referral marketing activity.
  7. Call people. Talk to people and find out how you can help them. Ask engaging questions about their business and how the fiscal crisis is impacting them. Don’t e-mail; pick up the phone and have a robust conversation.
  8. Increase value. Avoid cutting your prices with the myth that prospects can’t afford you. Instead, consider how to “get in and get started.” Break your proposal into smaller chunks, get results, and create traction. Or, give more value. When you offer high-value products and services, people will refer you and you will get more sales, even in a recession.
  9. Commit to building your referral business. Referrals are meaningful, especially in a slow economy. Tell and show your clients just how much you appreciate their business. Inform them that you’d like to help people just like them.
  10. Say “thank you.” Even though the holidays are over, you can still give a gift. Call your clients and ask how you can help them. You can offer to do a conference call, webinar, or meet in person. No strings attached.