Paul Cherry, founder and managing partner of Performance Based Results, shares 10 ways to stay in control when the market is anything but.

  1. Stay focused on your most profitable business. Are you doing everything you can for your clients? Ask what you need to do to be a better strategist for them, and reinforce the value you provide.
  2. Go deeper within your established accounts. Companies change because their staff changes, Cherry writes. As soon as you think you’ve gotten yourself entrenched within an account, start networking beyond your contacts.
  3. Be willing to relinquish and look beyond what you’re comfortable with.
  4. Go after the big fish. Cherry asks, “How comfortable are you in engaging your customers on solutions, rather than your product?” Instead of talking about your product, show what you can do for the client.
  5. When customers or prospects try to get you to come down on price, focus on value. Ask your customers and prospects how they define and determine real value, Cherry recommends. Other criteria will automatically come up, minimizing your chances of getting cornered on price.
  6. Don’t get too cozy with purchasing agents and buyers. “Remember, they get judged and rewarded for performance on getting the lowest price. A purchasing agent may be your best pal, but when it comes to business, you’re better off keeping them at a distance.”
  7. Stand up to “bullies,” even when they’re your customers. Some customers will cost you more in time and resources than they give back in business and profits. Confront your bullies, Cherry recommends, and if you can’t resolve your differences don’t accept their business.
  8. Streamline the use of your time. What do you do every day that someone else could handle? “Learn to say no nicely, or delegate it to someone else on your staff,” Cherry writes. “They just might enjoy learning a new skill or facing a fresh challenge.”
  9. Work smarter, not harder. “Stick by your commitments to yourself and your loved ones,” Cherry writes. “Call it a day at a humane, respectable time each and every day. When it comes to your work life, think of yourself as a farmer planting seeds: there’ll always be tomorrow to keep harvesting.”
  10. Don’t forget to recharge your emotional and creative batteries. Take the time to focus on your hobbies, without thinking about work. At all. You’ll come back to work with a new attitude, Cherry writes. And, as he reminds us, “there’s plenty of time, really; it’s just a matter of prioritizing.”

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