Adapt or Die – You Choose!
Times have changed and so must you. The marketplace has become tougher with competitors getting smarter and customers increasingly nastier. How do you survive in such brutal environment? Can the best practices of the past save you? Let’s explore …
>> Adapt or die
We must all adapt. Change is so rapid these days that if you are not adapting to change, you will be out of business faster than a blink of an eye. Darwin says it best, “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.” Another saying by big time CEO, Jack Welch, “Change is occurring at a much faster pace than most organisations are reacting to it.”
The truth is the bigger you are, the less adaptable you are. History has numerous cases of small armies overthrowing their much bigger opponents because of their speed and unconventional tactics. They are quicker to adapt (have no choice). And a lot of times, it takes “no choice” situations to motivate us to change.
Sometimes it’s not like we don’t see it. Floppy disk manufacturers see the compact disks, but they don’t care. Kodak and Fuji are leaders in film that didn’t care about the digital camera technology. Google has literally killed many printed directories. Being in denial that things are great or things are would feed our ego fully but this comes with a heavy price.
You know what happens when we don’t adapt? Think of big, smelly, arrogant creatures… that once ruled the earth. Because dinosaurs didn’t adapt to their changing environment, they are now in museums.
>> Sleep and eat well
Of course this is not too sophisticated… but it’s important . In tough times, most people are unduly worried so much so they are filled with anxiety. They open up the newspapers and are fed with countless possibilities of a prolonged economic crisis on a global scale. As a result, many business people tend to lose. In Canada, sales of two product sales actually went up – alcohol and chocolates. This is not surprising as people are resorting to alcohol to lower their stress and chocolates – which stimulates serotonin – to remain cheerful.
But the truth is if we sleep well, we would wake up filled with energy and zest to fight any battle ahead of us.
>> Invest in personal development
During great times, you don’t have the time, I understand. You were busy counting money. There is no need to improve on both the mindset and ‘skillset’. But now is the best time. I did a seminar for about 100 sales people from a very large company. They were complaining about difficulties in securing prospects, closing the sale or simply feeling motivated. While I’m on stage, I asked them… “Yes, times are tough but they would never last so long as you are tougher. So how many of you for the past 30 days have read a book on sales or motivation?”
How many of the participants raised their hand? Only one did – the boss himself. When times are tough, people read the newspaper for more bankrupt cases, scandals and bailouts … and they expect to feed the mind with nutrition? If we feed ourselves with junk food every single day, we would only jeopardise our health. Likewise, in the case of feeding our mind with too much bad news – mental junk food – we may begin to start believing that we, too, may sooner or later be affected by the economic gloom.
I’m not suggesting you should cease to get yourself updated with the latest developments on the economic front but do so with an open mind. In between, help yourself to good books, attend a good seminar/training or get an audio CD on motivation.
Launch new products for current customers. If you have loyal customers whom you enjoy cordial relationship with, I suggest you offer them new products. You can also target new markets. Maybe the current market is saturated. Maybe they are dead, so create a new market. Penetrate a different market segment.
If your current customers are facing cash flow issues and your company is cash rich, why not offer them payment plans to ease their money issues? As for your vendors, they may be struggling to stay afloat (and maybe so are you). So why not re-negotiate your terms with them – see if you can work out a win/win deal with them so they still get your business and in return, you can expect a better deal.
Think of new value and ideas for your current customers. I’ve been talking about this for years – retailers don’t collect and utilise their database effectively. And right now, I’m saying, create new value for your customers by helping them grow their business if you are a B-2-B (business to business) seller or help them in their lives if you are B-2-C (business to consumer) seller. It’s like a friend helping us by giving us useful ideas.
Spend more time with prospects. Ideally, spend more time with your competitor’s best customers. This is the best time to convert them to yours because your competitor may not be able to serve them at the highest level. People will only switch if there is a perceived problem. But don’t forget to guard your best customers. Your competitors may be eyeing them, too.
A lot of people have forgotten the art and science of selling. During good times, you are surrounded by buyers that you don’t really need a lot of skill to convert prospects into customers. But now, it takes great salesmanship to seal a deal, not forgetting the tones of rejections and objections you are likely to come across. You must be tough to take it. Your mind needs to be strong and your skills need to be sharpened. Adapt or die. You choose.
Until then, to more sales… with less effort!
Sales Ninja Grandmaster
// Adapt or Die – You Choose!
// By Hanzo Ng, Sales Ninja Grandmaster
Hanzo Ng is Sales Ninja Grandmaster, lingo for Chief Trainer of Sales Ninja Training, Asia’s #1 Unconventional Sales Training. Sales Ninja Training specializes in helping small-medium, listed and global companies transform their sales people into the ultimate sales professional known as Sales Ninja. For more information on our sales, motivation and leadership trainings, visit our website.
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