Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Year Five Of The Recession and Still No Demand

Year Five of this recession and there is no let up in the lack of demand. That is the problem for an ever-increasing number of growing independent service firms from accountants to book-keepers, from architects to product designers, from model-makers to homeopaths. 

All these service firms, along with everyone else, have the fundamental problem that there is simply not enough demand out there. Not enough to keep everyone happy.

So, what do the majority do?
Well, most work harder. Or rather, they keep themselves busy looking like they are working. Activity is not the same as business.

Why have sales crashed?
The primary reason for the sales crash is a slump in demand. But that is just the tip of the iceberg.

For many, the problem isn’t just the economy but what they are doing to get the sales.

Most service firm owners and directors work in their businesses. In essence they are vocational workers. With little experience of selling, these technicians find it difficult to make the sale in the best of times. But we are no longer in the best of times!

Along with poor sales skills comes a lack of understanding of the sales process.

Most service firms do not have the systems or processes in place to do the job properly.

They are simply not set up as a ‘sales machine’. Yes, they are set up for being great at what they do (do the accounts/book-keeping/architecture/product design/model-making/homeopathy for their clients) but they don’t really get how or what people buy or how to go about making those valuable sales.

Part of the problem is the upside down world that people seem to live in. And I am afraid that entire armies of marketing coaches and consultants have contributed to this.

Right now there is an absolute obsession with shiny things: LinkedIn, Twitter, FaceBook, Google Plus, squeeze pages, landing pages, Try Before You Buy. You get what I mean. All this technology and channels is fascinating stuff but often working at this level is like moving the deckchairs on the Titanic.

What is required is a focus on creating a product/service and an offer that is so compelling and seductive that it literally draws people towards it. Create something that solves their problem, hurt, need or want. Forget about what you want to do and what your narrow thinking has decided is possible and think only of what it is that would excite the client.

What is required is an entire re-think of what the customer wants and needs and how you can help them to achieve that. It is time to stop looking at the service from your own side of the desk and time to start to consider the offering entirely from the client’s point of view.

Take apart and re-assemble the service, thinking only of what would blow away the client. Then you might start to create something that might have some traction in the market.

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