Dear NAWBO Chicago Members,
I hope you’re enjoying the weather – Autumn has officially begun! The change of seasons coincides with a new fiscal quarter, which is when I typically review prior quarters and think about what may lie ahead. And when times are challenging and unpredictable, it’s time to focus on revenue streams…So we’re talking about Sales this month (which we hope may answer some questions and alleviate some concerns).
We’re months into the slowdown, facing new challenges with legitimate concerns about the economy. In its escalating fight to contain rampant inflationary pressure, the Federal Reserve just increased the fed funds rate by another 75 basis points – with more rate increases to come – in hopes of a brief and relatively painless “soft landing” on the other side (around this same time next year).
For some, an extended period of uncertainty dictates that they scrimp and save to make it thru the rough patch; for others, it might be a good time to consider expansion or acquisitions to boost current revenues and really accelerate growth when the economy eventually begins to improve.
That’s why this is a time to “know your numbers” and be smart about money. How much do you need to pay the bills and stay ahead this quarter and next? Where will revenues come from if you lose a client or two during an economic downturn? How do you increase sales to avoid these issues if the economy worsens in the coming months?
Despite the evidence that there’s a recession knocking at our door, I say, “I am not going!” And the best way I know to avoid problems during a downturn is to make sure your sales pipeline is consistently growing. Expand the sales funnel and boost your prospecting efforts by attending networking events, reaching out to existing customers for referrals, and by telling everyone you meet why you are so passionate about your work.
Sales is an endless and evolving process, and you never know where or when your next client is going to appear. So, get in front of people. If you and your staff can implement these activities and utilize the following additional tips, it may help to increase sales and improve your bottom line:
- Lean on your peers and learn from their successes. Reach out to other NAWBO members and/or attend a NAWBO event to learn what others are doing to maintain a consistent pipeline of new business
- Make sure your contact management program is current and that you’re connecting with existing customers on a human-to-human level
- Touch base with clients to see in what other ways you might be of service. Get feedback and use it to make the improvements that will grow your business
- I mentioned that now is a great time to attend and participate in NAWBO events, as well as other trade associations and general networking events. Review your elevator pitch to ensure it reflects your company’s current goals; consider adding some accomplishments or benchmarks to freshen it up and reflect the passion of what you do.
Remember that sales is a continuous process, and one component of the sales process is rejection. No matter how many times you’ve heard “no thank you” from prospective clients, all of that rejection gets you one step closer to a “YES!” So, keep doing whatever it takes to expand your sales funnel and keep pushing past the rejection until you close the deal. Wash, rinse, repeat and you won’t have to worry too much about economic uncertainties or where to find your next dollar of revenue.
By the way, make sure you have applied for the federal Employee Retention Tax Credit (presuming you meet the qualifications) from the CARES Act. It could be worth thousands of dollars in government covid funding to your bank account within a few weeks, so don’t delay! If unsure about your eligibility, take a $99.00 assessment with Angie Knoll, Founder of Reconciled Solutions, to learn if you are able, and how to apply for this program to claim what is legally yours before the program expires.
Wishing you a great month ahead filled with success.