In an economic slowdown, we sometimes prequalify that all of our customers are pulling back, waiting for things to improve, not interested, or don’t have the money now. Thinking in this way causes us to become paralyzed.

If you are already convinced that customers aren’t going to buy due to the current economic conditions, change your thinking to: "How can I help educate my customers now so when they are ready to buy they can make a more informed decision?"

I don’t buy into the premise that customers are not interested in your products and services simply because of tough economic times. I think it is a terrible mindset. But if you and your sales team are stuck in this nonproductive rut, resetting the mind from selling to educating can help you get out of it.

Here’s how the process goes:

• Make a list of all the products and services you provide.

• Alongside all products or services, create a value statement or a statement of benefit that will accrue to your customers who purchase them.

• Take the list of current customers—the best ones, who make up 80% of your sales—and cross-reference their purchases against all the products and services you offer.

• Ask your sales team members to sort the list and investigate the opportunity that may exist for these current customers to purchase more of what you offer.

Conducting a thorough analysis to uncover possible needs and asking permission to share information about your products and services can open the door to future sales. You might be surprised to find that in some cases the customer response is they were unaware of all that you currently provide.

Charlie Fewell President Charlie Fewell & Associates Memphis

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