Overcoming a Drop in Sales

How to sidestep the inevitable drop-in-sales rut

A decline in sales can happen to any business, and for many different reasons. Fortunately, there are ways to conquer this business hardship. The first rule of thumb: Don’t ignore it or wait for the turnaround to happen on its own — it’s too hard to predict when that could be.

First, identify the reason for the decline. Then follow these simple steps to get business back up and running.


Problem: People want discounts.

Solution: While dropping the prices of what you’re offering seems to be the easiest way to fix the issue of frugal customers, it’s not always the best. Sometimes, reducing prices means that customers will only buy the items if the prices remain that way. What you can do is to evaluate what you’re selling and come up with a way to add more value to it — and then you can keep the price the same. You’ll up your sales revenue, and likely have returning customers since they may realize they’re getting the most out of their money.


Problem: Staff is struggling.

Solution: Are your sales people not doing their job up to par? What if there’s no time to hire new staff? Utilize top performers and have them train some of the laggers.


Problem: Your customers don’t trust you yet.

Solution: Typically, when you have new customers, or if you’re a new/not well-known business, potential clients may not trust you fully yet, but gaining that trust is one of the most crucial ways you’ll make sales. “The trust that a customer has in your company and in you strongly outweighs the techniques you use to sell.

Establishing trust is better than any sales technique,” says Mike Puglia, vice president of marketing at TimeTrade. It’s important to grow your relationships with your buyers. Relate with them (instead of always trying to persuade), and cater to their specific needs. Everyone is different, so what works on one customer may not necessarily work on the other.


Problem: The economy is down.

Solution: Re-evaluate your sales tactics and focus on what’s in your control, instead of what’s not.

“A down economy is a good time to review your sales process to improve its effectiveness,” explains Rob Hartnett, sales coach and founder of consultancy Selling Strategies.

Problem: Your customers are dissatisfied.

Solution: “Sales professionals will talk in depth about features and functionality without considering what really matters to their customers,” explains Dustin Grosse, CMO at DocuSign. “You must take a few steps back and look at your product or service positioning from your customer’s perspective.” Re-evaluate who your audience is, and what they’re looking for. Send out polls and questions on social media platforms or e-mail a survey, which can help you understand even more just what it is your customers are seeking.


Problem: You’re not even sure what the problem is.

Solution: Hold regular meetings, monthly or weekly, to discuss everyone’s sales performance. “Look at the numbers to decide what you have to do. If you need X amount of revenue, then look at what your average sale is, and out of that ask how many sales you need to make each year, how many prospects do you need to talk to for sales and ask how many people you need to contact,” advises Sue Barrett, head of sales consulting group Barrett. In addition, another way to figure out problems is to try acting out real-life scenarios. That way, you can clearly see where the problem lies and it can be easily established and the team can work together to establish a proper solution.

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