“We are seeing more order cancellations than this time last year.”
Corporate buyers are more timid.
“We are required to give our customers three days to rescind; now nearly half are doing it.”
Buyer’s remorse is on the upswing.
“Our customers have started requiring multiple approvals of every PO.”
Executive oversight is increasing.
“Our best, loyal customers are asking to renegotiate.”
Price pressures are flowing up the supply chain. Everyone is expected to participate.
These are some of the recent comments from clients and potential clients. Are you having similar experiences?
There may be other reasons why some of these organizations are struggling. But the uptick in the number of incidents individually and universally deserves some attention.
4Q19 is cloudy; consider concentrating on filling your pipeline as full as possible during August and September. Here are some ideas:
- REFERRALS are the best leads. How many times are your salespeople asking your existing customers for referrals? The best time to ask, by the way, is when a customer first buys from you.
- COMPENSATION can be adjusted to favor having qualified or genuine leads in your pipeline. You can use a SPIFF, a contest or decide if it is time to rewrite your compensation program. (There are too many options for changing your comp plan to list here.) You can do it now without waiting for the end of the year. After all, commerce does not start over on January 1; why should your sales programs?
- WHO ELSE & WHAT ELSE? are the questions CSOs, SVPs, Managers need to be asking themselves regularly. Sales professionals need to be asking these same questions when engaging their existing clients. The “What else?” question can uncover new applications and uses for your products and services. That can lead to more entries in your pipeline and more referrals.
Expect some leakage. Prepare for it by having your pipeline as full as possible by the end of 3Q19.
Special Program for SMBs
For the month of September, I will be offering a few slots for a “Back-To-Schooling” SMB Course.
Here are the details:
- Your revenues cannot exceed $20,000,000
- Maximum of ten participants
- A full day of sales training and development
- Up to ten computer-generated sales development plans
- One hour per month of telephone consulting until EOY 2019
- $5,000 plus I will ask for a negotiated override, one you and I agree upon, for 4Q sales not already in your pipeline on 9/30/19.
- Includes ALL TRAVEL, materials and follow-up. Everything.
If you are interested, email me and I will do an initial needs analysis. If I think I can help, we can chat. – Chuck
Yes, I know. I’m showing you how to fill your pipeline even though it could mean less return for me. Remember what the “H” in P.L.U.S.H. stands for.
Updated content from a recent newsletter:
You have about 60 critical days to see if your organization will pass or fail this year’s “sales course”. Do you want your final grade to be 100? Or, will just getting by at 70% be okay?
The prognosticators that we trust are the ones who use sophisticated data bases and not anecdotal indicators. They are showing a general slowing in the fourth quarter followed by more significant stagnation in key sectors in 1Q20. The largest hits will be in the EU and that will have a more significant impact on domestic-only businesses than might be seen on the surface. Inflation will rear its head again due to weather-related food price increases. Diminished crop production will also impact raw material costs in numerous categories.
This is why we have been stressing doing any anticipated price increases now. There will be stiff resistance to any value-based sales propositions as the year ends. Maintaining your price points will be tougher; raising them may be a non-starter.
Small-to-Medium Businesses are already feeling the pinch; are they the canaries in the coal mine?
Small-to-Medium Businesses are taking the first hit. Larger corporations with deeper benches and reserves may see their numbers softening. We’ve had numerous inquiries from SMBs whose margins were thin and are getting thinner. Regrettably, bringing in the necessary resources to manage their sales situation can be beyond their budgets, especially when the principals are forgoing their salaries.