The title statement really is true, isn’t it. The health of your business is a reflection of the health of your customers’ businesses.
So, gulp, how are your customers reacting to today’s economy? The more important question, really: If their attitudes are changing, and they probably are, what are you doing to stay a step ahead–to stay relevant? Before you spend any more of your budget, make sure what you’re telling your prospects and how you’re telling them (your marketing message and methods) have changed along with their current state of mind.
If your message is wrong you’ll shoot blanks. Never mind the bigger ads, additional website traffic, larger mailings, whatever, you spend money on. Once you get your message right, then take a look at what needs boosting or changing, then put your budget behind a campaign that connects.
I’ve been through my share of booms and busts over the past 25 years. I’m a bit like the doctor who doesn’t get too excited about your broken leg because he’s seen lots of them and, after all, it’s not his leg that’s broken!
We can help you sort out your options and get moving forward, quickly. I’ve learned a few important lessons when things get tough:
You’re always better off acting sooner than later. The changes you make are always for the better. Every client I’ve been with through tough times has felt the changes we made made their business fundamentally better.
The first thing you should look to is your message. Things slow down when your customers start buying for different reasons. If your message isn’t changing with the reasons customers buy. . .well then. . .they start buying from companies that give them reasons that make more sense. Sound familiar from page one? It should, it’s that important.
The changes you make on your own often don’t go far enough. “But we did this, this and this, and sales have continued to slide.” I hear that a lot. Without an outside, objective opinion, most changes are nudges when pushes are required to generate results.
Who else is buying what you sell? There are always customer types that sort of just found you that you’ve never paid much attention to. Trust me, they can become your new best friends!
You may need to fundamentally change your value proposition. No client I’ve ever worked with willingly embraces this because it’s hard. But it’s always, always worth it. Before you say oh, we couldn’t do that, understand it’s rare when you can’t do something that changes and improves your value proposition.
People still buy what you sell. Maybe not as many are buying right now and, while most are likely buying for different reasons, people still buy what you sell. So the question is how are you going to adjust?
I’m not a doom-sayer. I’m not an “I choose not to participate in the recession” type guy either. Folks, it is what it is. I first wrote about “a changing economy” in December of 2007 offering that “things are tougher now than 18 months ago.” And they were. And things will likely get tougher than they are now. Well, I say again, folks, it is what it is. We all need to get over it and start now, not later, look to your message first before you start spending money, guard against making too small a change and be open to changing your value proposition.