Thursday, May 1, 2008
Selling During a Recession,
Dealing with the Rising Cost of Gas,
Work-Friendly Computer Usage
Selling During a Recession
The possible recession and declining dollar will no doubt affect an organization’s bottom line. These factors can challenge even the most seasoned sales executive. Rather than letting the “state of the economy” impact your sales volume…use it to your advantage.
If your customer is concerned about spending and cutbacks and is not interested in buying during these uncertain times, offer solutions.
Obviously, agree with them. There is no doubt that these times are uncertain and even downright scary! Do not tell them there is no recession and not to worry, that would destroy your credibility. Instead, offer support and find a way to reach common ground. Perhaps there are agreements that your company has in place with suppliers that guarantee a price for a certain period of time. Explain that to your customer and help them to see that now would be the time to buy before the agreement expires and the price increases. After all, they will eventually need the product, recession or not.
Also, if there is a cancellation policy, let them know. Perhaps they have up to 48 hours prior to shipping that they can cancel. That way, if the unforeseen happens, they still have the option to cancel.
Offer products that are manufactured in the U.S.A. This way, the customer feels “less guilty” about the purchase. At least they are supporting the economy and helping give it a boost.
Some more obvious tactics include finding a customer who is using a different company and offer them a more competitive price on the product. And no matter what, be sure to keep the relationship going even if the customer decides not to buy for a while. Even a phone call can make the difference between a future purchase and no purchase at all. Also, improve your service and be the best salesperson you can be. Do not let anything slip through the cracks and know everything there is to know about the product you are selling.
Finally, brush up on your sales skills and be creative! Look for ways to make the partnership work. Find loops and cracks that will need to be filled by selling during this tough market, even if it means taking a different approach or trying something new.
Dealing with the Rising Costs of Gas
Gas prices continue to rise to record highs as oil continues to rise upward. Mid-March estimates approximated $3.365 a gallon. Higher gasoline grades reached over $4.00 in parts of California and Hawaii. Consumers are paying, on average, 56 cents more than they did the previous year according to www.foxnews.com. And, there does not seem to be a light at the end of the tunnel any time soon.
AAA fuel price analyst Geoff Sundstrom states, “We do think prices, particularly for self-serve regular, are going to continue to go up." Part of the reason analysts believe gasoline prices will continue to rise is due to the increase in drivers during summer months coupled with refineries converting to more expensive summer-grade fuel. At this point, it is not clear how high prices will go as some drivers may cut back due to prices.
Even those who do not use commercial gas will feel the pinch. This is due in part to the rise in cost of transportation grade fuel, which affects the cost of goods. School systems must cut back on teacher’s salaries and extra curricular activities in order to fill up the school buses.
So what can the average consumer do about rising gas prices? For starters, whenever you change your oil, be sure to have the filter checked. A clogged filter can cause the engine of your car to work harder, thus using more gasoline. Consumer Savvy Tips, an organization dedicated to finding cutting edge tips to help save money, also suggests filling up at least three days before holidays and when the temperatures are at their lowest, due to gas density. This helps get more “bang for your buck.”
Finally, take off more slowly and follow the lead of truckers by going slower during these high price times. Peeling out and speeding will only put more pressure on your engine to produce, hence needing more gas. And don’t forget about public transportation and car-pooling. These old tricks have always helped during gas crisis. Say patient, and eventually the prices will come down.
Work-Friendly Computer Usage
It is true, Big Brother is watching. And, yes, your computer can get you fired. In this ever-increasing technological culture, there can be confusion over what is and is not work appropriate computer use.
Each company should have a policy or set of rules on computer use. Be sure to ask for a copy of this policy and know it inside and out. For most jobs, there is no way to avoid computer use on the job. So, be sure to keep updated on the rules. Here are some basic guidelines that most corporations employ:
Bloggers Beware: Even if you don’t identify yourself or your company, having strong opinions that don’t reflect well on your employer can get you fired. The bottom line is this; if you wish to blog, keep your opinions non-offensive and try to keep an open mind. If you need to express a strong opinion on a subject, try calling a close, non-work friend to get things off your chest.
No Pictures: Do not share pictures at work, unless they are related to the content of your job. For example, the person in the cubicle next to you wants to share personal pictures, just tell the person that you are busy and will look later. Take time after work hours on your own home computer to look at the pictures. And, absolutely no content which may be offensive to anyone.
Games, Games, Games: If your company prohibits use of games during work hours, do not play them. This may seem obvious, but more than enough people have been terminated for using company property (i.e. your computer) to play Solitaire during their lunch break.
Internet Overuse: Obviously, limit personal Internet use at work. Better yet, do not use the Internet at all for personal use while on the job. If you must, be sure to get permission from your supervisor or senior management.
Following these simple guidelines can help to avoid a messy termination. Employers are primarily concerned with legal liability and profit. Basically, if a company can be held legally responsible for an employee’s actions or if those actions prevent the company from making money, this can result in job loss. Keep this in mind at all times and when in doubt, ask your superiors.