Our clients are showing us another side of the nation’s tarnished economic coin, and this side is brighter. They’re finding productive ways to make use of this downturn to keep their companies moving up.

What does that bright side look like? To us, it looks like opportunity.

Opportunity #1: Standing Out from Your Competition. While their competition is circling the wagons, some of our clients are stepping up their sales and marketing efforts. They’re doing this to sell more, yes, but it means that they believe other businesses are buying. In fact, a recent survey of small businesses showed that 22 percent are “countercyclical and thriving” (www.barrymoltz.com). Could these companies be good prospects for your business? It’s well worth your while to identify them. We’ve helped hundreds of companies identify new prospects that turn into major customers.

Opportunity #2: Making the Most of Free Consulting. Most marketing consulting firms, including ours, will not charge for a first meeting. If they take a truly consultative approach, as we do, you might well learn something that impacts your marketing results. We often help companies find productive options they couldn’t see themselves. To cast this net effectively, find consultants who can work on your challenges with several tools. We offer some 30 different marketing and sales solutions. Our task is to help you determine which, if any, make sense for your needs.

Opportunity #3: Training Your Sales People, Even on a Budget. Hold a marketing breakfast or a “lunch and learn” with your business development folks. An outside speaker or facilitator can re-focus attention on growth, offer an energizing change of pace, and generate momentum. These brief programs can reinforce what your people already know or rev them up with new insights. Customized programs address the objectives and challenges your group is facing at the moment. We’ve used this method with our clients for years in good times and bad.

At one law firm, for example, 20 attorneys who have taken our FOCIS® Sales Process Development course are putting it to work in the field. One-hour “lunch and learns” we conduct address their current business development challenges, practically in real time. Their growing consultative selling skills are also reinforced. During two-hour workshops, associates at the firm are introduced to the concepts and techniques of consultative selling. Each program is brief and inexpensive and should lead to new business.

Opportunity #4: Whipping Your Marketing Database into Shape. If your people have time on their hands, make “important but not urgent” tasks priorities. For example, are your lists less productive than they used to be? Do you normally not have the time to keep them profitable, whether by maintaining current contact information or by acquiring new names? We’ve helped many firms improve response by taking a day or two to review their database needs, identifying weaknesses and strengths and recommending processes that pay benefits for years. Plus, a simple, short-term calling program can fill the gaps in your database and enrich it with new, revenue-building insights.

Opportunity #5: Revamping Your Website Content. If you launched your website three or four years ago, it’s probably “due for review,” especially its content. Keep in mind that audiences expect more from websites now than they did in the past. Does your site communicate what your company is doing today? Is traffic stagnant or declining? Are you looking for updated white papers, new promotional offerings, and more productive incentives? You don’t need to redesign your site to refresh it. Content can be rewritten to be more contemporary and to take into account new search engine criteria. In slower times with less business activity, you and your team can review, rethink, and retool if needed. For example, a challenge we’re helping two clients address right now is older content that’s too broad to satisfy the more varied and knowledgeable audiences they are now targeting.

Listen hard enough, and you can probably hear new opportunity knocking, even as a familiar door is closing. If you need support, just let us know.


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