There’s a Bit of GM in All of Us
Watching the news last night and this morning, I couldn’t help but think that there’s a bit of GM in all of us. But you don’t have to go into bankruptcy to turn things around and take advantage of opportunities emerging from the economic turmoil. Let’s take a brief look at both GM’s issues and three opportunities arising out of the current economy.
If I were to ask you how is your business or the business you work in like GM – what would you say? See which of these GM characteristics stick:
1. Maintaining practices from the past that no longer make money or sense in today’s market.
2. Developing and selling product for the short term gain, not the long term market opportunity.
3. Hubris about thinking you know everything about the market, your customer, the products they need, they products they want…
4. A lack of information systems that would help you make early course corrections, instead of late responses.
I find myself thinking that some parts of the above four traits are true in every business. It makes you think, doesn’t it? Actually it makes me a bit of uncomfortable, feeling like I better stay late and clean up some of that stuff.
While you’re thinking about getting things done and what needs cleaning up, consider making a course correcting reinvention to capitalize on what for many, is an unrecognized opportunity in today’s market. That opportunity has to do with selling to customers.
Today’s economy represent three sales re-invention opportunities if you’re paying attention. Here they are in brief:
1. Reinvent your value-add proposition.
Your customer no longer has the same conversation in their head when it comes to buying your products or services as they did 9 months ago. Have you changed your approach, your sales and marketing material, your website? If you haven’t updated your approach, your marketing language, your appeal… you’re most likely out of date and losing money that is otherwise available. Reinvent your language to prospects and customers to match the drivers for their product search in today’s language and values. Let me give you one example:
2. Reinvent what you deliver or how you deliver a solution in a way that provides increased comfort for your customer.
When anxiety and stress is present, and we all have a lot of that to digest, your customer’s needs change. Needs that determine or shape how and on what terms they want your solution. Some of the areas that typically change as anxiety goes up are: how much contact your customer wants, how much trust they want you to develop for them, how much they want guarantees, and for you to promise that the solution will be low risk, e.g. simple or easy.
3. Reinvent how and where you find new customers.
There are less customers in the usual places. You need to look for customers in new places. While you’re looking, notice that there are also less competitors. If you have competitors leaving the market place, that means they will have customers who will be released or abandoned. Customers that you should be contacting and courting. Make sure hunting for new customers at your competitors’ site is one of your new strategies.
That’s just one way to find new customers, but in many industries, its a very timely and productive business development process. Ultimately to find new customers, you need to look for customers in new ways. So get busy reinventing your search for, and courting of relationships with, customers.
Today’s news about GM and its slide into bankruptcy provides some challenging questions for all businesses. While you are thinking about how to avoid GM’s consequences, consider three opportunities to re-invent your sales process… so you don’t end up looking like one of the characters in the book, Who Moved My Cheese.