Credit Sales in a Soft Economy
Business development and sales in a soft or uncertain marketplace can be very difficult. Your sales team can get desperate for new customers. Sometimes it’s almost like they are like one-eyed dogs in a butcher shop – everything (prospect) looks good. Not only is this a waste of time for all concerned, but further deteriorates staff morale.
In this article, we will explore how your credit staff or outsourced credit management team can help your company to seek out and close profitable orders at much higher margins than traditional new business development processes.
Focus on Current Customers
Instead of looking outside to add new clients, ask your sales and credit professionals to look inward at existing customers. Challenge them to segment your customer base and use credit sales to boost sales to existing customers. Encourage your credit managers to go on the road and visit customers with your sales staff. Elicit customer feedback by asking questions to confirm if your sales and credit processes could be amended to help your customer build their business.
Remind your sales and credit teams to innovate and make recommendations for new product or service offerings based upon their customer site visits. Look for ways to upsell and cross-sell your clients to maximize dollars per order. And finally – don’t forget to ask your customers for referrals. If your credit staff found a unique way to help a customer buy from you then that is a success story worth telling! Get testimonials, wherever possible, and have your customers tell the story for you.
Add Value to Existing Products and Services
In a slow or uncertain market, every dollar counts. Tap your credit and finance team to help your sales staff develop a compelling return on investment or ROI story which clearly demonstrates to customers that buying from you is creating maximum possible returns for your customer. A reminder here, it isn’t always about the money. Speed, accuracy, and quality of your service or product offering may be more important. Having a slow or antiquated process of credit holds and authorizations could be catastrophic for your client.
Reactivate Old Leads and Dormant Customers
Ask your credit team to collaborate with sales and examine old leads and customers who haven’t purchased from you in a while. Some quick due diligence will uncover the credit quality of these prospects and old customers. In these situations, we recommend a deeper conversation with old customers. Perhaps your risk tolerance has changed along with market conditions, or you may be willing to accept more risk than before.
And finally, you might want to consider customers that were not previously on your sales radar. Prospects that are smaller, or have reduced budgets should be examined more closely for opportunities. You may be the one supplier that took a risk with a smaller customer at a time when no one else would. As you help this customer grow, they will remember who gave then the break they needed. What a great story that would make!