Something for the weekend, sir

Not all businesses have suffered from declining sales during the pandemic; the owner of brands such as Dettol, Nurofen, Cillit Bank and Durex (Reckitt Benckiser) has just seen a 13% rise in sales in Q3, but it has become clear that after what some thought was a temporary adjustment before we returned to ‘business as usual’ isn’t going to happen anytime soon.

If the past six months has taught us anything it’s how quickly the consumer environment can change; the businesses that have responded fastest and adapted to the changes in demand will be the ones that survive.

As businesses get used to the reality of the new normal it is time for a fresh approach to their sales strategy. Here are some questions you may want to consider:

  1. What new customer needs can I address?

What are the issues that are driving the reduced use of your products or services? What problems does this give your customer? Which of these problems can you help them solve?

  1. How has my ideal customer profile changed?

This is an opportunity to re-think not only what you are selling but to whom and how you are selling it. Re-evaluate you customer avatar, clearly identify your ideal client – detailing the specific reasons they will choose you over your competitors – and get really clear about the issues that will drive customer decisions.

  1. How can I use my online presence to boost sales?

The shift to online was happening long before the pandemic but at a much slower rate; the pressure is now on for all businesses to improve their online offering. This isn’t just for online retailers either and nor does having an online presence necessarily mean investing thousands in a new website. Smaller businesses can leverage existing online platforms and marketplaces to sell their products.

  1. What if I don’t have a product people will buy online?

At the onset of the pandemic many businesses adapted by moving their sales interactions to video conferencing. But the real opportunity is to think about how to use these platforms to improve, not just sustain, the sales experience by creating value and differentiation with both prospects and customers to make the whole experience more compelling and identify new opportunities. Now is the time to design a sales experience that will help customers gain an insight into the challenges and opportunities created by the pandemic.

  1. How can I improve my customers’ experience?

The switch to remote working and virtual interactions provides opportunities to create a whole new customer experience. An Italian restaurant that started to deliver included a toilet roll branded with their logo with their take-out orders when they had an over-supply because they couldn’t serve in-house customers. And while you may not be able to meet a prospect in person, sending them a bag of gourmet coffee and scheduling a virtual meeting over a cup of coffee can recreate some of the physical interaction.

Facing the disruptions caused by Covid-19 will continue to be a challenge, but can provide opportunities for those businesses able to think differently and create a better sales experience.

Noel Guilford, Principal at Guilford Accounting
Noel Guilford is the principal of Guilford Accounting a small business accountancy practice specialising in advising owner-managed businesses on current accounting, finance, and tax matters. You can reach him via email at noel@guilfordaccounting.co.uk or by phone at 01244 660866. He is the author of the 'Figure it out - an entrepreneurs guide to understanding your business numbers' which you can obtain by visiting guilfordaccounting.co.uk.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ His latest book, How to Build a Successful Business' will be published in 2018.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *