No matter what the politicians (of either party) are saying, you and I know the economy is still down. We're starting to see some glimmers though - notice that the summer wasn't as bad as it might have been? Have you been getting some renewed interest in your product or service?
So what to do about it? How do you get your sales moving again?
If you're like almost every company or manager out there, your first instinct in the recession was to cut costs. "Less money coming in, so we need less money going out." By and large, that's not a bad strategy. However, there are two areas where you should have resisted the urge: Training and Marketing.
Both of these are substantial costs in your budget, and so they seem like likely targets for savings. Wrong. Training and marketing are the two areas that most impact your potential customer's perceptions of your firm. With customers being so choosy about where they spend their money, you simply can't afford to let their perception of you slide even a little bit. If they can't see you in the marketplace, or they are treated poorly by an under-trained representative, they'll go elsewhere. This causes your income to drop even more. At that point, the choice is usually made for even more cost cutting.
Pilots call this sort of thing a "death spiral."
The one bright light in this situation is that your competition probably made the same mistake. Their training and marketing efforts are shut down. They're annoying their customers, both current and potential. This makes for a grand opportunity for the smart company - your company - to radically improve your market share, perhaps permanently. Hard as it may seem, it's time to put some money back into training and marketing. Make your company shine. Any money spent in these areas now, in a 'down' economy, is much more effective than money spent in the good times, when all of your competitors are also shining brightly. By cutting their training and marketing, they've made themselves look bad. If you look good, how do you think that will affect your bottom line?
It's time to get moving again. It's time to grow.