Smart things to do when sales are down

Regardless of the type of business you own or manage, from time to time, sales will tank.

Unless you’re selling a seasonal product the reason for this slowdown might be:

  • Market changes
  • Dated products
  • Poor marketing

or any one of a number of other factors. Notwithstanding the reason, here are some things you should consider.

Ask yourself – are my sales figures telling the whole story?

Obviously you’ve got to keep track of the numbers. But you also have to be objective, level headed and analytical when you make judgments on your numbers. Comparing them on a week on week basis may not necessarily be that smart. Fluctuations in the short term happen. What could be more useful for you is to view them on a longer-term basis.

You might see a sudden dip in one or two particular weeks that might cause you sleepless nights but if a long view is showing you’re on a healthy trend, give yourself a pat on the back and simply look into those weeks where the figures are down to find out why.

Check out your competitors.

Two good things you can achieve from keeping an eye on your competitors are a benchmark for your business and better ability to judge if the downturn is also affecting them

If your competitors are selling similar merchandise and doing better than you, it’ll tell you, you need to make improvements fast. Incidentally, it won’t hurt to look out for new competitors too. A new kid on the block introducing great items at low, attractive prices may be causing that dip in your sales.

Invest in your staff.

If your staff have downtime due to lower sales make use of the time to increase training. You don’t need to worry about adding new costs. Create in-house learning programs. Walk them through the stock area and help them build stronger product knowledge. Over lunch, you could talk about a new selling technique, skill or idea. There are tons of free training resources in the Internet. Take advantage of them.

Improve your website.

When potential buyers want to know about products, services or companies, the first thing they do is search online. Having a great website provides you an opportunity to give the best first impression among prospects. It’ll take time to organise an effective, interesting website and developing content, images and blogs. Ask your friends if they find your site easy to navigate and what else they would like to know.

Work on your business.

In other words, take care of all those things you failed to do when you were so tied up with selling your products or services or simply managing your business. Do a general business housekeeping and cleaning. Check your procedures and processes and make sure they’re working at top efficiency. Touch base with your accountant and update him or her of changes since the last time you met. Ask their opinion – they see other businesses like yours.

These are all pretty basic but every business needs a check-up from time to time.

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