Tuesday, June 9, 2009

How's Business?

How are sales? How's business? Are ya feelin' it? Seems the last few months everyone is asking me the same questions.

We serve over 3200 customers, and almost every day I hear stories from our sales staff. Customers we have had for years just close up shop and are out of business. We had a large customer let 800 staff go in one day. Or another had just expanded a year earlier to 3 floors in an office tower, but now only occupy less than one floor. The rent may actually put them under, since there are no sub-lease tenants wanting that much space. If our customers are hurting, they are not buying, and we feel it.

One positive the downturn in an economy brings to business is a chance to really examine your operations and get up close and personal with how it operates. We hired a business consultant in January and she has helped us really streamline operations. I have personally taken a very active role in sales and marketing, and the hands on experience in invaluable. So much so that I hired a Business Development Manager, and together we analyze new opportunities and underdeveloped customer segments. She gets me the appointments, and I close.

Prospects and customers seem to like that the owner is meeting them. I like it also, since I can move very quickly making offers, prices and decisions. Being on the front lines making presentations and visiting customers has been invaluable in directing the company through these turbulent times. As a team, we have opened 82 new accounts and some are Fortune 500 size. Sure, we have lost a few customers due to the recession, but won back just as many new ones.

Am I feelin' it? Yeah I am, and having more fun selling than ever.