Selling Today: What’s Working.

I posted a question on Linked In this week that I thought you would be interested in. here are a sampling of the answers.

Question posted: What changes do you notice in buyer behaviour in the “new economy”? How are you selling differently now than you were last year?

A sample of the answers:

(1) More and more buyers are turning to the Internet for their first round of learning about products and services. In the new economy social media and networks are strongly influencing buying behaviors. – Vince

(2) Spending has basically ground to a halt. You cannot sell something to a market that has zero interest in buying — nor the ability to pay for it anyway. So unless you have an essential must-have product or service, your sales are going to be way down. And if it is a must-have, then people will buy it without any sales pitch. The only exceptions will be a few products that the affluent always will buy, but even they are cutting back because they have been slammed by the stock market. – Frank

(3) My business continues to be driven by customers demands for added technology, but this year customers have also added a new dimension – they have developed a significant price sensitivity and prefer shorter-term contracts over long-term contracts. To counter this:

We have reduced up-front development costs for our customers. And if they sign a long-term contract we eliminate the upfront costs completely. We have added new methods of communication and technology on our listing service websites including blogging capability, enhanced lead tracking and 3D flyover mapping with no additional charge to the customer. We are also offering more and bigger discounts to those who participate in our listing services.  – Dave

(4) In a bit of a catch 22, I find that people are still spending, but are definitely trying to slow down the payment process. I’m seeing a lot of people doing anything they can to stretch invoice payments out as long as possible. – Ryan

(5) Based on retail sales patterns, it seems consumers in general have become more price sensitive. Evidence of this is in the financial results of discount retailers. According to the Wall Street Journal “Upscale retailers like Abercrombie have been feeling the pain more than lower-end stores, which are showing the best overall strength.” For example:

  • Walmart announced third quarter earning today, which were UP 9.8%. Same-store sales increased 2.7% in Walmarts and 4.5% in Sams stores.
  • BJ’s Wholesale Club (BJ) increased sales 6.6% (excluding gasoline sales)
  • Abercrombie & Fitch Co.’s (ANF) 20% decline
  • Saks Inc. (SKS) declined 17%

In other words, consumers are getting “back to basics,” cutting back on luxury items and paying more attention to prices. – Bobette

(6) I agree, Price is the major driver these days. However, there is another area, coupled with price that should not be overlooked. Customers have always looked for added value from companies, which is just good business. However, not all companies have incorporated added value into their business model. Given the economic landscape, I believe it plays a huge role in every one’s decision making process when choosing to hire or buy from one company over another or even decide what restaurant to frequent even though many people have reduced or stopped eating out. Whether it is it is in the form of enhanced customer/personalized service, a complimentary item with purchase, etc., it is something that companies need to address in their financial meetings if they want to make a sale and capitalized on word of mouth potential. – Laney

What do you think?


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