RSVP "no" to the recession of 2009
By Brian Summers
It is said that commission sales is recession-proof. While I do not agree with that statement, I do believe that our industry enables us to make choices that can allow us to thrive in today's economy.
First and foremost we are going to stick with the bread-and-butter accounts. The bread-and-butter accounts are the companies that employ anywhere from two to 49 employees. This target allows us to close accounts faster. It is my experience that these accounts -- especially the smaller ones in this category -- are often the most ignored, and therefore, those are the ones that need the most help now.
Today, they need to know the different types of benefits that are available, and they need someone who is going to keep them informed about the changes to COBRA and other services, such as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
We are going to work closely with fellow salespeople and brokers to refer accounts. I am not talking about networking -- I want to and will work more closely with brokers and other service-related salespeople to refer their product. If it can help my clients, then I want them to know about it.
More than ever, we need to be there for our clients. If there is a service that can help our clients and we do not make them aware of it, then someone else will. This economy means that we all need to work harder to service our clients and work even harder to obtain new business.
I do not want a bailout! I want to work hard to develop multiple streams of income that will allow my business to flourish in today's economy. And, I want to work with other people who recognize the need to adapt to the needs of our clients.
This all begins by listening to our clients. What do they want? How is the economy affecting their business? What do they need? The days of telling our clients that they need to implement a new strategy or benefit plans are over -- the time has come for them to direct us.
In Jeffrey Gitomer's book, Little Platinum Book of Cha-Ching, he states the following:
"How much talking does the prospective customer do when you and he meet? The answer is in DIRECT PROPORTION to a sale being made. If the prospect talks 20 percent of the time, you have a 20 percent chance of making the sale. If you have taken an interest in them, they will take an interest in you."
Our clients need our help in a monumental and historic way. I am not going to be a part of the recession but part of a solution. Find people you want to work with -- find other vendors, other salespeople -- and bring a solution to your clients.
P.S. My first article of the year focused on resolutions. I am happy to report that I am still sticking to my resolutions:
- Since January 10th I have lost 20 pounds.
- Recently I fired a new employee. She was a distraction in the office. I recently took my employees to dinner and most of them actually thanked me for terminating her. It turned out she was a very negative presence in the office. The "weight" of a negative and distracting employee promotes a negative image that everyone can see.
- In terms of getting a better job, I have promoted one employee. This employee had just returned from maternity leave and was surprised to learn we were offering her a promotion.