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Throw ‘em a bone

No doubt, these are tough economic times, and many of your regular customers may not be doing as much business from you as in the past. In fact, those same customers may be asking for concessions from you such as lower prices, easier financing terms or a variety of bundling options. Some of your customers’ demands could appear unreasonable – or unprofitable – for you, so you may have to say “No,” and that’s okay. If there’s mutual trust between you and your regular customers, they will understand there’s a limit to your generosity. However, instead of responding to your customers with what you can’t do, try to offer some solutions about what you can do. I call it, “Throwing them a bone.” For example, you may have some options that are low-cost to you but have a high perceived value for the customer. Adding those in to a proposal in place of a price cut demonstrates your sincere desire to help and could produce the win-win scenario that helps both sides. Every salesperson and business faces hard times; however, history tells us those hard times will pass. Your customers may not remember everything you said or did for them in the past, but they will remember how you made them feel about doing business with you.