Over the years I have observed and experienced a marketing phenomenon that seems almost spooky, but it works time and time again. Maybe some day quantum science will explain it, but at the moment you may have to simply take a small leap of faith, or at least believe in the examples if not the explanation. This phenomenon is the highs and lows in business that comes from energy highs and lows.
While on the face of things it is obvious that when you are tired and therefore lack energy you are less likely to work hard at prospecting and thus your sales will decline. But consider this, what if I said you could simply increase the efforts you are putting towards the marketing of your business and you will see growth, but not necessarily from those people that you are promoting your business to! Said another way, you can increase your growth by simply increasing the energy expended on marketing or 'you will reap what you sow'.
I understand that this sounds a little 'out there' in terms of a non-scientifically proven theory, but let us look at some real life examples.
In Store Retail Sales
The staff members arrive in the store a little tired, but after the first cup of coffee get onto putting out new stock and laying up window displays, etc. Just when they are at their busiest the shop fills up with customers. Everybody works hard selling products and gets tired. The store slowly empties out and they are all left exhausted. The store manager sends some off to morning tea and the remaining staff members do a quick tidy-up.
After morning tea everyone is re-energised and back into getting the new stock priced and on the shelves. There is another big influx of customers and the same cycle as above plays out.
The 'gentle' store manager sees that his staff are tired and helps them take numerous breaks and to not work too hard. The shop does ok, but on wet gloomy days and days when all the staff are tired the turnover is low. This is especially true during winter months, so the manager says that they have seasonal lows during winter.
The 'tough' store manager runs his staff members ragged day after day and never gives them a break. The staff moral is low and so are the sales.
The 'savvy' store manager gives his staff ample breaks to keep them energised, but teaches them about this energy phenomenon and gives them a commission on sales to incentivise them to keep their energy high. He shows them that even when they are tired if they increase their work rate (e.g. simply shift stock from one side of the store to the other) that the store's energy is increased and so are sales. Every month they have a new reason for why customers should come for a 'fresh look' - i.e. a start of season, mid season and end of season promotion. This store never has a down time and sales increase year upon year.
Sounds far fetched? I have worked in just such a store and spent years seeing successful retailers use this method to grow their business.
Service (trade or professional), Manufacturing or Wholesale Based Company Sales
The sales in a service type of company are measured in weeks or months, not hours or days as in a retail shop. The same cycles apply, but are stretched out over a year and are shown by high and low months.
For the 'typical' management the highs and lows have a rough pattern and the disparities are put down to the changing economic climate. When the economy takes a nose dive the call to 'batten down the hatches' is put out and all 'unnecessary' expenditure is cancelled - usually starting with marketing. A sense of doom and gloom pervades the company and, what do you know, sales decline!
The 'savvy' management team takes a different approach. They ignore economic indicators and are constantly focused on expansion and growth. Their staff management approach is to incentivise everything and to tie incentives to effort or enthusiasm as well as to outcomes. People are encouraged in personal growth and given the necessary time to deal with family and health issues. When the economy falls into recession - or close to it - the company goes into overdrive. Everyone talks of 'taking advantage' of the present situation and more money than ever is spent on marketing. The company's growth rate is phenomenal and when the economy recovers they have established themselves as the brand leader in their field and have the systems, staff and financial 'war chest' capable of taking maximum advantage of the 'boom times'.
This is exactly how the leading brands in the world today were created. Many of them became established during the great depression of the 1930's and most of them have used economic down turns to gain even greater market share.
Recently I have heard a number of clients talk about 'battening down the hatches' to ride out the bad times ahead. I sympathise with the sentiment, but decided to prove my theory by attempting to turn our lowest month around by simply applying the same principles as outlined above - i.e. increasing the energy being put into marketing during that period. The figures have come in and we have seen an increase of 600% in that one month alone! Not bad considering that our type of product and service is meant to be the first to be put on 'the back burner' during an economic recession.
So, now it is up to you: are you going to 'batten down the hatches' or let the good times roll!
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