On October 11th, we introduced the idea that Winning in a Down Economy does not start with blindly cutting costs. Instead we outlined a strategy for 'tuning in' that market leaders have adopted. In the ten weeks that follow, we're covering the ten steps to getting your organization aligned quickly to a new market reality. This post is the seventh of ten. Steps 7-9 address the action plans you can take to create a quick win and better alignment to your market.
Step 7: Launch a Practical Upgrade to Your Base
"The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others." - Mohandas K. Gandhi
With your new roadmap in hand, it's time to start generating some quick wins that can get you and your organization back into the game with a different perspective. Tuned In leaders have found that the best place to start in a down economy is with the group of buyers you know best and have the best relationship with ... your existing customers.
Opening up new conversations with the individuals or businesses that have purchased the most from you in the past is your fast path to stabilization of business in this market. One word of caution before your launch. The conversations you need to have will have many aspects to them but to be successful, you should align them to the four principles that Tuned In leaders follow:
- They aim high in the organization.
- They're authentic and aligned to the realities of today's market.
- They introduce new value that is relevant.
- They focus on services.
Going 'narrow and deep' with services in an area that you are already competent is the most effective for you to gain a quick win with existing customers. These service should not be designed principally as profit generators but rather as incremental value that serves the dual purpose of creating a new experience for your customers in today's context and increasing their loyalty towards you during these tough times.
Customers who find that their vendors care about them in these times increase their trust of the company serving them. This alignment makes them much more likely to be receptive to the offers to upgrade or add-on solutions in the coming year. Most importantly, you will have changed the conversation from a transaction-based to solution-based.
In a down economy, it's the low-cost solution provider that wins. Since your customers have already (typically) made the big investment in you, your service add-ons can become your competitive edge.