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How to Thrive in Q409: A Sales Rep's Manifesto
There are still sales to be made in the last quarter of 2009 here are some tips on how to earn them.
Holiday shopping has already started. I’ve had three stores this week report shoppers making holiday purchases. They all heard the same thing:
*we’re buying a little each month until Christmas for budgeting purposes.
*we’re buying things when we see them, instead of waiting and coming back to buy.
So, what does that mean for sales reps?
Basically we’ve got 72 days to button up this bad boy. Yep. You read it right: 72 days until Friday, December 11th.
Why December 11th? Because that really is the last day to have merchandise ship ground from suppliers in time for Christmas arrival and stores really shouldn’t be receiving merchandise from anyone past this date.
I anticipate orders being slow and steady over the next two months. We’re not going to see the Christmas spike we’re accustomed to. Instead, expect $200 orders every 3 weeks between now and mid-December. The numbers will shake out in the end, but getting there will be different this year.
So, how are you going to live to sell another day?
Here’s your checklist:
* Identify and contact your top 50 accounts today. Talk to them about a Q4 buying and inventory maintenance strategy. Work with them to pick out the items they want to keep in stock until the last minute. Encourage them to write orders now with future ship dates to help space out their ordering. Ask your manufacturers to reserve the inventory for these orders to insure the items don't sell out.
*If your manufacturers don’t provide you with weekly inventories of what’s out of stock, ask for it! Reps need to be in the loop this year more than ever. Keep your customers informed about what they can expect to arrive. Also, by knowing what’s sold out, you can make alternate suggestions to keep YOUR products in the store…and not the crap from the competition. Yes, this might require a little more attention to detail than you’re used to but someone is gonna get the commission and it might as well be you.
*Highly discourage shipments/deliveries after December 11th. I know your accounts are gonna gripe about how they’ve sold out of such and such and they’re gonna die without it. They want a last minute, emergency, 9-1-1 order. Don’t let them. Yep, I said it. Don’t let them flush their profits by paying for 3-Day Air. You need that store open in January. Help them see that their store is already full of other stuff that they should clear out.
*Get ready to work harder than you have all year! It all comes down to this, baby. Are you going to give the recession a big Wha-Tah! or are you going to crawl under a rock until spring? Take this weekend to get organized and form your plan of attack. Get lots of sleep and buy some vitamins 'cuz you're gonna wrangle, think, and hustle your ass off for the next 72 days.
You are not alone.
I know you’re tired. I know you’re feeling like you’ve been through a meat grinder this year and you don’t have anything left to give. Believe me, I understand. I feel it too. But, dig deep on this one. Hang in there and don't give up now. The thaw is coming for real this time. Showing up now will pay off later.
Remember: This is America and in the end, we go shopping. That means someone is going to make the sale today. There's no reason why it can't be you.
Happy Cha-Ching Christmas to all!
Learn more about the author, Meryl Hooker.
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