These are the best of times, the worst of times
To many, the headline of this month''s column rings true.
It depends on your perspective; how much are you affected by things you cannot control?
The economy is hitting record lows, people are losing jobs and credit is tighter than anyone can ever remember.
However, people are still growing their companies as if nothing has changed at all.
How is this possible?
Companies that are currently growing simply refuse to be affected by things they cannot control.
The overall economy is not something we can control; our own economy, however, is easily controllable.
Our business plan cannot be abandoned because Wall Street is reporting record declines.
If anything, our business plan needs to be more strictly adhered to in these times.
Our marketing, advertising and sales plans need to be adjusted to be more aggressive than usual.
Most people believe that in tough economic times the response is to cut back our costs and wait out the low part of the cycle.
These people believe that business will return to normal levels after the pendulum swings back to a less troubling picture.
In fact, the opposite is true.
The sales force needs to hit at higher levels and be more visible than usual.
Remembering to fulfill goals
That being said, we need to adjust the message while we are visible.
If we just put out the same message more often, we may not end up meeting our goals.
Belief in managing the message to reflect the economic downturn is a necessary adjustment to capture the attention of the potential client.
Pretending nothing is wrong could make clients wonder if you are from this world.
But, using current events as a way to explain why it is important to stay the course could not only help us make our goals, but could also help clients make their goals.
A positive message of responsibility and forward thinking is a great way to foster a relationship and calm clients'' nervous or anxious feelings.
Staying the course in difficult times is also an effective way of showing leadership abilities.
Leading in tough times
Good leaders are never panicked, edgy or worried so much that it shows.
Instead, they use the energy of the situation to cultivate a calm demeanor which rises above the stormy waters.
Difficult times are no match for a company that has advanced this leadership profile by remembering that sales and marketing are cyclical.
Throughout human history there have been good times and bad times; this will never change.
The leading company has planned for the tough times by promoting strong relationships in good times.
Additionally, work smarter in the difficult times to send a message of tranquil leadership and calmness.
Use the time now to look at your relationship development program and adjust the system to allow for these factors.
Begin that process now without delay.
Use current events to open conversations on how your company can be the solution to the panic or concern.
John F. Kennedy once said, "The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining."
However, preparation is key; during cold, rainy days, at least assess the damage so you will be ready when the sun finally does come out, because you know it will.
If you are looking for different ideas to foster these types of relationships with clients, contact me. Dane Gregory is a business consultant and trainer specializing in working with companies in the professional cleaning industry. He currently trains technicians in the use of cleaning protocols for stone, tile and masonry surfaces for IICRC Certification. He also presents a business opportunity for newcomers in the cleaning industry in the care of ceramic tile, stone and grout with a full equipment and training package. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or www.tilecarebusiness.com.