Step one:

Acknowledge that business is NOT the way it used to be

Step two:

Be willing to accept it and change.

Seems pretty simple, doesn’t it?

But as simple as those steps are, it’s amazing how many businesses will die by one of the most easily overcome obstacles: ego.

There are countless business owners that could have easily turned their businesses around if they only realized that what used to work in the past may not work as well any more. And for those of you that work for someone else in a sales capacity that means you, too. Realtors; insurance sales; independent contractors of all sorts, you must be willing to adapt or die.

There are many points that I could share of what has changed and what to do, but let’s keep it simple and keep it to just three:

  1. The “old way” of selling no longer works. By “old way” I mean the top heavy closing techniques that have been taught over the past two decades. Sure, there are plenty of tie-downs and open-ended & closed ended questions you could employ and they can always be used, but today business is based more on one thing that is more important than ever before: relationships. If you think in terms of what you can offer instead of what you can gain, you will be well ahead. Work on building that relationship, that trust, and you will close more sales.
  2. Brand and customer loyalty is weaker than ever before. At one time customers and consumers were loyal to their brand, supplier or professional of choice, but in this hyper-competitive world that is less so. Will someone drop their favorite product to save a few dollars? Could a coupon or unique marketing promo sway your customers away from you? Absolutely. Stay up with the times and with new marketing methods and tools.
  3. On-line shopping and competitive pricing will not go away. Period. If you sell a retail product to the consumer, give them a way to purchase from you on line. If you provide a service, be sure you have a compelling web site that is geared towards customer service. Having a web presence is not a luxury any more.

The bottom line is that the world has changed, and never as quickly and radically as it has in the past decade or two. It will continue changing just as much, at an even more frantic pace. It’s fine to think that we run our businesses in the “old fashioned” way and that is fine- if that is your competitive position. But if old fashioned means that you are not keeping up with the times you may soon find yourself left in the dark.

Be willing to seek help. There is no lack of organizations and professionals to help you find your way. If your business plan is more than 12 months old, make it your commitment to update it for this pending new year.