Growing Your Business in the “New Normal”


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If you don’t want to become a sales dinosaur, check out today’s article by Rick Pulito, VP of Sales at BI Worldwide.

 Someone (I don’t know who) once said, “Success is not spontaneous combustion… you have to set yourself on fire.” Wow. What an intense visual, and so apt for the economy as we move into this new decade.

Recently, I delivered a presentation entitled, “Building Your Business In A Down Economy”.  While things are improving on certain levels,
the economy remains mired in record unemployment and under-employment (lagging indicators) and remarkable volatility (witness the equity market, which moves up and down in fits and starts, while seeming to  trend in a positive direction).

Consumer purchasing and confidence levels are slow to move, and there is much hyperbole around the future state of the US  economy, as our country sinks deeper into debt.

With all that said, I’d like to share some of the salient points around how you and I, individually, might adapt to the realities of the marketplace. Essentially, there are 5 elements, and conveniently, they all begin with the letter “R”…

1. Reach
You need to be in more places (sometimes all at once) than ever before. Decisions are made at higher levels, sometimes requiring buy-in by the CEO or COO where historically funding could occur at a lower level of the organization. This upward migration requires that you be willing and able to carry an effective conversation at the senior executive level.

For some, this means a crash course in strategic thinking, finance and a broader viewpoint in how business decisions are made. Are you competent to shift your focus from product or solution “features and benefits” to a meaningful dialog around driving business results? If not, you should consider some sort of personal change. Truly, this is a time to “grow or die” if you are in Business Development.

2. Relevance
Your customers’ definition of relevance has moved from where it was a year or two ago. The economy has accentuated that “not every good idea is a good idea”.  For some companies, operating in a survival mode, what was a necessity two years ago may  be an unaffordable luxury today. If you can’t bring more value, more results, more efficiently and perhaps be willing to work on a “pay for performance” basis, your client may be on a permanent hiatus.

3. Relationships
More than ever, your customers must view you as trustworthy, reliable, and consistent. There are too many solutions chasing too few dollars. Your  credibility means looking out for them (both personally and as organizationally). Your future success is riding on your ability to deliver to,or beyond, your customers’ expectations. Now is not the time to cut a corner or over-promise.   

4. Resilience (or Resolve, you pick)
Plan on every decision taking longer, requiring higher-level acceptance, with more involvement than ever by Corporate Sourcing (Procurement) and margin pressure. Nothing will be easy. For most companies, there is no “silver bullet” that will help them to turn up sales or profitability. You need to aggressively network, getting in front of everyone who can share insight or become a coach for you. Give away as much of yourself as you can. You will need to access as many “side doors” as possible to get to the decision (and the decision maker).

5. Results
The only thing your customers really care about. Forget about your products or your services or your integrated solution or your applications or your patents…Nobody cares. Trust me. Not one person has the time or the inclination to hear what you have to say, unless your conversation is linked to a critical outcome that they must achieve. It’s not personal. It’s business.

Each of the factors above could easily become a focus of more in-depth discussion and analysis. For now, I would offer up that you consider how (and who) you are targeting, what your core message is, and the rationale as to why you or your company are critical to the success of your customers.

It’s been said that the internet has rendered many salespeople obsolete, as there is so much information and product/service availability online. Unless you are willing to exist in a world where commoditization will eventually lead to your very role being sacrificed at the altar of efficiency, you must redefine your value proposition.

One thing is certain: The past is long gone, and it isn’t coming back. You can assume that your competition is not standing still. In fact, looking ahead a year or two, you may not even know who your competition is going to be. It’s time. Grow or die. You pick.

Rick Pulito is the Vice President of Sales at BI Worldwide. He’s been in the field of promotional marketing, sales, and business development for, as he says, a long time.

Additionally, he writes the Ideationz blog (the source of today’s article) in the hope that creativity and innovation would find one more outlet on the web. He loves to kick people out of their comfort zone.

Republished with author's permission from original post.


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