Any salesman who has been in the game for any amount of time knows what it’s like to see a decline in sales. A sales forecast is projected in advance using data, experience, and educated guessing. This sets the standard for your business over the next 1–5 years, creating vision and a sound strategy. Business plans give you a point of reference when you or your employees are losing focus. However, considering slumps in sales is an integral part of any strategic business planning, especially with the current unsteady economy. Looking at the bigger picture and thinking ahead is a key to success, and these tools can help you anticipate a decline in sales:
1. Specify the volume of sales. For example, how many 2 liter bottles of soda do you sell? What is the value of each sale? Knowing the volume of your sales and when they tend to fluctuate will increase your ability to predict decline. This is also a great way to be realistic in your goals. You are not simply thinking up a target figure and doing whatever you can to achieve it. Wishful thinking is a common error and most often results in a pitfall.
2. Consult your sales associates. If you are not the one who is spending face-to-face time with those who are doing business with you, consult those who are. They probably have a good idea of what your customers are thinking. Get your sales people to give their opinions on the goals you’ve set. This guarantees a realistic anticipation of sales or lack thereof.
3. Get counsel. The greatest advice you’ll find is that of someone like a senior accountant, who has more experience in the industry and knows the tendencies of the business you’re in. Preparing for sales declines is a part of any seasoned businessman’s plan for sustained success. Sound counsel from the wise is an essential element of preparing for hardship.
4. Get innovative. An ice cream shop owner, for example, could serve crepes and hot chocolate during the winter months when no one is buying ice cream. Creativity is a great gift in preparing for sales declines, and will keep you afloat in times when businesses are sinking.
These ways of preparing for sales decline put you in control of your own fate. Times of feasting present an opportunity to prepare for famine. These tools allow you to take responsibility for your company by focusing on the goal.
Are you properly planning for a decline in sales?