To paraphrase the words to Patti LaBelle’s song New Attitude, our economy has been “runnin’ hot, runnin’ cold, runnin’ into overload that’s so extreme…it went so high, so low…so low, that there’s no where to go, like a bad dream.” From the over-exuberance of the dot-com era to the shock following 9-11, through the real estate boom of ’80s, we have all experienced the ups and downs of our economy, stock markets and housing.
Patti continues, “Somehow the wires uncrossed, the tables were turned, never knew I had such a lesson to learn.” Well, I do believe that we have all learned a tough, tough lesson.
Now, how do we get out of this?
We need leadership. We need to be leaders.
On the national front, we have a new President. With the passage of the economic stimulus package by the new administration, we are likely to see a substantial change in his rhetoric that will return to being more positive and optimistic. That, in and of itself, is good. We need a change in attitude that takes over for the stagnant and depressed moods that have fallen on American consumers as a result of the banking collapse, the mortgage crisis and the rapid growth in unemployment.
Up until signing the stimulus package into law, President Obama could blame the problems of the U.S. economy on the Bush administration and the Republicans. Now that the first stimulus package has been assembled, this economy is his and he must do all he can to turn it around. That includes boosting attitudes and improving morale. Now I don’t expect that the stimulus alone will fix everything. In fact, I think there is much more to be done. This is just the beginning.
We need a recovery of spirit and innovation. Just like Patti, we must “tidy up our point of view.” We must “feel good from our head to our shoes, know where we’re going and know what to do.” We’ve got to get a new attitude. We must change for good. It may be new clothes, new car or new ideas, but we need to be good consumers and good business leaders.
Here are six steps to boost your attitude, increase your sales and build business in this crisis economy.
•Check your own negativity! Put a smile on your face. Keep your chin up. You’re a team leader and your team’s taking your cue. Focus on what can be done, not what can’t be done. Take the focus off you and concentrate on how you can serve your customer to help them be more successful.
•Perform a company reality check! How are you being affected? How are your customers performing? Look at where you are and assess it objectively. Once you do, you’ll be less likely to act out of fear, which usually leads to bad decisions, and more likely to act strategically.
•Document your successes! Remind yourselves and your customers what works and how it works. Gather examples and testimonials. Demonstrate return-on-investment and remember that there are many different returns.
•Find those winners! Certain customers and niches can make out like bandits in a recession. How can you be helpful to them? At the same time, take care of your weaker customers, hold their hands; get innovative with them. New ideas spawn new opportunities.
•Put your money where your mouth is! Keep communicating. Stay out front. Show your customers how you can help them. Don’t clam up and wait for business to come to you.
•Increase your commitment to sales and customer service! Keep making offers. Do whatever you can to keep, maintain and build your customer base. Now is the time to beat your competition and gain market share.
A recession is a terrible thing to waste! It won’t last forever. Take advantage of the opportunities that you can create with your customers and clients. Build your business. You’ll be even stronger as the recovery takes shape.