Recession fighting strategy #6
Use low-cost "add-ons" to
generate additional revenue.
One way to generate some extra profitable business is to encourage clients or
customers to add on to-or expand-existing assignments or purchases.
For instance, if one of my copywriting clients is doing an ad on a new
product, chances are they need a press release also.
I can upgrade the total project fee by offering to do both jobs for a package
price. For instance, if my fee for the ad is $1,500, 1 may tell the client,
"You also should send out a press release to all the publications in the
field. I can write a press release while I do the ad for you; the additional
cost is only $500."
Frequently the client or customer will accept such a recommendation, and I get
an assignment that is $2,000 instead of $1,500. And it's easy to do the small
add-on project, since it uses the same basic background information and
material provided for the main assignment.
This is an easy income-booster. Using this technique, you can increase the
average dollar value of
each project 10 to 40 percent or more with virtually no extra sales
I often look for ways to add extra or ancillary assignments to the major
assignment. It's good for me-and good for my clients. I get more work They get
a more complete service. Try it!
Recession fighting strategy #7
Avoid being a prima donna.
Let's face it. When you're busy, in demand, an, have much more work than you
can handle, it's a great feeling. The tendency is to get a swelled head. My
advice is: don't. And why not? Because when things are slow-like now-it will
court back to haunt you.
Nobody likes a prima donna. You don't. And neither do your clients or
Now, you may put up with a contractor, doctor, or freelancer who's a
prima donna because you feel they are the best source of service ...and you
know they're so in demand that you need them more than they need you.
But you don't like it-in fact, you resent it-and you'll always be on the look
out for another supplier or professional to replace the prima donna.
Your customers feel the same way. And, when the situation reverses-when
things are slow for you, and the client or customer knows you need work from
them, but they don't need you-they'll take revenge. And you'll be out.
The solution? Always, always act like a pro-like a helpful friend and
consultant to your client or customer.
Be useful, courteous, and accessible. Don't be a snob or act high-handed.
If you give your clients or customers genuine reasons to like you, and you are
always helpful to them, they'll stick with you ...and that can make a big
difference in your life when things get slow.
Remember, in a depressed economy, continuous business from ongoing, current
clients or customers is what keeps you afloat.
Make sure you have that business when you need it tomorrow by acting
professionally and properly today.
Recession fighting strategy #8
Postpone any planned fee increases.
A recession, depression, business downturn, or soft economy is not the
appropriate time for you to increase your fees or prices-even if you feel you
deserve it and that a raise is long overdue.
During such a period, you should defer any planned fee increase
announcements until later, and instead keep your fees at their current levels.
Note: Don't announce to your customers and prospects that you are
"holding the line" on prices due to the recession and your desire to
help them through it. Remember, even though you are feeling the effects of a
soft economy, they may not be going through similar difficulties. Thus, your
announcement would clue them into the fact that you are in trouble ...and some
may take advantage of your perceived need of business by haggling on price
So leave your fee schedule as is and continue with business as usual.
Recession fighting strategy #9
Downgrade slightly your
acceptable client or customer profile.
You have a set of written or mental guidelines that determine which clients or
customers are desirable to you ...and which are not.
During a depressed economy or personal business downturn, you may want to be
more flexible in this area than you usually are.
For instance, if you normally do business with Fortune 500 companies only, you
may want to consider taking on assignments from smaller local firms
...provided the pay is decent and their credit rating is good.
Or, if you normally work only on major annual reports, you might consider
knocking out some small quarterly reports to generate needed revenue.
This doesn't mean you throw your standards out the window and work for anyone
who calls you. Far from it. Instead, you are simply readjusting your
acceptable client or customer criteria during this temporary lull to
accommodate a wider range of prospects and projects.
How far should you take this? It's up to you. If, for example, you normally
have a minimum project fee of $1,000, you might accept $500 assignments, but
you probably should stick by your guns and not take on $50 assignments.
Recession fighting strategy #10
Plan an aggressive
new-business marketing campaign.
This strategy has two parts to it.
The first part, which seems blatantly obvious, is that when things are slow,
you increase the percentage of your time spent on marketing and prospecting
for new business.
For instance, if you usually devote 10 percent of your time and energy to
marketing and sales when things are fairly busy, you might increase this to 25
percent when things are slow. During a lull in business, you need to make this
extra effort to attract clients or customers, follow up on leads, and close
The second part of the strategy may not be so obvious. It's this:
To prevent a lull in business from ever happening in the first place, you
should market consistently and aggressively all year long, every week-not just
when you need the business.
Planning an ongoing marketing campaign ensures a steady stream of new business
leads. Marketing done today begins a selling cycle that will result in new
business when you need it six months from now.
What types of marketing work best in a recession? Use a combination of
result-getting direct marketing (direct response print ads, sales letters,
self-mailers, postcard decks, special offers) plus low-cost/no-cost
visibility-enhancing publicity techniques (press releases, articles, speeches,
booklets, seminars, newsletters). Avoid costly "image-building"
marketing-such as large space ads, slick corporate brochures, expensive annual
reports, and other marketing communications that drain your budget without
producing measurable results.
Note: For specific recommendations on the combination of these
marketing techniques that will work best for your business, call me at (201)
Recession fighting strategy #11
Repackage your services
to accommodate smaller clients
or customers and reduced budgets.
When you're busy, there's a whole group of prospects you probably turn away
without a second thought.
These are companies that are too small (read: too under-budgeted) to afford
your product or service.
But when things are slow, it pays to look for ways to generate revenue from
this normally overlooked market segment.
This is best done by repackaging your service or product line to accommodate
smaller clients or customers and reduced budgets.
For instance, the client or customer who cannot afford to pay you $5,000 to
write his direct mail package can afford to pay you $400 to critique a
package he writes himself.
He can also afford to pay you $100 an hour for your consultation services,
take your full-day direct mail seminar for $200, or buy your book for $25.
Freelancers, consultants, and other service providers can repackage their
expertise and services in a variety of formats including hourly consultations
...critiques ...telephone consultations ...newsletters ...special reports
...booklets ...audio tapes ...instruction manuals ...books ...seminars ...etc.
Manufacturers and other product sellers can offer compact models, economy
sizes, no-frills versions, special discounts, payment plans, and smaller
These alternatives may not provide as complete a solution as the deluxe
package. But they give the smaller client or customer the help he needs at the
price he can afford.
When the big companies are not giving you the big orders at the big prices,
selling these alternatives to the less affluent segment of the market can put
lots of extra dollars in your pocket.
Recession fighting strategy #I2
Add value to your existing service.
In a recession or soft economy, clients or customers in all areas are more
concerned with price than ever before.
Actually, though, their real concern is making sure they get the best value
for their dollar.
You can win new accounts and retain existing clients or customers by enhancing
your service and providing your clients or customers with more value for their
For instance, if you are selling a commodity item, you could add value by
offering faster delivery than your competitors. Or a larger selection. Or more
colors. Or more options. Or easier payment terms. Or a better guarantee.
There is no need to "give away the store" and promise an excessive
amount of extra service. just a little extra effort or service on your part
will be perceived as a significant increase in value by the client or
The "extras" you provide need not take a lot of time or cost a lot
Always look for ways to give the client or customer not just their money's
worth but more than their money's worth. These "little
extras" always pay big dividends in client or customer goodwill and
ongoing future assignments.
Recession fighting strategy #13
Keep busy with ancillary assignments or accounts.
A slow period in your business is a good time to busy yourself with other
projects. Such as cleaning out your files. Developing a new marketing
strategy. Making technical improvements to an existing product or service.
Auditing your customer support procedures. Revising your standard proposal or
sales letter. Redesigning your slide presentation. Or any of a hundred things
that need doing but never get done.
Now you have the time. So do them.
Don't waste the extra time moping. Instead, put it to good use. Be productive.
Another strategy is to take on ancillary assignments to fill in gaps in your
work schedule. This keeps the money coming in until your regular business
picks up again.
For example, a carpenter who is normally busy with major home improvement
projects saw business fall off during the slowdown of the early 1990's. His
solution: Call old customers and offer to do odd jobs, small projects, and
general "handyman" work to generate income until he got calls to do
large remodeling jobs again.
Recession fighting strategy #14
The most important thing about a slow period is not to be depressed by it. If
you are depressed, prospects can sense your desperation and fear, and it has a
negative effect on your dealings with them.
Remember that everybody in business has slow times; those who say they
never do are liars. You are talented and successful. The lull is temporary.
People will call you and hire you again.
Don't despair, and don't give up too soon. It is possible to have 2, 3, even 4
or more slow months. But if you follow the 14 strategies outlined in this
booklet, you can turn things around and become busy and profitable once again.
Interested in helping your members or
salespeople sell more products and services?
For information on how your association or company can sponsor a workshop on
"Selling in a Recession" or a half-day or full-day training seminar
on "Effective Selling," contact me at the address below.
Sales Trainer to America's Service Industries™
22 East Quackenbush Ave., 3rd floor
Dumont, NJ 07628
phone (201) 385-1220 - fax (201) 385-1138
Bob Bly is an independent copywriter and consultant specializing in
business-to-business and direct marketing. He writes marketing plans, ads,
brochures, direct mail packages, sales letters, and publicity materials for
such clients as Associated Air Freight, Philadelphia National Bank, Value
Rent-A-Car, Timeplex, Grumman, Edith Roman Associates, and EBI Medical
Mr. Bly is the author of 20 books including How To Promote Your Own
Business, Direct Mail Profits, The Copywriter's Handbook, and Create
the Perfect Sales Piece. His articles have appeared in such publications
as Cosmopolitan, Chemical Engineering, Computer Decisions, Business
Marketing, New Jersey Monthly, Amtrak Express, and Direct Marketing.
Bob Bly has taught copywriting at New York University and has presented sales
and marketing seminars to numerous corporations, associations, and groups
including: the American Marketing Association, Business/ Professional
Advertising Association, Direct Marketing Creative Guild, Women's Direct
Response Group, American Chemical Society, Publicity Club of New York, and the
International Tile Exposition.
For more information, call or write:
Copywriter, Consultant and Seminar Leader
22 East Quackenbush Avenue, 3rd Floor, Dumont, NJ 07628
Phone (201) 385-1220, Fax (201) 385-1138
To the memory of Howard Shenson
Special thanks to David Martin, Irene Frankel,
Eve Blake, Fern Dickey, and Dr. Andrew Linick
Extra copies of this booklet are available as follows:
1 to 4 copies $7.00 each
5 to 24 copies 6.45 each
25 to 49 copies 5.95 each
50 to 99 copies 5.35 each
100 to 199 copies 4.60 each
200 to 499 copies 3.85 each
500 or more copies 2.95 each
Copyright ®1990 by Bob Bly
Reproduction of any portion of this booklet is
permitted for individual use if credit is given to Bob Bly. Systematic or
multiple reproduction or distribution of any part of this booklet or inclusion
in publications for sale is permitted only with prior written permission.