How to Sell With No Customers During An Economic Crisis?

Every business faced a situation at least once, where customers are resisting to choose your products or services due to market conditions. Foreseeing a backdrop beyond operations and market demand maybe possible. But finding solutions at such chaos isn’t easy, sometimes impossible.

For the past year, every business around the world has experienced something unexpected. While pharmaceuticals and hygiene products had the highest demand from sellers to manufacturers, simple items like clothing and jewellery shops saw  a drop in their sales, often in zero numbers. This brought us the question, “How do we manage things, if such external conditions were to impact our business in future despite the team working hard?”

What is an Economic Crisis? 

In large corporations, the impact of the economy on sales is calculated to forecast sales of the company. According to Investopedia, “An economic collapse is a breakdown of a national, regional, or territorial economy that typically follows a time of crisis. An economic collapse occurs at the onset of a severe version of an economic contraction, depression, or recession and can last any number of years depending on the severity of the circumstances.”

Most times, when one market is hit hard, the neighboring economy backs up its resources and plans accordingly. The main concern arises when you are in the market that was first hit due to an economic crisis. It could be due to weather changes, war-conflict between countries or spread of an unknown disease.

When such an economic crisis arises, usually the government first steps up and attempts to lessen the damage on the economy. During the economic crisis and post- economic crisis are tough phases within a company.

The great depression, in the United States,  in the 1930s is taken as an example even now. The popular movie, The Big short, shows how the housing crisis in the United states impacted the general public, the banks and housing markets. It clearly demonstrates how the common man and local businesses went down involving complex matters related to mortgages.

The economic crisis can be limited to one market downtime or can involve multiple market downtime. There is no perfect solution on how to deal with them within a company. However, there are different approaches you can consider which could keep up the survival of the corporation.

What is expected of you from the public? 

In the view of the public, a company or an organization is a place with a lot of power and potential. It doesn’t matter if you are having profits or losses, during an economic crisis everyone is expected to be human. Best way is to get involved with the public through social media in an interactive form. If possible, try to get involved in the situation.

Like, last year Amazon released a statement saying their delivery men were being treated with importance by keeping them sanitised and healthy. Though, later the situation involved many controversies. Such kind of empathy from organisations who supported their employees gained public trust.

Gaining trust is one of the first most important tasks to sell your products/services. Either locally or internationally, showing your concern and contributing to the crisis is beneficial in many ways. A local vendor distributing his left out vegetables to the poor during a pandemic is acknowledged by his neighbourhood community. Such local vendors are most likely to get more customers tomorrow, than the other vendors who weren’t much considerate while throwing away the left out half-spoilt vegetables.

In fact, organisations have more scope to sell locally during a crisis than internationally. Society pays attention to little details in times of need.

How to gain customers when there is no market? 

By the end of the day, the main question is always, how to get customers when no one is willing to buy your products to save their money. Until your company is involved in selling basic utilities, the profit box is left high and dry. 

  • There is always a market

If your company was doing well before the crisis, it means people need your product. There is need. Don’t deny the fact that there are customers who would really like to get your product, but are unable to.

Furthermore, even luxury goods like gold jewellery were much needed last year when pandemic was at its peak. 

  • Deliver the right way

When there is a market crisis, the factors stopping from customers are either high prices, or unable to travel. E-commerce for your business could be a choice your customers prefer. In case the issue relies with prices, expanding your product options from a low-quality product with lower price to a high-quality product with a different price is one way some businesses approach to get more customers.

Having options makes it possible for purchasers to choose the cheapest and have a sense of satisfaction that they spent less. Try to apply this theory in different possible ways depending on how your company functions. 

  • Marketing campaigns

Despite following the above mentioned strategies, it is possible to have customer resistance. Before planning a marketing strategy in the time of crisis, it is crucial to analyse the existing problems. Prioritise the main issue, which when solved can bring you customers.

Marketing campaigns don’t have to be complicated. You can choose to do an online campaign or an offline one involving local customers. Interact, know problems faced by customers, apologise if needed, and convey the message that you are willing to improve so they get the best quality service. As there is a market crisis, convey your concerns on existing troubles faced by the public, and if applicable show-case what you are going to do for the public as a part of social work.

It has additional costs, not every organization can afford everything. Hence, some prefer to educate people through sessions, webinars, live telecast, or a community get-together. StoneSoup, a Bangalore based start-up, is one such example where the company sells sustainable women period care products. They conduct live sessions on education using safer women’s period care products.

The idea is not just to earn profits

The idea of gaining customers when there are none isn’t limited to fill up cash boxes and leave. It is about building a brand name, it is about making sure that people know that your company cares and is willing to go further miles for the sake of society. Investing your time and money in social issues would bring you money in the long run. It can be by gaining loyal customers, who are willing to spend regularly or tell their friends and family.

In the end, running a business is about making profits, paying your employees and making it work. Over-doing charity work can also ruin your strategy to deal with an economic crisis should have a balance.

References

 

Meghana Kandra

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