When sales go down – what’s a job board to do?

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The best time to think about what to do when sales go down…is when sales are up.

Huh?

Consider this: when sales are up, you have better cash flow. You aren’t frantically trying to do something – anything – to generate sales. You don’t have creditors breathing down your neck (probably). And – most importantly – you’re thinking about the future, not worrying about whether or not you can make it through another week.

Most of you are seeing increasing sales right now. That’s good. Most of you went through some challenging times over the past two years. The fact that you survived is a big plus for you and your organization. But as you and I know, the world goes on, whether you’re paying attention or not. So now is the time to analyze your sales efforts and prepare for the day when your sales go down.

So let’s take a look at some steps you can take to prepare yourself for the (inevitable) day when sales don’t do what you expected them to:

  • Know where your sales come from: Do you track back all sales to their source? Most of us say we do, but we don’t. Even if you can’t manage this on an ongoing basis, take a certain time segment – say, 1-month samples at 3 different times in the year – and track every sale back to the source. You may be surprised by what you find.
  • Find out what your customers really think: Don’t send them a survey filled with slanted questions. Instead, give them plenty of chances to tell you what they think about your services. Is a salesperson annoying? You want to know. How about the effectiveness of your ATS integrations? The sexiness of your site? Believe me, it’s worth digging until you get the answers.
  • Who is really making the buying decision – and how does it happen?: Is your sales operation really just an ‘order-taking’ operation? Do you actually know who pulled the trigger on that last ‘buy’ decision? Do you know how they found out about you? What made them decide on you instead of ‘Brand X’? If you don’t know why your customer uses your job board, you’re screwed. And you have to know how the decision is made, or you’ll always be blindsided when they decide NOT to use you.
  • Always be expanding: If you’re not adding new sales prospects every day, you’re in trouble. Really. Okay, maybe you miss a day here and there – but on average, you should be adding a certain number of new leads to your pipeline all the time. How many? Depends on your site, your goals, and your resources.
  • Always be curious: No matter how good – or bad – it is, take some time out every week to poke around. Read TechCrunch or ERE or any of a hundred other sites that cover developments in the tech, recruiting, HR, and general world. You’re going to learn something – and if you pick up even 1 good idea a month, that increases your chances of creating a new revenue stream.

So, I hope your sales are up – and you’re getting ready for the next downturn!

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