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How To Beat a Recession

You cannot control the world economy. But you can control what you can do in your fencing business during a recession.

Bottom line: There are things you can—and must—do to overcome recession. If there is a bright spot in this economic mess, it is that many business owners learned some valuable lessons about staying afloat during the last recession.

They learned these lessons the hard way during the havoc of what is often called The Great Recession just a decade ago.

It is time to review some of those lessons in order for you to be prepared to lead your fencing business through this crisis. Let’s examine some “rules” to follow to get sales

during and after a recession.


Rule: Do not stop marketing

This is the worst thing you can do. Someone once said, “When times are good you should advertise. When times are bad you must advertise.” No, you probably will not want to spend as much as you have in the past. But you will most definitely want to

continue your momentum and trajectory. Do not close up shop, hibernate, and wait for the recession to end.


Rule: Maintain your market share

You are not the only fencing company going through the recession. All fencing companies suffer. Do what you can to maintain your share. When you cut back on your ad spending, your brand loses its “share of mind” with consumers, with the

potential of losing current—and possibly future—sales. During a recession, homeowners still spend money. Maybe not as much, but they do buy. And they buy from those fencing companies that are advertising. In fact, many savvy homeowners

are looking for opportunities right now from fencing companies like yours.


Rule: Be prepared for the end of the recession

Recessions end. They always do. And then after a recession, the economy improves.

Do you want some good news? Although it may appear dark now, those fencing

companies that maintained or even grew their ad spending during a recession showed an increase in sales and market share during the recession and beyond. Let me emphasize. We realize your natural inclination may be to cut back on advertising during a recession. However, those fencing companies that maintained their ad budget and continued to advertise got a long-lasting boost in sales and market share.


Rule: Test new messages

Another strategy used by fencing companies is changing the ad message and using short-term price incentives to match the economic climate with consumers who are

seeking a good deal. Change your ad message. Test different offers and incentives. Use short-term price incentives to match the economic climate with consumers who are seeking a good deal. Test interest-free loans. Test coupons. Test special promotions. Test buy-now-pay-later. Test!


Rule: Take advantage of lower ad rates

Often the cost of advertising drops during recessions. The lower rates create a “buyer’s market” for brands.


Rule: Do direct mail

Direct mail is “old school” advertising. And it works—especially in a recession because most fencing companies stop it all together.

Studies have shown that direct mail advertising, which can provide greater short-term sales growth, increases sales during a recession.


Rule: Keep top of mind

Memories are short. Buyers can easily forget your name. If a competitor continues to advertise, they are the one most likely to be remembered. Sam Walton, the founder of Walmart, said best when asked about recessions: “What do you think about a recession?” he responded, “I thought about it and decided not to participate.” Keep top of mind.


Rule: Value your product

It may seem counterintuitive but resist the urge to slash prices on your fences during a recession. When prices take a deep nosedive, consumers think you were gouging them before. Or, worse, they may think you are now selling an inferior product. Instead of cutting your prices, consider adding incentives for your customers.


Rule: Add more value

Offer free installation. Offer extended warranties. Offer free fence-cleaning services. With these additional services, customers will feel satisfied that they are getting

more for their money when money is tight. However, you will not be making the mistake of devaluing your fencing products.


Rule: Continue to push benefits

Think like your customers. Don’t scare away potential customers by pushing a fencing product that is clearly out of their budget. During an economic crisis, most people think about safety and security for their family and their businesses.

Emphasize the long-term safety and security of a vinyl fence. Share with them facts and figures about low maintenance and durability.

Be prepared to show them how the investment in a vinyl fence will save them money in the long run. That kind of data is reassuring


Rule: Think like a skier

Marketing is like skiing. When people learn to ski, one of the most common mistakes they make is leaning back on their skis.

They lean back because they are afraid of the slope or the speed they have. It is a natural reaction. And when they lean back, they lose control.

The secret is to lean forward, not back. Even though it feels unnatural, leaning forward gives you control.

How does this apply to your fencing business? If you lean back (stop marketing all together) you may fall.

Aggressive advertising can help you capture market share while your weaker competitors are slashing ad budgets and waiting out the storm.


Rule: Keep close to prospects

The sales training firm Asher reports that, on average, it takes 12 different contacts (including phone calls, emails, in-person meetings) to make a sale.

During a recession, that number can go up to about 16 as potential customers face their own reduced credit and tighter budgets.

Those kinds of numbers can seem discouraging and even insurmountable to a salesperson. Therefore, encourage them to focus on their top group of prospects only during a recession. That way, they will have the time and energy to make those extra need contacts to make the sale.


Rule: Keep even closer to customers.

Here’s a final tip for getting sales during a recession. As part of your preparation, contact your existing customers to find out how they are doing during this difficult time.

Make sure they know how much you appreciate their business and their loyalty. Offer them a discount on a service or another purchase.

It’s hard to believe we are in this economic mess so soon after the Great Recession.

However, it is critical that you, as a business owner and employer, stay positive. Yes, your business will change during an economic downturn.

But a savvy fencing company owner can not only ride out this crisis but strengthen their reputation—and sales—at the same time.


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