Despite what the news will have you believe, things are looking up for the UK economy, with retail sales, the pound and confidence in British business all soaring since the majority voted leave about 2 months ago.
That said, every single company up and down the country will be wondering exactly how to prosper in the times of economic uncertainty that we may well enter during the actual Brexit process, which is likely to last well into 2018.
Hire companies are no different from other businesses in the amount of concerns that they have but will probably face unique challenges and opportunities.
As customers are likely to be more financially cautious during the period than before, there may be a trend of leaning towards the idea of renting products instead of purchasing new ones outright. New customers, therefore, might be relatively easy to come by.
While rental companies do also sell their products, this could pose an interesting opportunity with regards to stock management and the way that rental deals are done.
On the other hand, however, companies may now also be tempted to hire less products than they used to, which could see hire company profits fall, even if more people come to rent.
So how can hire companies make sure that their customers not only see the opportunity in renting rather than buying, but continue to rent the same number of (or more) products? Here are a few ideas.
1. Keep your ear to the ground
The most important thing you need to do now, no matter the shape and size of your company is keep your eye out for changes.
Monitoring customer activity and the marketplace in general to see how it changes over the next few years will be the key differential which will decide whether you survive or thrive.
One of the things that will be very interesting to see, from your perspective at least, is how the major announcements in the news affect things as everything the news says will have a massive impact on people’s confidence.
For now, the dust on Brexit has settled and everyone has gone back into normality mode.
Keep a close eye on the news however and note any changes in your marketplace around times of huge announcements and new developments. You’ll need to work out where the opportunities lie in order to have any chance of making the most of them.
What’s more, if you want real clarity, why not actually talk to the customer about Brexit and see what their opinions are? Ask them how they think a recent big announcement is likely to affect their market place and the way they operate.
This will be the best indicator not only of how things are likely to change for them, but how they’re likely to change for you as well.
2. Sell the concern
Any salesperson worth their salt knows the importance of selling benefits rather than features. “You don’t buy a drill; you buy a hole in your wall” being one of classic example.
With that said, when you do notice changes in sales activity and in the marketplace in general, bring it up when trying to get people to rent.
If, for example, my prophecy at the start of this article is correct and companies are more cautious with their cash flow, make sure your team are speaking about potential cash flow problems with the decision makers they speak to.
It may be a concern that this particular customer has or may be one that they haven’t yet thought about. Either way, bringing it to their attention is important for their development and safety as a company.
Speak with caution though; I’d never be an advocate of being over-zealous about market concerns. If you fluff up concerns to make them sound disastrous when they’re only minor points worth thinking about, then you’ll lose trust with the customer who will think you’re out of touch.
But showing that you understand the market, the things they should be concerned about and that you want to listen to their thoughts on current and future issues will not only help you to make more sales, it will also help you to build a strong relationship and get an unprecedented feel for how every one of your customers operates.
3. Market it, too
Moving on from the point above, don’t just have your sales team focus on the current climate, have your marketing team do the same.
Sending out e-mail campaigns, writing content for your blog and generally doing everything you can to make the customer realize you can solve their problem is the absolute best way to make sure that your customers see the value in sticking with you.
For this to be successful, though, you have to make sure that:
a) The concern you want to sell on is factual and exists across the majority of the market and isn’t just based on something you’ve heard from one person.
b) Everything you send out is tasteful and focused on how you can help to solve your customers’ problems, whatever they may be.
Having the entire sales and marketing team focus on a key, market-wide concern for a short while and, more importantly, on how your business is specifically setup to solve that problem, is a great way to drive business and show customers that you understand the challenges that their business faces.
No matter what happens, making sure your company is able to adapt and do so quickly will be the key to succeeding in a business environment which is likely to change faster than ever in the next few years.
If you have any ideas or thoughts on how hire companies can make the most their current customer bases, please let us know your ideas in the comments below.