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Recession Proof Yourself in a Falling Economy

Recession Proof Yourself in a Falling Economy

It's the cheapest and most effective way to protect yourself or your business in a faltering economy - it's free, simple and has been a proven winner down through time.

The best way to combat recession is by using reputation says business consultant Hannah Samuel who specialises in the subject.

And she says it can mean the difference between blank order books, staff being laid off, grim financial forecasts ... or surviving even the toughest time.

"Reputation is about who you are being rather than about what you are selling or providing. It means people will choose to buy or do business with you over competitors because they know you are loyal, trustworthy and will deliver on your promises.

"It's the business gold that has stood the test of time. Studies have shown that as much as 85 per cent of business comes by word-of-mouth referrals - happy customers recommending you to others. This unpaid sales force can help you grow your business - especially in times of tough recession."

Hannah says developing and maintaining a great reputation isn't about flash copywriting or fancy slogans, but demonstrating old fashioned values such as integrity, being honourable and building trust.

"It's not about `saying' what you do, but `being' it."

One example is of instant messaging service ICQ which was established in 1996 and never spent a cent on above-the-line marketing or promotion. It grew purely by word-of-mouth before being purchased two years later by America Online for $US287 million - with approximately 12 million users.

Hannah says people can use reputation to help weather a recession by:

• If talking business, focus on value rather than cost or price

• Demonstrate how you can save clients time or money or deliver the outcomes they want

• Nurture relationships you have with existing or former clients - send them a handwritten card, call or send a short personal email

• Whatever communication method you choose, make it personal, sincere and non pushy. Avoid aggressive selling

• Customise solutions for clients - not only will this improve your chances of meeting their needs, but will help set you apart from your competitors

• Actively engage your `unpaid sales force' of happy clients. Third party endorsements are six to seven times more powerful than advertising

• Deliver on your promises - on time and every time - and be willing to be held accountable if things go wrong

"Consider reputation one of your most valuable assets and the recession will bite less aggressively," says Hannah (www.hannahsamuel.com).

ends

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