The news is full of doom and gloom and the cost of living crisis in Britain is taking centre stage. While there is a definite issue to be addressed here, I don’t believe your customers have stopped spending.

When reviewing your business for 2023 onwards, it’s worth digging deep into your own beliefs and values around money, the benefits of budgeting, and positive planning for your financial future.

Every single one of us will need to tighten our belts in some way over the next few years, but being careful with your spending, budgeting for sales and expenditure, and showing up as your authentic self will make a huge difference.

Never forget the power of storytelling

Stories are powerful, and at the moment you might be hearing stories from your customers that paints a negative picture. However, if you take the time to listen to their concerns, understand what they need, and offer the right solution then your business will continue to thrive.

There are a few things you must remember in the current climate and that is HOW your customer is buying – because they are still buying!

Here are a few consumer trends worth mentioning:

Delivery – I’m not talking about how you deliver a pitch or a talk here; it’s in a more literal sense. More and more, customers want everything delivered to their homes. From their groceries to the gadgets necessary for their leisure activities, so if you can deliver your products then you’re onto a winner. Providing online services such as coaching sessions over Zoom is included in this category. Being able to access your services without the added expense of fuel and parking fees will be gratefully received. And something to note here – it will also be important to budget for some face-to-face meetings and networking too. This will go a long way in the times we are facing. We want to feel connected, and we want to be in the room with real people from time to time – especially after the pandemic. So, keep the balance.

Simplify – your customers are looking for more products and services that simplify their lives. In fact, research by IBM shows that 53% of us consider this to be very important. How can you make the lives of your customers easier? What products or services fit this criteria?

Age range – do you know who your ideal customer is? Understanding them and their spending habits is vital to your sales strategy. If you supply products or services to Millennials, for example, you will know they are strongly influenced by online ‘celebrities’ or social media influencers. According to Forbes, social shoppers were expected to spend £34.5 billion last year. If your customers vary in age then perhaps you need to build a marketing and sales strategy that speaks directly to them on whatever platforms they frequent. An older demographic might take more time to come to a decision, whereas a younger audience can be very spontaneous.

Payment options – do you get annoyed when trying to buy something online and it doesn’t allow access to PayPal? There are plenty of memes and TikTok videos on the frustration of having to get out of your comfy bed and run downstairs for your credit card. While this is a humourous look at how payment options affect the buying experience, it also highlights the need for offering multiple choices for your customers. In my business I add credit card payment options on my invoices, but I also offer an instalment plan. How easy is your customer journey from initial contact to the sale?

What are your customers’ priorities?

The above trends are generalised and put together via research and data collection. While still useful, they don’t tell you exactly what YOUR customer is spending their money on or why, or even how they feel right now.

In the pandemic I made a big point of saying that we were all in different boats in the same storm, so don’t forget to sense check this and never assume, and also take a note of what you see when you just watch the world go by, and I’m big people watcher. You can see how we are behaving.

I recently visited a popular coffee shop to meet a client. As we chatted about the world we are currently living in I realised the coffee shop was full with a steady stream of customers arriving all the time. That’s a room full of people and a takeaway queue spending at least £10 each per visit on non-essential items.

People haven’t stopped spending!

As I glanced around the coffee shop I could see friends catching up, families enjoying a treat, and business colleagues getting out of the office for a change of environment.

What were their priorities when they decided to spend £10 on coffee (okay, there was probably a cake in there too!)

Health and wellbeing, not surprisingly, is one of the industries where customers refuse to cut back. Perhaps Covid and the subsequent lockdowns pushed human connection, positive mental health, and self-development to the front of our priority list.

Does what you offer provide something that simplifies your customer’s life and engages their need for human interaction?

The other reason the coffee shop might have been full could be down to community. When times are tough we, as a human race, find comfort and support in groups. How many of us have taken our laptops and sat in a coffee shop on our own, happy to work with that reassuring lull of white noise around us?

Does your business model include that sense of community? My Sales Academy membership is a wonderful example of how business owners are still coming together to learn, grow, and engage while spending money on their professional development.

People haven’t stopped spending!

Do you believe me yet?

It’s hard to stay positive when you are surrounded by negative news, but working out what the value of money means to you and your customers will guide you over the coming months.

Remember your UHP

The biggest social media trend will be the demand for authenticity. Customers expect to get a clear sense of “who” a business is. Brands will engage in ongoing dialogues with customers, establishing real-time rapport and, if done well, increasing customer loyalty.” – Kevin Brown, OnBe

What Mr Brown is referring to in this quote is your Unique Human Proposition® – that human-centered spark that makes you stand out from the crowd and connect authentically with your customers.

How are you showing up in your business in the current climate? What message are you sending out – are you part of the doom and gloom problem or are you staying positive? How are you helping your audience? What values are you bringing to your business? What stories are you telling?

Remember, when you tell a story you are demonstrating a challenge that your ideal customer can relate to. Doing this allows you to show empathy, understanding, and authority and your customer will believe that you can give them the solution they need despite the current financial crisis.

How can you learn more about the value of money in your business?

If you want to learn more about the value of money and how it impacts your sales, schedule a virtual cuppa with me, and we can discuss how I can help you.

“Jules is all about doing it right! Right education, right training, right attitude, right outcomes for all! If you want to do it right, speak to Jules White.” Asvin Chauhan, CEO Pharma Wealth

Alternatively, you can join my newly refurbished Sales Academy and build on everything you’ve learned in this post to create success in your business and deliver an unparalleled sales experience.

I can say the Sales Academy is great value for money – just the monthly Q&A sessions make the fee worth it. I always leave with valuable insights on sales and business. And the modules (I’ve done so far, at least) are packed with useful info and mythbusting around sales.” Nick Diakanastasis – Public Speaking & Presentation Skills Coach

Join me for a ‘Walk down the High Street’ and see what the new Sales Academy looks like.

Want to find out more? Schedule a virtual cuppa with me, and we can have a chat about the membership or my other coaching services.

Jules White

Jules White is a professional sales coach whose business allows her to do what she loves, helping entrepreneurs and businesses to succeed at sales and to fall in love with selling. She has over 30 years' experience of business and sales, including winning investment from Peter Jones on Dragons' Den, making her a real dragon slayer. She is a regular public speaker and hosts the podcast 'The Human Conversation' on iTunes.