Sales Strategy: Selling in a Down Economy

June 6, 2012
Sales Strategy: Selling in a Down Economy

When the economy is the opposite of thriving, it may seem like no sales strategy can pull your company ahead.  Read on to learn why this is false.

In recent months there have been signs that the economy is slowly improving. That being said, it is still a down market.

The outlook for the future is murky at best, and bleak at worst. Consumer confidence is down, the stock market is in trouble again, and Europe is a mess. The unemployment rate sits at 8.2% and the true unemployment rate hovers somewhere between 9.5 and 12%. Many people are hoarding their money away and waiting for signs of life.

On the surface this isn’t a very rosy outlook if you are working in sales- how could anyone implement a sales strategy that would work against the economy?

If you work in sales or own a small business, the question in bad economic times is usually “How do I minimize damages?” This is the wrong question to be asking. The right question is “How do I maintain production?”

Most small business owners and salespeople alike have the off the cuff reaction that they are definitely going to lose business in bad economic times. This reaction is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Profits will go down if you allow them to.

The key is adjusting your sales strategy to meet the economic times you are in.

There are several steps that have to be taken to assess and adjust your sales strategy:

  1. How well is your sales team as a whole performing?
    • Is the difference between the best and worst sellers close or is it vast? If there are sellers who just aren’t holding their weight than you have to make the difficult decision of letting them go. You can’t have salespeople dramatically under performing in times of economic hardship. Everyone has to be committed to keeping the business afloat.
  2. Target new customers.
    • While most consumers will be scaling back what they buy, there are still people who will spend money in a down economy.
    • The way to find these people is to assess your products: what kind of people or businesses will be interested in your products, and which of those people or businesses are doing well enough to purchase your products. Assessing the right customers to target in a down economy is crucial.
  3. Don’t panic.
    • It’s important to continue to appeal to past customers to keep you in business. These are people who you know are interested in what you are selling, even if they are struggling—if they can buy from you they will.

Generating leads and closing sales in a down economy is exceptionally hard. However, if you take the time and the right steps, it is more than doable. The key is positive thinking and having all hands on deck within the sales team. If everyone is willing to persevere and work hard, your business and sales team can maintain success in a down economy.

Here are a few articles with additional advice on selling in a bad economy*:

Learning to Sell in a Down Economy: 5 Tips to Help You Succeed
This article gives five great tips on how to sell in a poor economy. Additionally, it provides some great advice from other sales experts with experience in selling in a bad economy.

7 Tips For Selling in a Down Economy
This article is perfect for the individual salesperson. Annette Greco provides advice on how to maintain individual performance during a recession. If you work with prospects mainly one on one, this article is perfect for you.

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