Selling in Tough Economic Times

I’ve been selling and training sales reps most of my adult life.  I’ve succeeded and I’ve failed. Importantly, I’ve learned.


In difficult economic times, when the media saturates the airwaves with warnings that the sky will surely fall, and doom and gloom are our future, selling gets even tougher.  That is, unless you understand HOW to sell in what buyers want. Good luck!


I’m old enough, been around long enough to have trained sales reps during the 1987 recession.  Then, as now, albeit with less media frenzy, the word was out…you can’t sell during a recession!  At my company, we forged ahead.  We fine tuned the process, worked real hard on fundamentals and focused on communicating to our prospects, what we had that made sense no matter the economic conditions.


Bottom line, there are some things people need in tough and good times; things they will buy anytime, all the time.  Food, booze and some sort of self-gratifying leisure fulfillment are all on the list.


Something else that makes good sense to the buying public is an investment in their number one asset, their home.  Having spent considerable time in the home services business, including the 87 recession, I learned how to sell right into the economic ‘bounce’ that follows every downturn.  We learned to sell value.


Hear me out; selling value is not a vague process. While the word, value, needs definition, when defined in terms of your product or service offering, and effectively communicated to logical prospective buyers, it sells!


In my training role, the job was clear…help define our company’s value proposition and teach our sales people to communicate it professionally and effectively.  Did I say sales people…my bad. I taught everyone on our staff why we were a great investment.  Unless you don’t care what your employees think about you and your business, and unless you believe they will never talk to a customer or prospect, better teach everyone how to communicate your unique benefits to the buying public.


This year, in my training/consulting work, it’s already started.  My phone is ringing now..and the caller will be in panic mode.  What I’ll hear is “How am I going to grow in this economy?”  Right behind the sales question will be “How am I going to keep my customers, to insure repeat business?”


The answer to both questions is to focus your sales and customer service process management, as well as your staff training on communicating value, your unique value to the customer. If you can, you’ll be fine. If not, it’s going to be a long, cold winter.  Let me know if you need some help.


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