There is a lot of chatter out there about the great downturn in the economy and its potential impact on you and me. In the sales world, there are a lot of articles popping up all over advising all on how to sell in economic downturns, recession proof selling, five key things to do in a down market, 3 must haves to protect your sales when the sky is falling and a lot more.
In some ways I am reminded of the old saying that a recession is when your neighbour loses his job, and a depression is when you lose yours. I guess the 21st century version in the States is that a depression is when you lose your house vs. the neighbour. And in sales it must be that a recession is when you have to sell on price, and a depression is when you don’t sell at all wholesale pipes. But that is where the good news is, no let me take that back, that is where reality must prevail. Unless the sky does really fall and the planet implodes, businesses will continue to buy, which by extension means someone is making sales, so why not you?
As sales professionals you know that in turmoil there is opportunity, loads of opportunities. While businesses may buy less, they will continue to buy; some may in fact buy more due to favourable conditions presented for their products. Unlike consumers, businesses can’t just “cut back” in the way that consumers do. Businesses may cut back on fringe things, sometimes some on things like travel and entertainment, but if they tend to stay in business through and beyond the downturn, they will still be making purchases. The buying will continue but it will be different, and if you can identify the difference, adopt and respond, you can sell as much as you did in the past, if not more. Especially if you are and will continue to be professional in your approach.
Yes you can sell more, if you continue to meet the times and your competitors don’t, you can have yours and some of theirs too. Great thing about this pruning of the herd phase of the cycle is that it does reduce the number of competitors. But let’s not pretend that this will be easy. Just as markets and the economy turned on a dime you will have to as well, and while you are coping with that, your competitors will change too, usually not for the better. The result is that in addition to everything else you have to deal with as a sales professional, you will have a few other, new and sometimes nasty things to deal with. I would however argue that at the core, things are not that different than they were a year or two or five years ago, just more intense due to the current phase of the economic cycle.