Selling when the economy is not bouncing back

Let’s face it: what you are hoping for is not happening, and it hurts your income. The economy is not bouncing back. As a result, salespeople get anxious and… nervous. Some become de-motivated, depressive even. Personally, I have been through two financial crises as a Sales Director and learned what helps and what doesn’t when leading sales teams. At crisis times, people look up to leaders; they are waiting for advice, and you should give it to them. And doing so will generate money. Let me share with you my top tips for selling when the economy is not bouncing back:

Don’t blame the economy.

This is obvious to many of you, but still, I have always been surprised that economic headwinds influence salespeople’s confidence by that much. They look at their sales targets and realise the gap is getting bigger, and they see their commission cheques shrinking. In these situations, basic (wrong) human behaviours bubble up, like blaming someone or something else. In this case, they blame the economy for not achieving their budget. In my view, blaming the economy is like condemning the lottery companies for not winning the jackpot. Blaming anything or anyone will not help you reach your sales targets.

Focus on what you can control.

Instead, what makes more sense is to focus on what you can control. First of all, you have a choice: Sit back and do nothing, hoping for the best. Or be proactive with a focused plan. You are in charge of:

  • Which prospects do you target?
  • What agenda do you drive at these meetings?
  • What you share to change their perspective

Here is the thing: your competitors’ sales reps are in the same situation. The state of the economy is also slowing down their portfolio growth. So,

If the pie is not getting any bigger, you better get a bigger piece of the pie.

Your focus is on winning customers from your competitors’ sales reps. This means you need to be more effective and create more value for their customers (=your prospects) than they do. As simple as that.

Which prospects to target

It’s less useful to target customers who are struggling and find it difficult to make ends meet. Unless you can help them with immediate top-line growth at a reasonable investment. They would be keen to understand how that can be done.

At the other end of the spectrum are the industries that have rosier forecasts. You only have to Google the question to see what industries expect growth despite the current economic situation:

  • Healthcare
  • Technology.
  • Renewable energy
  • Electric vehicles
  • Pharmaceutical
  • Digital Educational services
  • B2B E-commerce
  • Specific manufacturing
  • Financial services
  • Architecture

Hence, segment your prospect list around industries that grow. This saves time and provides focus. Insights that work for one customer in a particular industry will probably work for another customer in the same or similar industry.

The Sales agenda you drive

Focus on what the main value of your meeting is: your business idea helping their company with additional growth. Send the agenda in advance of the meeting. This has two benefits: the purpose of your call or meeting is very clear, and your stakeholder comes prepared.

Apply a modern sales approach where you help your prospects grow their business. At the start of the meeting, you want to build credibility. Therefore, demonstrate you have done your homework: show what you know, verify that understanding, and ask relevant questions about their current growth strategy. Then, you are ready to share your idea.

Share your insight

Your business growth idea needs to be backed up by third-party research related to trends and risks in their industry. Hold on to selling your solutions until your stakeholder shows interest in your idea, sees the value and wants to know what needs to change and how.

In conclusion

Be confident that you have the experience to help customers grow their business. They need you, now the economy is not bouncing back.

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