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Selling in a Recession

5 Steps for Sales Survival

The good news is that recession has bottomed out and the economy is on an upward trajectory of revival. But tough times are not yet over and it won’t be in a short time. The storm might have gone, but we have to work through the wreckage it has left on its trail. That would take some time.

This is a time when people are spending very cautiously. Businesses are picking up, but very slowly. What does this mean to sales people? Does it hold only pictures of bleakness? Not at all, at least not for people those are ready to brace the hard times with a steely determination. It will be hopeless for sales persons that give up easily.

There are quite a few organizations and sales professional that really did well during 2008, right at the peak of the recession. Some businesses made good profits and hired more people. SaskTel, a leading wireless, phone services, Internet service provider in Canada made $121 million profit in 2008, an increase of 44% over the profits for the year 2007. LG Electronics registered an increase of 1.1% in profits in comparison to the year 2007. In the first quarter of 2009 LG Electronics registered 62.1% profit. The net annual profit figures of LG are yet to touch the pre recession figures, but signs of recovery are clearly visible.

Back at home there are some encouraging facts. US Newspapers made 12% profit in 2008. Newspapers with less than 15,000 copies circulation made 15% profit. These figures are healthy considering the fact that large US Newspapers have been making 12% profit for the past five years. Recession didn’t make much difference.

How did they do that and you can incorporate their strategies into your sales methods?

Have a Positive Attitude

This is crucial in difficult times and crisis situations. A positive attitude will make one energetic and increase productivity. It requires discipline in thought to have a positive attitude when the entire media is blaring gloomy news and forecasts 24×7. It requires vision and clarity of thought to see beyond. Recession worse than the current one, have come and gone. This one will also pass. The best thing is to concentrate on the task at hand — keep on trying to sell.

Work Harder

Hard working sales people know that this is the time to work even harder. This is a testing time where the hard workers are rewarded. This is not the time for the journeyman salesman, the 9-5 order taker, or the mediocre wannabe. This is the time for the hard worker, the ones that eat, sleep, and drink SELLING. This is the time when the salesmen with can-do-it attitude have to make 50 calls instead of the usual 20 calls to get one order.

Sales people passionate about selling will have to put in more sincere efforts, make more calls, qualify more prospects, give demos with all their hearts, and serve with earnestness. Network harder and try to sell as if your life depends on it.

Work Longer

There are no short cuts to success. And when the times are tough the route gets longer. You have to work harder and work longer. It’s a bit like playing long rallies with patience. You will have to spend more time working. Lunch breaks have to be short and free times have to be utilized productively. Leads that you would have ignored previously to save time should be explored more to qualify as prospects. That requires additional time than the usual.

Pay More Attention to Customers’ Needs

You have to be really caring and attentive towards customers’ product needs to get business in tough times. When customers have cut down on spending drastically and trying to manage with the bare minimum you have to really pay attention to their requirement. You have to be really grateful to the customer for doing business with you.

Give Your Best Shot

Ace tennis players know this. When the situation gets really tough they produce their best game. Champions like Pete Sampras and Roger Federer fire away aces, hit tearing down the line forehands, and ripping cross court backhands to pull themselves out of difficult situations. They have produced some of the best tennis actions when they are trailing 0-2 or 1-2 in five setter matches. They may make many unforced errors when leading but not when they are trailing.

As a sales person you need to sharpen all your skills to perfection. Your physical and mental fitness, listening skills, speaking powers, persuasive abilities, tact in handling objections, product knowledge, and preparedness with facts and figures should all be perfect or near perfection. Like a champion you can do no wrong when it comes to your job. Victory will definitely be yours.

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