Turn Off the TV Get Out and Sell! A Sales Plan for a Down Economy

During tough economic times like these, salespeople tend to let the following three thoughts dominate their minds:

1. All of my associates or employees are plagued by recession blues.

2. The news media is constantly moaning and groaning about the doom and gloom status of the economy.

3. To top it off, my customers are getting sucked into this negative attitude as well, making it harder than ever to prop up sales and keep my business running smoothly.

All of these things may be true, but you need to remember that this is not the whole story. These three facts are things that you have no control over. No matter how much time you spend worrying about them, you won’t be able to solve the problem. Instead, concentrate on things that you do have control over.

Turning Off the TV.

Don’t look at the media. The media is always going to be negative because that’s what sells. Don’t get sucked into this kind of thinking and spend all your time worrying about factors which you have no control over.

Instead of sitting around worrying about the tough economy, get out and sell more. Make two more phone calls to customers each day. Meet personally with more clients every week. Learn to be proactive. This is not the right time to lose confidence and sink into despondency. It is this loss of confidence, and not the down economy itself, which is the real tragedy. This is the time to increase sales effort, not to recede into the office and sit around pushing paper.

Keeping a Positive Mental Attitude.

A recession can be devastating for company moral, and this is a real concern. But the good news is that you don’t have to allow yourself to be subdued by this kind of thinking. If you keep your attitudes high, you will notice that there is still plenty of business to be won out there. It is just going to take a little bit of extra effort, a little extra push to get those sales.

In some ways, the last ten to twelve years have spoiled the sales community. We are so used to putting our nets in the water and drawing out fish with little effort that we’ve forgotten how to bait a line and sinker. If you’ve only been selling since 1997 or so, you haven’t really experienced tough economic times. And even if you have, you may have forgotten in the last ten years how to work in this kind of environment. However, if you are willing to adapt to the changes, there is always still money to be made.

The worst thing that is going to happen is that customers are going to get a little more stingy. They won’t be as free with their money as they once were. This is bad for salespeople who are used to just getting a sale without any effort. However, this can actually be good for those salespeople who are willing to put forth a little extra effort. When your customers complain about tough economic times, this is the perfect opportunity to explain to them how your product can help improve their company. Go to your customer with a good attitude and make the person who you are selling to a hero. Help this person see how your products will benefit his or her company in these tough times.

If you need help improving your cold calling skills or just need an attitude boost you can get free sales information from The SalesRoundup Podcast, a free online radio show about all things sales. There’s no reason to stay timid and scared when you can get educated about proper sales practices for free.

To wrap up, lets just go over what you need to be doing one last time:

If you are a sales manager…

you need to start holding your salespeople accountable, and you need to start tightening up your sales territory. Go out into the field with each sales person and see what they are doing right and wrong. Talk to each of them individually and show them ways to improve their sales practices.

If you are a salesperson…

keep doing what you are doing, but do more of it. If you make more cold calls each day, visit more clients each week, and work to make your sales pitch more appealing, your sales will improve. This is just simple math. Whatever percentage of deals you get out of every 100 cold calls, you will always get more deals if you change that 100 calls into 120.

This post was inspired by the SalesRoundup Podcast episode titledĀ  “Selling in a Down Economy Maintaining A Positive Attitude!

Good Selling
Mike & Joe
SalesRoundup Podcast

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5 comments for “Turn Off the TV Get Out and Sell! A Sales Plan for a Down Economy

  1. ChuckfromDallas
    January 9, 2009 at 8:04 pm

    There’s no doubt that increased activity is important but it’s a good idea to re-think your message and relate your products or services in terms of how they can save the customer money or improve something they are doing. If the prospect is thinking about the poor economy or suffering because of it you need to offer solutions that help him or her save or improve. Focus on being a problem finder and offer better solutions than your competition to differentiate yourself.

  2. Joe
    January 16, 2009 at 12:24 pm

    Hey Chuck!

    I couldn’t have said it better!!! In this economy, customers are not buying “nice to have” products or services. Building solid value is key!

  3. January 27, 2009 at 3:55 pm

    NZ shuts down from Dec24 thru to about now. Summer vacation and all. It gives us time to re-focus and consider our approach.

    I agree with Chuck as it works!

    The tack I’m taking with clients (corporates who have cut their product/brand management staff levels by 50%, and their budgets by 50%) is by introducing efficiencies and improving the effectiveness of our services. It’s not so much increased activity as focussing on delivering on time and under budget. Focussing on returning calls and emails without delay. Focussing on getting correct information to clients. Focussing on making the clients jobs/day less stressful.

    I’ve found that if you can make your client happy and look good in the eyes of their superiors (i.e. make them layoff-proof!) you’ve got a client for life, and increased sales will flow from them.

  4. Jonathan Wiener
    February 20, 2009 at 10:12 am

    You are rapidly becoming a legend Chuck. Yep, in my opinion profitability is the offering that sits at the highest level of the value hierarchy. It is a product that is highly appealing in a good economy and if positioned correctly, more appealing in a down economy. Furthermore, organizations who committ themselves to the delivery of bottom line value and begin to build sales process and messaging around that value will quickly realize that profitability impacts are not limited to the functionality of one’s solutions or products alone. The effective profit driven sales organization will also leverage its organizational processes, sweat equity, clients and intellectual properties as a means for illustrating bottom line impact for their clients. Remember, profits sell in all economies. Those who learn how to sell at this level will increase their chances to win the day.

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