How To Sell in a Challenging Economy

workhardersmarterWhether the economy is strong or weak is often dependent on individual perspective. Even a “bad” economy is traditionally a great time to sell some products and services, such as insurance or sales training. You may need to work harder and smarter to sell more – regardless of the current state of the economy.

Work harder

When people are nervous or watching their dollars closely, you may have to do more of what you did when business was easier. You may have to make more calls, generate more quotes, and cast a wider net. The percentage of people who will buy from you may go down, but offset that by talking to more people. Easier said than done, but if that’s what’s required, suck it up and do what you have to do. Remember that, “Successful people do the things failures don’t like to do.” (previous article)  You may not like it, but it might be your quickest way to success.

Work smarter

You can make it easier on yourself:

  • Ask for referrals. You will take less time to prospect for new customers.
  • Prospect at a higher level. Look for ‘bigger’ customers with bigger needs that require bigger solutions. The size of your sale goes up.
  • Develop centres of influence who will feed you leads because they believe in you and the service you can provide to their contacts.
  • Go back to existing customers who already love you and ask if there is anything else you can do to help.
  • Become an expert in your field so that new prospects call you for advice.
  • Track your activities to clarify what you need to do to succeed. Many salespeople have no idea what they have to do today to make their life better tomorrow because they haven’t kept data that enables them to analyze and correct their behaviour. Great salespeople know their numbers.


Improve your selling skills

Get better at generating leads and appointments. Learn and practice how to:

  • Arouse curiosity
  • Ask thoughtful questions
  • Listen carefully for what’s said and unsaid
  • Check for understanding
  • Present your ideas concisely
  • Recognize buying signals
  • Ask for the next step in the process
  • Handle any objections
  • Listen to your sales manager. He/she has done what you’ve done and wants you to succeed.
  • Never give up. Sales success requires stamina and the ability to withstand rejection.

Many great salespeople sell more in tough economies than others do during easy times because they are still making the calls, putting themselves in the ring every day after others give up. You can try unique ways to offset the challenges, but don’t stop doing the very things that have always worked, regardless of the current economy.

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October 1, 2016

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