5 Tips for Reps to Keep Selling During a Recession

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When the economy gets shaky and buyers get nervous, we see meetings fall off calendars, and deals go dark. It can feel scary for sure – especially when we see our new hire classmates cut from the team.

Here are some tips to keep on keeping on selling during a recession.

Confirm and reconfirm all your meetings.

That includes getting cell phone numbers. Start with everything currently booked. Call and email them today to confirm and leave your cell number. Ask them to text and leave theirs. It’s OK to be honest. Try something like:

“Hey Ted, LB here. Looking forward to Tuesday and just want to confirm we’re still on. I’ve had a few folks literally disappear in the past month with this uncertain economy. VERY glad that’s not you. Listen, I’m going to leave my cell. Will you please be kind enough to return my call or pop over a text to confirm Tuesday at 11 Central? Thanks! It’s xxx-xxx-xxxx. One more time: xxx-xxx-xxxx. Talk soon.”

This move helps you keep the connects you have, shows concern, and gets you cell numbers. Winner! Do it for meetings you are setting up this week as well.

“OK, I’ll hit you back on Tuesday at 11. I’ll be ready to cover A, B, and especially C. Will you bring XYZ? I’m sending over a calendar invite to hold our place. It has a bridge, but I want you to have my mobile as well. My number is xxx-xxx-xxxx, can I grab yours?”

You won’t get it every time, but I’ll estimate 9 out of 10. Boom. No more going dark.

Reswizzle your value prop – in your messages, your posts, your pitches.

I stole this great tip from Doug Landis in our recent webinar, How To Build Pipeline And Keep Selling During A Recession. Nobody buys vitamins during a recession, they buy Advil. Truth is, my service of sales and leadership skills is definitely vitamins – the stuff that’s good for you we are supposed to take and tell our doctors we do…but isn’t usually prioritized. Yes, even though taking your vitamins helps you AVOID taking the hard stuff down the line, human nature is human nature. So if you’re normally plugging things like employee morale and retention, it’s time to restate.

Advil helps us avoid pain. Pain we’re already in. What does your product solve that fixes a pain? Uncertain times lead to fear buying (one word ya’ll: hand sanitizer. Wait, here’s another: toilet paper.) These memories are fresh. People stop buying anything that isn’t essential, doesn’t pull them out of pain, or won’t protect them from horrible recession-related risks. Find the Advil in your solution and lead with that.

(Watch LB’s tips on changing your value prop during a recession below)

Sort & call intelligently.

What industries aren’t suffering right now? Automotive is strong (have you SEEN prices!?), healthcare and insurance are always winners, banks are flush, who else? Buy a new list or pull the bottom of yours out and go long.

Remove risk however you can.

Can you highlight a cancellation clause? Payment terms? Low-cost trial? Nobody wants to be the guy who spent too much and trapped the company in a big spend if this whole situation gets worse. Help them see this purchase will deliver them from pain and not get them in trouble.

Talk longer.

Now is the time to build deeper relationships. When someone says they can’t buy now, don’t hang up the phone! Get to know them, their company, their situation, their partner! Sometimes the best you can do is build pipeline, so build the strongest damn pipe your manager has ever seen. That means rock-solid projections of how many, how much, when they can buy, and every step it will take in the purchasing process. Get it one step short of a signature and be best friends with everyone along the way so they can’t wait to sign.

We’re talking about asking more questions, building more rapport, showing more empathy, finding more contacts, going wide in the account. You should know every past competitor considered and why they failed, exactly how your solution will be used, the three purchases in line in front of you, the one guy who’s most doubtful. Getting the picture? About triple the info you normally have when you call it.

Remember…A recession or economic downturn is inevitable and also temporary. Do your future self a favor by staying positive and keeping momentum going so you’re ready to hit the ground running when things get back to “normal”!

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