How to Sell Successfully in a Recession


The debate is on whether we actually are in or still approaching a recessionary period. If you have been paying attention to the newspapers and television news, then you know that our economy is in a tailspin. The media-painted news is bleak as each new day reveals an additional economic issue. It seems that both consumer confidence and spending are down, mortgage foreclosures are up, savings are down, the unemployment rate is up and consumer prices of just about everything are rising. What is there to do when you are a salesperson needing to make a living in such a mess?


Downward trends are indeed a stressful time posing numerous challenges, yet they do indeed present many opportunities. You might ask a certain real estate agent how his business is; he responds saying it is the worst market he has seen in years and does not know what to do. Ask another and she might tell you that she is excited and it is the best market opportunity that she has seen in years. It is truly a matter for one's perspective. For those clients who are financially able, now is an outstanding time to acquire property at a huge discount. She chooses to focus on those clients looking for bargains. The other agent already gave up, saying "woe is me."

I am not at all suggesting that the current economic scenario is that simple to overcome in all markets. There is no single answer to all these complex issues, yet there is a single superb approach. The keys here are "current scenario" and "downward trends." There will always be hills and valleys in every economic cycle. The tide will certainly turn at some point and a general wellspring of opportunity will spread over the marketplace. But for now, we must adapt to the current conditions.

What can you do now to help ensure your income stability and peace of mind?

1 Re-train. Become the local expert in your field. Learn more about the other products you have in your arsenal.

2. Study new markets that provide somewhat consistent opportunities for growth such as food production, pharmaceuticals, hospitals, utilities, laboratories, safety and ergonomics, etc...

3. Make more of an effort to brand yourself. Establish yourself as a valued expert. Focus and specialize.

4. Market yourself: Publish a blog, provide a regular newsletter, write articles, and utilize email marketing to better stay in touch with clients.

5. Believe in yourself and the unique value that you bring to the selling table.

Forget about being a generalist and become a specialist. Focus on one particularly profitable niche in your industry and become the "go-to" person in your marketplace. We all have a unique product line or service that offers greater value and superior profit margins. Learn all you can about them. Establish your expertise and publicize it well. Get the word out. Be confident of the value that you offer.

I recently utilized this strategy at a local Tier 1 automotive supplier by seizing an opportunity to help them with a unique problem. They were impressed by my response and ability to remedy their situation. I asked about similar areas of their plant and the opportunity to address their issues before they became problems. They liked my pro-active approach and allowed me to proceed. That success soon generated others. In fact, their plant manager sent me an email this past week asking me to meet with him to discuss multiple opportunities for our products and services in their plant.

That company has quickly become a major account. I have been successfully designated their "go-to guy." We have demonstrated our capabilities and proven our ability and expertise. Interestingly, I started working with this account a mere six months ago. I have a goal to develop five more similar accounts over the next six months. Each one is already identified and a strategy has been implemented.

There are great opportunities; plenty of them, regardless of the state of the economy. Do not give in to the negativity presented by the media. Focus on your core strengths and decide which clients need your expertise. Select prospective companies that are in a strong financial position to weather this downturn and get busy. Be assertive. Become their "go-to" person and don't ever look back.




Daniel Sitter, author of both Learning For Profit and Superior Selling Skills Mastery, has garnered extensive experience in sales, training, marketing and personal development spanning a successful 25 year sales career. Experience his blog at http://www.idea-sellers.com