When the going gets tough, the tough get going

For salespeople, the present downturn in our economy is frightening but not completely unfamiliar; most of us remember the daunting prospects after the recession of 2008. Now is the time to heed the critical lessons that we learnt then. We already know that we need to reflect on how to sell during challenging times and to adjust our techniques and expectations accordingly. Below are a few tips on what to focus on (and what not to):

1.    Although you have no control over economic trends and public health policy, you can control what you do on a day-to-day basis: How many people is it feasible to connect with today? Are you prepared? Do your professional relationships need improvement? If you can’t control it, park it (unless you want to go crazy!).

2.    A sense of fear and desperation will only transfer across to your potential clients; they need you to sound calm, positive and knowledgeable. Truly listen to THEIR fears and concerns without dismissing them; this is the time for empathy and patience. Provide that solution.

3.    When times are tough, people don’t need “bling”, fuss and frills; solving an important problem for your clients is key. Stick to your core message. Don’t make assumptions.

4.    We all know that using guilt to get your sale during difficult (and normal) times is unethical. You don’t need to use mind games, just superb communication skills. Maybe this is a time to get back to the fundamentals.

5.    Look at the big picture. I know it is tough at present but situations will improve; they always do. Take a deep breath and remember how you were able to turn things around in the past.

6.    This is not the time to be silent. Make the social interaction with your clients interesting, maybe even entertaining (without being trite). Again, reflect on your relationships and how you can improve them.

7.    When “madness” envelopes us we all have our own personal and political points of views but this is not the time to try and persuade a client, or potential client, that you are right. Once again, LISTEN and empathise rather than manipulate.

8.    Give yourself a break. Yes, we are traversing an extremely challenging time but you need to be kind to yourself before you can empathise with others. Keep your goals realistic and if you don’t achieve them today, there will be tomorrow.