There has been widespread talk about an upcoming economic slowdown. According to informed and knowledgeable people I have been talking with, as well as reading a great deal on this, this is connected to the “credit crunch” and other global economic situations that have been in the news for months. The systemic effect of such a slowdown could cause a negative effect on clients willing to close the deal and spend money and on corporate hiring plans.
So that there is no confusion, I am not an economist! I have been listening closely and am learning about how the global economy affects the sales community-beyond a cyclical slowdown in sales. I have seen a great deal of activity and conversation on the blogs and other venues about what we as sales professionals can do to prepare and keep the deals closing. This critical question should occupy the minds of us all in the sales community as we approach the fourth quarter.
How can we insulate ourselves against economic slowdowns?
Here are a few thoughts:
- We must build our pipelines as aggressively as we can now. Consider stepping up the prospecting and sales activity in general. Make sure your pipeline is robust and ready to burst! Perhaps the simplest way to avoid the effects an economic slowdown is to focus on the numbers and activity. Look for new clients that you may not have considered previously. Companies change and people change. Work your contacts and reach out. Think out of the box.
- Understand what a downturn means to your client and then create value propositions for your clients that are unassailable. Your value to the client should always show that you understand their plight and are willing to work with them to meet their needs during difficult times as well as good ones.
- Use the time to keep your skills sharp! Take advantage of continuing training and educational opportunities if they are available. You need to be ultra-competitive in a slowdown because your competition will be doing the same!
- Work collaboratively with your company to create as many products and services possible that will resonate with clients during a slowdown. Demonstrate your willingness to push your company to make changes that help your clients as you see you clients doing the same. Again, think out of the box.
- Network. Network. Network. Get active in organizations that will connect you with potential clients you have not approached yet and meet people who have great ideas and needs that you can fill.
If we have an economic downturn, we can make the choice to be prepared or not. I have seen many great sales professionals think proactively about what they have to do to stay ahead of the game in times like this. These are the sale pros who figure out innovative and unique way to make the deals happen. Do not let yourself be caught!
As always, let me know what you think!