Unprecedented times call for different strategies. While there’s no real consensus as to what state the economy is in currently, signals point towards a potential economic slowdown either on the horizon or seeping its way into your industry. The disparate nature in impact on different sections of the economy makes for truly interesting (but mostly frustrating) times.
Regardless of whether your prospects or clients feel an economic pinch, preparing your sellers to navigate these trends will only help you. As your clients adjust to changing currents, your team should too.
Know What’s Going on with Industry Trends and Your Prospects Specifically
We’ve discussed this previously as companies adjusted to the pandemic, and it’s still crucial advice now. Knowledge is a vital tool for any salesperson—particularly with so much volatility in the market currently.
Having an awareness of what’s occurring in their industry will give you insight into their situation, which will help you develop better solutions to their problems. Harsh economic times put significant pressure on your clients and prospects, and they may be having trouble navigating changes or coming up with solutions if business isn’t booming.
Being empathetic to their situation and helping them can improve their business performance while also helping with their mental load, which helps them individually.
Aside from their industry, you also want to try to learn as much about their specific business as possible. Industry knowledge will give you some insight, but people always have additional variables. You want to learn if their business is operating normally, such as with staff issues or if its location poses a problem. Also, try to learn how they conduct business and see what message they give customers. You can find that out by searching online or becoming a customer yourself.
Don’t make assumptions going into this or write off any business based on preconceived notions. You never know who will be receptive to making a sale, and you’ll likely be surprised by the responses you get.
Invest in Training Your Sales Staff
Economic downturns increase the challenge for your sales staff, which makes it the perfect opportunity to invest in training.
Your salespeople must be on the lookout for pain points and offer guidance where prospects and clients likely aren’t aware they need them. All the while, they must be able to offer reassurance. While being friendly with clients is good, helping them is where you provide true value.
You can conduct sales training in-house or outsource it to a professional to train individuals or entire teams on best practices and how to navigate situations. Even giving specific guidance in one-on-ones will help tailor training to specific salespeople to address their needs and help them thrive.
Maintain Contact with Clients Through Downturn
Keeping in touch with clients through economic downturns and being empathetic to your cause helps your business develop a relationship and establish trust.
By keeping up with clients during times of financial vulnerability, when tides inevitably change, you will have a foundation to make sales later in the line. Even if you can’t make a sale yet, developing long-term client relationships will increase the chances of future sales.
Periods of an economic downturn are a fragile process of keeping a company afloat. While some businesses will slam on the breaks and go into strict saving mode, others will hold tight but still make cautious investments.
Still, more clients will carry on a usual, barely taking stock of the state of the economy. Your salespeople must navigate this carefully, determining which camp clients will fall into and adjusting your messaging accordingly.