Recession Aftermath

By Cindy Waxer

As the recession winds downs sales professionals must ramp-up their selling strategies, according to Josh Gordon. Author of Selling 2.0 – Motivating Customers in the New Economy (Berkley Books, 2000), Gordon offers these four strategies for preparing a sales force in the midst of today’s fading recession.

1. Get your sales team thinking about external opportunities.
Layoffs and restructuring put most companies in an introspective mood. But as the economy evolves, wise sales professionals will convince their clients to shift from focusing on internal issues to considering expansion.

“Remind clients that if they are the first of their competitors to jump back into expansion they will reap the largest rewards when the recession ends,” says Gordon.

Position you products as a new business generator, he advises sales reps. For example, if your product reduces costs, inform clients that they can expand sales with lower costs. If your product increases quality, tell them they can expand sales with higher quality.

2. Target entrepreneurs
It’s not uncommon for smaller, entrepreneurial companies to jump back into their markets first. Larger companies, on the other hand, are known to remain in a risk-aversion frame of mind for a much longer time period.

As a result, Gordon advises sales professionals to “target smaller companies with a strong entrepreneurial spirit. These are the ones who will be ordering more of what you sell in order to capitalize on opportunities that they see first.”

3. Target star companies.
During a recession, competitive companies move ahead. Advise your sales staff to focus more time on companies that have been using the recession to their strategic advantage. When the recession ends completely, these are the companies that will eventually emerge stronger, more competitive and ultimately as bigger customers.

4. Identify opportunity clusters
Sales professionals always should be on the lookout for market segments that stand to benefit from a recession. Lawyers, real estate proprietors, educational institutions – they often reap rewards from bad times.

“Ask your collective sales staff to identify recession growth clusters. You might be surprised. If you can identify categories of companies that have been benefiting from the recession you can target them more aggressively,” advises Gordon.

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