Sales

How to sell better in uncertain times

Sue Barrett /

Here we go again.

Global disarray, government elections, political scandals of betrayal and corruption. How do we keep our head when everyone else is losing theirs? How are we supposed to lead business and keep selling better when there’s a general feeling of uncertainty that makes decision-making so difficult?

There are those of us who have been in business for some time now. Many of us have been through a few major crises, such as the GFC and the major recession we had in the early-1990s. Things weren’t pretty, for sure, and yes, there was a lot of pain. But back then, the smart business owners didn’t go under the doom and gloom feeling like everyone else. Instead, they looked at their markets, situation, people and offerings, and refocused and doubled their efforts to go to market in a proactive, positive manner, looking to build really effective and strong relationships with new and existing clients.

They didn’t sit there waiting for the phone to ring or the crisis to pass.

Selling in the good times is easy, it’s only when things get bleak that the good salespeople really stand out. Even in down markets, there is opportunity.

So, how are we going to sell better in these uncertain times? Here are some tips.

For sales managers

1. Sales strategy and operations audit

Do an audit on your current sales strategy and operation. Does it suit the current market? Does it need tweaking or an overhaul?

Involve senior management, marketing, and key people in your sales team to develop a sales strategy that will deliver the results you need and de-clutter your sales operations.

2. Market segmentation

Move from broad to micro. Look for where the pockets of value and growth lie within markets and kit your sales force up to sell real value in these micro-segments and own those spaces. If there are commodity segments then run your sales efforts with the lowest cost of operation that will deliver volume sales.

3. Demonstrate a point of difference

Find your clear water where others cannot copy you for some time. Be really clear about what you stand for and make it easy for your clients to engage and relate to you.

Check your sales messaging. Is it client facing and does everyone in your sales team, at least, know how to convey this message?

4. Go-to-market plan

Give your sales team a very clear plan they can take to market and implement in their local sales plans.

5. Sales process

Make sure your sales teams have a clear and consistent sales process they can learn and apply in the field.

6. Regular training and coaching

Support your salespeople with a mix of classroom, field and online training to keep them focused and ‘sales fit’. 

7. Review, recalibrate, reconnect

For salespeople

1. Sales planning

Review your current sales plan and ensure it aligns to the grand sales strategy. Make adjustments as required and then get out there and implement the plan.

2. Client account review

Look into each account for opportunity.

Ask yourself what’s possible with this account this year? What do they want and need from you?

Don’t forget many will want support and help in knowing how to navigate in these uncertain times. Make sure it is you they turn to.

3. Prospect

Nothing happens until you get in touch with prospects and clients. Call them, get in front of them. Ignite opportunities.

Don’t wait for the phone to ring.

4. Solution selling

Bring your very best listening and questioning skills and find out what is important to your clients and prospects.

Then help them solve their problems with what you can do for them.

5. Watch who you let near your mind

Doom and gloom is contagious. Look for facts and evidence and don’t rely on hearsay.

6. Persistence

Keep on going. Do not give up. Remember selling is a quality numbers game.

Remember everybody lives by selling something.

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Sue Barrett

Sue is a selling better strategist and advisor, sales philosopher and speaker, sales trainer and coach, writer and activist. Sue is chief executive of forward thinking sales advisory Barrett and online sales education and resource platform www.salesessentials.com. Barrett develops sales strategies, standards and education that help people and businesses sell better.

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