- By Chris Hondl, Nexstar Sales Coach
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are just over 16 million people who work in some form of sales. Of those sales employees, 45% are under 34 years old. That means a good chunk of the sales workforce has never had to sell during a rough economic time.
Interesting. Lately, I’ve also been hearing salespeople and sales managers saying, “Customers just don’t want to buy anymore.” I don’t think this is a coincidence.
We may be entering into unknown and possibly difficult times, sales-wise. But before we all jump into a full-on recession-prompted sales panic, I challenge you to consider these three points:
- Is your industry a “want” or a “need”?
If your industry involves “nice to have” items, such as new cars, new construction, and vacation packages, your sales may slow down as consumers contemplate purchases they need vs. purchases they want. Other industries, such as the plumbing, electrical, heating, and cooling industries, will continue to offer services that customers need. Sales numbers may be affected as consumers select more inexpensive solutions, but the majority of homeowners will not go without heat in the winter, cooling in the summer, electricity, and plumbing services. Our industry is a “need” industry.
- What is your competition doing well, and where are the gaps?
Look at other companies that sell the same thing you do. What do they do well? What do they do poorly? What do consumers want and need as we move into uncertain times?
- Are you better than the competition?
Everyone wants a silver bullet when it comes to selling in tough times, but the reality is: There is no silver bullet; there are only golden BBs. The golden BBs are the value you deliver to your customers. To sell in tough times, you just need to be better than your competition. Your customers are buying. The only questions left are: Are they going to buy now? And are they going to buy from you?
So, ask yourself this: Does your process establish with your customers that now is the best time to buy? Does your process demonstrate that you are the right person with the right company with the right solutions that can provide your service in a timely manner? Are you able to dig in and identify what your customer needs and wants? Are you continually sharpening your skills through training, coaching, ride-alongs and one-on-ones?
Tough times just mean we just have to be better. Price is only an issue in the absence of value, even in tough times.