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Increasing sales in troubled economic times

What advice do you have for sales people who are struggling during these troubled economic times to find and sell new customers? - by Community Mailbox
My best advice is to do everything you can to absolutely maximize every opportunity that you find; since the opportunities are probably on the low side, when you get a sales opportunity, you've got to bring your best "game" to the table. There's no room for error or sloppy selling; you've got to be the absolute best salesperson you can be.

I realize this is a bit redundant, since salespeople should always do this, whether economic times are good or challenging. - by Skip Anderson
What advice do you have for sales people who are struggling during these troubled economic times to find and sell new customers?
Poor salespeople see the economy as an excuse for poor performance. Good salespeople see it as an opportunity.
For example, in my area of on-line sales training, clients are wanting to cut costs while maintaining or improving training services ... our product provides the perfect vehicle for doing so. - by TonyB
Easy, increase your prospecting activities by a factor of two. When a slow down or recession strikes, some people are still buying. There are fewer prospects than usual however; those who allow the prospect of a recession or even a slump to weaken their prospecting activities are doomed to a slump in their sales results. Even in a slump, some people are still buying. You just have to work a lot harder or smarter or both, to find them. - by Clive Miller
It would have been helpful if you had shared what Product or Service you sell and who are your potential Customers. However I'll give you a General Answer to your General Question. Go back to the Basics and continue to tweak and improve your Sales Skills. Feed Positives in your mind each day to offset the negatives in the News and in our Economy. Look at ways to work Smarter instead of Harder. Remember there are only 3 Basic Ways to increase any Business. Sell more Customers, Sell your Customers more and Sell your Customers more often. You only asked about finding New Customers when in reality you might be over looking 2 other Prime areas. - by Stan Billue
What advice do you have for sales people who are struggling during these troubled economic times to find and sell new customers?
Every opportunity, in good times or bad has to be looked at as a "Golden Opportunity'. Not because of the economy, just because we may never get in front of them again.

The approach you take may be different, because of the economy, but real salesprofessionals, know that 'doing' the behaviors they need to do, is still the key.

More sales people in your competitors organizations will give up and say "The economy is bad, so no one is buying" and do less. But that is not true.

Learn to prospect more effectively; learn new ways to get the real reason a prospect has a need for your service/product; make sure you believe in your product or service. Don't do less, do more -- while your competition is just 'waiting for the economy to turn around'. - by Paulette Halpern
First and foremost, stop reading the newspaper and listening to the news. The only bad times are between your ears.

People are still buying. Just walk in to any Starbucks if you need proof. - by Jim Klein
As others have indicated, it's important to know what you're selling.

That being said, if there's any benefit to your product/service in this down economy, discuss it. Raise why, now more than ever, your product is essential to them. How will it help them? If not now, discuss long term benefits and why the investment is worthwhile. - by sfrenkel
What advice do you have for sales people who are struggling during these troubled economic times to find and sell new customers?
Lots of great ideas already here! I love what Clive and Stan said. And Jim - inspiring message, thanks. I love Starbucks!

Can I add 1- do things differently. I have a former client who makes cold calls with friends needing similar prospects for different reasons, to businesses not affected by this economy. There are still people who are buying as Jim and others have said! a

Then 2, the Ferrari salesman who sold my husband and I our F430 is STILL doing fine. Find the niches, the people, the businesses that are least affected and get referrals to them.

And to reiterate a point made by others, 3- turn off that television and radio for goodness sake! I got sucked in this week within 48 hours! In the end I paralyzed myself and couldn't even follow up! I had to do all kinds of releasing to get into a better state. THEN I picked up the telephone and found a new prospect.

You don't necessarily have to work harder, you may have to do things differently. - by patweber
Explore new markets! Get really really creative. Do some homework on your ideal prospect. What they like. What they love. What they fear. What they know. What they don't know. What they need. Write down all your perceived obstacles (internal and external). Strategize every single obstacle. Come up with at least three action items and get moving. Nothing happens until something moves! - by Connie Kadansky
This is a problem / opportunity facing so many sales consultants today, so it's very timely. Without meaning to sound trite, and as some have indicated, if you had been engaging in daily prospecting all along (yes, even when business was rockin'), you most likely wouldn't be feeling the effects of an economic slowdown personally. Top performing sales consultants are seldom slaves to the economy because they constantly surround themselves with business opportunities.

So, what's your number? Depending on the business you're in, start with a certain number of new prospecting contacts each day. Let's use five for our example. And, remember: this is not attempting to find five people who will buy from you today; it's rather about finding five people who will NOT buy from you today - that sounds pretty easy, doesn't it? And, of course, once you have identified them, collect as much needs-based data as you can and track and follow up accordingly. And keep smiling! - by quadequick
Attitude! Attitude! Attitude!

I am a Senior Advertising Executive and my prescription for increasing sales in troubled economic times is; don't listen to all the negative and go back to the basics and the basics are this:

1. 10 Cold Phone Calls daily

2. 10 In Person Cold Calls daily

If you are disciplined enough to do this you will keep your sales funnel full all the time!

Pretty simple and pretty basic but believe me it works! - by MPrince
Focus on the 93% employed' Stop focusing on the 7% or whatever that percentage is at the time of this thread. - by rich34232
First and foremost, stop reading the newspaper and listening to the news. The only bad times are between your ears.

People are still buying. Just walk in to any Starbucks if you need proof.
I agree completely with this statement. The economy has not stopped moving - products and services are being bought and sold every day. The most important thing you can do is stay positive, be confident and convey that confidence every moment of every day.

Sales is 99% hard work and 1% luck no matter what economic situation we are in.

I plan on having my best year yet! - by Kathy Ho