Selling Solutions In A Recovering Economy

Selling in a Recovering EconomyThe perception that businesses have about the economy can have a significant impact on the way that salespeople treat their prospecting and value propositions.

A sales management team needs to train their representatives to see beyond this idea, as the economy won’t always factor into their calls and shouldn’t affect the way they handle correspondence with clients.

The same is true for the representatives themselves, as these individuals have to prevent themselves from getting deterred and upset due to a large number of denials from companies that are not willing to do business.

Perception by the business

According to Heather Kivett, president of Resolution Systems, Inc., it depends on the perception that each individual company has. Some businesses are barely doing well enough to see the light, others are beginning to see positive changes and are emerging from the recession and some firms were doing fine but are now suffering.

“Supply stores tend to do well before a big hurricane, so it is important to acknowledge the nature of how a bad economy will affect the business, as companies are not equally affected,” said the executive. “Some businesses do well in a bad economy, due to the nature of what they sell. Pyschiatrists, pharmacies and mental health businesses are going to get an increase in revenue and traffic because of a poor economy.”

The perception of the overall picture for the economy is different from company to company. For some people the idea is that the economy is getting better on a daily basis, while others see things getting much worse. It depends on who a representative is selling to, and judgement has to be reserved.

According to Kivett, the most important thing is to determine where a company lies in the overall arc of the economy. If they are on the lower end and their perception is that the worst is yet to come, a salesperson should keep this in mind while prospecting.

One has to determine the perception of the decision maker in the business that is being prospected, as their opinion of where things are can shape a value proposition. They may want to invest in cost-saving measures, especially if they are short-sighted and don’t have a lot of capital to work with.

Perception of the salespeople

Some representatives become apathetic about their prospects and this can affect how they interact with customers. Certain salespeople make their value proposition only with price in order to eliminate a long conversation that will end in a denial, because they are dealing with a high volume of this negative correspondence, according to Kivett.

Other salespeople will not use the price at all out of fear that when they bring up the total money amount the otherwise positive interaction will end. A down economy shouldn’t influence the nature of the correspondence from the representatives’ side of the conversation.

Effect on managers

“A sales manager can sometimes catch heat from executives because sales are down,” said Kivett. “They tend to focus on numbers instead of activities and this can hurt the long-term strategy that a manager has for the future.”

Executives may focus on a short-term, narrow view instead of a long-term sustainable approach. This removes creativity from the hands of managers, as they are not given a chance to come up with a solution to the down economy through innovative methods or sales techniques.

Instead of working harder, longer and faster they need to come up with a new way to generate business.