The Recession Is Here — and it’s a Good Thing

Why a recession can create more opportunities than it costs.

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As salespeople, sales leaders and business owners try to navigate this next recession, it’s important to remember that tough times are good. Whether this is your first recession or your tenth, you may have felt that unsettling feeling and anxiety when the announcement was made in July. That is okay.

You may be wondering, “What will this mean for my quota?” or “How am I going to find more prospects?” or “How will this impact my paycheck?”

Balance your anxiousness with the opportunity these tough times will create. This recession creates more opportunities than it costs you. Here are nine reasons this recession is a good thing:

Recessions create cost-cutting opportunities

Nearly every organization I work with helps customers reduce their overall cost in some way. These cost-cutting measures include labor, maintenance, downtime, engineering costs, warranty costs, logistical costs and so on. Find ways to cut your customers’ costs. Initiate the cost-cutting conversation with your customer. Your customers and prospects are more open than ever to having this conversation. Tough times are good!

Use this language: “The current recession has likely prompted cost-cutting measures within your organization. Are you open to a conversation on how we can help?”

In my new book, Selling Through Tough Times, I provide 11 questions to help you uncover cost-cutting measures.

Recessions ease competitive pressure

During tough times, companies fail and flounder. It’s reality. You will face less competitive pressure from those no-good, price-selling, low-balling competitors. As these cheap competitors further cut prices, they lose more money. It’s unsustainable. Some of your competitors will fold. Their customers will need support from somewhere — it might as well be you. Tough times are good!

Recessions provide access to higher-level decision makers (HLDMs)

During recessions, companies require higher-level approvals for purchasing decisions. As companies level up their decision-making, it creates an opportunity for you to meet with that HLDM.

Also, HLDMs want to meet with other HLDMs. In uncertain times, leaders look for clarity and information, often through dialogue with other leaders. Now is an opportune time to arrange a high-level meeting with your company’s HLDM and your prospect. Tough times are good!

Recessions increase the number of decision makers

There is safety in numbers. Buyers like to spread the risk during tough times. This means incorporating more people in the process. John F. Kennedy said, “Success has many parents, and failure is an orphan.” Use this as an opportunity to expand your footprint within your opportunities. Tough times are good!

Recessions create market-share opportunities

Research shows that many organizations reduce their marketing budgets, sales forces and selling activities during a recession. Now is the time to increase your selling and marketing efforts. If salespeople increase their sales activity by 25 percent, they could effectively double their coverage vis-à-vis the competition. Use this time to gain a stronger market position. Tough times are good!

Recessions stabilize shortages

Businesses are plagued with severe shortage of product and labor, causing deep frustration for salespeople and customers. This problem will now solve itself. Businesses will find employees and product to enhance the service experience. Tough times are good!

Recessions reveal your weakness

Any salesperson can succeed with a good economy, peak demand and rising prices. These factors mask bad sales behavior. The mask is coming off. This recession reveals your weakness so that you may become stronger. You will learn how to craft a more compelling message, prepare more diligently, persuade more effectively and partner deeper with your customers. Tough times are good!

Recessions humble you

Good times bring success. That success generates an inflated sense of self. The wave of success only pushes us so far. Momentum is generated by the wave, not the individual. This is why you catch a wave, not create one. When the wave reaches the shore, you exhaustedly paddle back out. Paddling out strengthens us to catch an even bigger wave on our next ride. Tough times humble you and at the same time help you. Tough times are good!

Tough times create unique and unexpected opportunities

Good times feel great, but good times obscure our view toward even greater opportunities. When things are good, sellers lack the desire to find something greater. The sting of tough times creates the courage and desire to pursue such opportunities. Tough times are good!

Tough times are good! They’re not pain-free, but they are good. The pain and angst you experience over the next several months will catalyze the positive change you need. Fully embrace tough times and welcome the struggle. This opportunity will not last long. Since the Great Depression, recessions average about 10.4 months. Seize this opportunity today.

Paul Reilly is a speaker, sales trainer, author of Selling Through Tough Times, co-author of Value-Added Selling, and host of The Q and A Sales Podcast

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