Unless you’ve insulated yourself from any and all news over the past several weeks, you know that markets are in turmoil right now as the global economy enters a (hopefully temporary) period of uncertainty.
While the economy may ebb and flow, salespeople can’t just throw their hands up in frustration – they need to keep things moving forward. However, selling when times get rough can be more complicated than when everything is moving up and to the right.
Thankfully, there are some things salespeople can do to adapt and stay ahead of the curve. Here are six tips that may help:
1. Stay calm and look at the big picture
You can’t sell scared. Prospects know when you’re nervous and they can sense when you’re desperate. When things feel uncertain, take a step back and look at the big picture. What would the person who you’re going to be a few years from now advise you to do? The answer is likely to stay the course and keep calm. Make sure you listen.
2. Don’t try to gaslight
When talking to prospects, never attempt to minimize or disregard their concerns, especially during periods of uncertainty. They might feel differently than you do about the seriousness of the situation, and you won’t be doing yourself any favors by trying to convince them they’re overreacting, even if they might be. If you want to sell, you need to focus on empathy and understanding, and avoid being dismissive.
3. Focus on what you can control
Unfortunately, you have no control over macroeconomic trends, public health policy, or consumer behavior. However, you can control what you do on a day-to-day basis: the number of people you get in contact with, the quality of your professional relationships, and how prepared you are for sales presentations. Trying to control things you have no power over can drive you crazy. The antidote is to focus your energies on what you can control.
4. Offer certainty
During periods of turmoil, people appreciate some semblance of certainty. Of course, you should only offer certainty when you’re personally able to deliver it. This means certainty about what your product or service does, how quickly you can deliver it, and no discrepancies about its price, both short-term and long. Try to be a reliable option for your prospects, because they’ll appreciate it.
5. Prioritize cost savings and value over nice-to-haves
When things get a bit rough, frivolity usually takes a backseat to the fundamentals. From a seller’s perspective, this means that the additional nice-to-haves become less important than the overall value of the product. If your product or service solves an important problem, or offers something new, then make sure you stick to that core message, rather than focusing on the shiny bells and whistles that tend to impress.
6. Be more patient with people
Whether you’re a person who gets flustered easily or not, rough times can offer an opportunity to be more patient with others. Patience, and the ability to listen, are some of the most valuable skills in sales, and they become even more critical in periods of uncertainty. Do your due diligence, listen carefully, and follow-up regularly, but try to understand that some people might require a little more patience than others.
Related: 6 Myths Too Many Salespeople Believe