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7 Sales Strategies During Recession Time

Ajay Jay
January 31, 2024
5 min read

Without question, a recession presents tough times for businesses, as sales can often take a hit. But businesses shouldn't despair - a downturn can actually be a time of opportunity, if approached with the right strategies. In this article, we'll explore seven strategies that can help drive sales, even in a recession.

"In the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity." - Albert Einstein

Before we dive into these crucial strategies, it's important to remember one thing above all. A recession, while challenging, is a temporary stage. It's a time of market readjustment, which can lead to new realms of growth and profitability. While it's crucial to be prudent, also be open to the possibility of growth. The following seven strategies can help businesses navigate through a recession by creating value for customers and keeping sales numbers strong.

1. Use your current customers to your advantage.

Your current customers can be your lifeline during a recession. They already know and trust your business, and are therefore more likely to continue buying from you

However, you shouldn’t just rely on their loyalty. A proactive approach is needed. Here are some strategies to consider:

  1. Foster strong relationships: Keep the communication lines open. Regularly update customers about new products, deals and changes in your business. This not only shows you value them, but it also gives them reasons to continue being loyal.
  2. Offer incentives: Everyone loves a good deal. Offering discounts or incentives can encourage repeat business and build a stronger connection with your customers.
  3. Ask for referrals: Your current customers can be a gold mine for referrals. If they love your products or services, chances are they know others who would too. Encourage referrals with incentives or simply by asking. This can greatly extend your reach and potential customer base during difficult times.

Remember: It’s easier to keep a current customer than to win a new one. So, invest your time, effort, and resources in servicing your existing customers superbly and enjoy the fruits of customer loyalty, even in times of recession.

2. Prioritize nurturing your sales funnel.

The sales funnel, dear reader, is much more than a mere business tool; it's the lifeblood of your company, reflecting the buyer's journey from unaware prospect to loyal customer. Bottom line: you need to take care of it, especially in recession times. Let's dive into why and how.

Nurturing your sales funnel, essentially means keeping your potential customers engaged and interested along their journey. During a recession, this process is more important than ever. The usual strategies may not work, and you are likely to face increased competition for a potentially shrinking market. But fret not, as daunting as this may seem, there are still plenty you can do to improve your chances of coming out on top.

Why is nurturing your sales funnel so important?

Imagine your sales funnel as a garden. When times are good, it's relatively easy to sow seeds and watch them turn into healthy, revenue-generating plants. However, during a recession, the environment changes – droughts may occur, harmful pests may show up – decreasing your garden's bounty. Nurturing your sales funnel helps you combat these adverse conditions.

Note how the customers in your sales funnel, like the plants in the garden, require continual care and attention. Their needs must be met, even if those needs evolve due to changing economic conditions.

How to nurture your sales funnel during a recession?

During a recession, your customers will undoubtedly tighten their belts. It's up to you to make sure that your product or service is seen as an essential rather than a luxury. Here's how to do it:

  1. Pivot Your Offerings:
    Take a hard look at your products/services and consider if they fit into your customers' current needs and budgets. If not, it may be time to pivot. Can you create or alter a product to better meet the needs of a recession-hit market? Often, this requires creativity and flexibility, but it can result in a more robust business model that withstands economic fluctuations.

  2. Deepen Engagement:
    Customers need to feel valued especially during tough times. Make a real effort to engage with them. Whether it's through personalized emails, social media, or virtual events, find ways to interact with your customers in genuine, non-salesy ways. This will help foster loyalty and brand preference.

  3. Reassure Customers:
    In uncertain times, it's important to communicate clearly and honestly with your customers about what you're doing to navigate the downturn, and how it impacts your services. This transparency can foster trust, reassure customers, and maintain a stronger connection throughout the recession.

  4. Maximize Value:
    Show customers that you provide the best bang for their buck. They are looking to maximize every dollar, and showing them how your product or service offers superior value can help sway their decision in your favor. Remember, it's about showing value, not dropping your price.

  5. Train Your Sales Team:
    Prepare your sales teams for the unique challenges a recession brings. Providing them with the necessary tools, techniques, and scripts to pivot their sales approach and handle objections sensitively and effectively will greatly help in maintaining sales performance.

All said, navigating sales during a recession is no easy feat; it requires strategy, flexibility, and a deep understanding of your customers' changing needs. But armed with these tactics, you can maintain – and even grow – your sales during a recession.

3. Evaluate your pricing.

When recession hits, consumers become more cautious with their spending. This can be a challenging period for businesses, especially when trying to maintain sales figures. One critical strategy to consider during these times is evaluating your pricing. Now, you might ask, "How can I do this without crippling my profit margins?" That's a valid concern. Let's unpack some ideas to help you keep your sails afloat during choppy economic waters.

Survey The Market

Start by taking a close look at your current market situation. Are your competitors adjusting their prices? What do consumers expect in terms of pricing? Getting answers to these questions will give you valuable insights to inform your next move. It's essentially an act of balancing the scales between supplying what your audience can afford and preserving your bottom-line.

Experiment With Pricing

Never underestimate the power of experimentation in a time of crisis. This could easily be your opportunity to discover a pricing model that works in this new economic environment. Try out different pricing strategies such as discount offers, flexible payment plans, or bundled products.

Remember, while the goal is to maintain or even increase sales, consideration of customer perception is key. You don't want to give an impression of desperation or compromise the perceived value of your product/services. A smart pricing strategy should reflect the quality of your offerings while maximizing customer value.

Communicate Value, Not Just Price

Recession or not, people are more inclined to buy when they perceive a high value on the product/service. This means making your offerings appealing beyond just the price. Perhaps you can highlight the lasting benefits or throw in complimentary services. During a tough economic period, communication plays a vital role. Keep your customers in the loop about changes and reassure them about the continued quality and value of your offerings.

In conclusion, it's not about drastic price cuts, but strategic pricing decisions in line with consumer expectations and values. Evaluating your pricing helps you stay competitive, keeps your customers happy and most importantly, ensures your business remains viable in a downturn.

4. Use data for better insights.

You're constantly surrounded by data, in fact, it's estimated that there are 2.5 quintillion bytes of data generated each day. But, we often overlook its potential in driving our business forward. Especially during a recession, data becomes your best friend. So, how can you use this wonder tool effectively?

Understand Your Customer

Sure, you know how much your customers are spending, but do you know why they are buying? Recessions can change buying trends and patterns drastically. Use data to delve deeper into the psyche of your customers. What makes them tick? What holds them back? Knowing this helps you meet their needs more accurately, leading to higher sales.

Track Your Competitors

Though we often focus solely inward during times of economic hardship, it's equally important to know what your competitors are doing. Use data to track your competitor's strategies, movement, and performance. This will not only offer you a better perspective but also present opportunities and loopholes that you may leverage.

Be Agile

Data can also provide you with a real-time picture of your business, helping you react quickly and adapt as necessary. Market conditions, especially during a recession, can change rapidly, and businesses with agility often have a better chance of survival. Use data to monitor sales, track productivity, and gauge market trends.

Remember, it's not just about having huge piles of data, but about how you use that data. As Billy Beane, the famous baseball general manager known for his data-driven approach to building a winning team once said, "It's not about collecting data, it's about studying it, analyzing it, and translating it to wisdom."

5. Use the right tools to expand your search for prospects.

Can you imagine a tailor delivering a perfectly-fitted suit without their tape measure or a chef creating a flawless dinner without sharp knives? Sounds unlikely, right? Just like these professionals, being a salesperson also means needing the right tools for your trade, especially during a downturn. The options are aplenty – from customer relationship management (CRM) software to social media monitoring tools, email marketing platforms, and more. These digital tools can streamline your efforts, making it easier to find, engage, and convert potential customers.

Bear in mind, however, that using technology for the sake of it isn't the goal. Each tool you employ should genuinely add value to your sales process, helping isolate valuable leads, improving your outreach, and ultimately leading to more conversions. Consider the following factors when choosing the right tools:

    1. The specific needs of your sales team: What aspects of your sales process need a boost? Where are the bottlenecks? The tool you include should address these issues head-on.
    2. Budget: While spending during a recession may seem counterintuitive, consider it a long-term investment. However, always ensure the tool's potential return on investment (ROI) justifies the costs.
    3. Ease of use: A tool is only useful if your team can use it effectively. Choose tools that are intuitive and offer good customer support.

    Once you have the right tools in place, you'll be better equipped to search for prospects, scale your sales efforts, and weather the economic storm.

    Use PreSkale to leverage from recession!

    6. Break out of price-driven sales cycles.

    Often, when faced with a recession, you might be tempted to get caught in a never-ending cycle of dropping your prices. This may bring you back some immediate sales, but it's not a sustainable strategy. Instead, it's time to break out from this routine and focus on the underlying value that your product or service offers.

    In a challenging economy, customers look beyond the price. They seek assurance, value, and a relationship with the brand they can trust. They want to know that their investment - however small or large - carries worth, is safe, and will yield returns. They are more than just price sensitive; they are value sensitive.

    Remember: You're not just selling a product or service. You're selling an experience, a solution, a peace of mind. Your strategy should reflect this understanding.

    So, how can you break from the price-centric cycle?

      1. Understand Your Customer's Needs: Do your research and gain an in-depth understanding of your customer's problems and their measure of value.
      2. Emphasize the Value Proposition: Make it crystal clear what benefits the customers will gain from your product or service. Communicate this value proposition in various stages of your sales process.
      3. Build Relationships: Invest in building a meaningful relationship with your customers. Show that you care for their needs, and you're with them for the long haul. Their loyalty could prove invaluable during tough times.
      4. Deliver Exceptional Service: Go above-and-beyond in providing top-notch service that exceeds expectations. In a price-sensitive market, superb customer service can often tip the balance in your favor.

      So there you have it. Breaking out of price-driven sales cycles isn't about disregarding price altogether; it's about shifting your focus towards delivering value, and pricing in a sustainable manner that respects this value.

      7. Focus on planning, not selling.

      In the midst of an economic downturn, it's understandable to want to boost up your selling efforts. Every sale seems like a lifeline in turbulent waters. However, contrary to what might seem intuitive, this might not be your best course of action. Instead, now might be the time to shift your focus towards planning for the future.

      What does it mean to 'plan' instead of 'sell'?

      When we talk about focusing on planning, we're referring to a more strategic approach towards managing your business. This is about stepping back from immediate sales actions and looking at long-term growth strategies. It's about identifying trends, predicting future market conditions, understanding customer behavior, and planning marketing and sales strategies accordingly. But why should you prioritize planning over selling? Let's delve deeper.

      Understanding the Benefits of Planning over Selling

        • Better customer relationships: When you're not just focused on making a sale, you have the opportunity to build meaningful relationships with your customers. You can understand their needs and concerns better. This builds trust, and trust is more likely to lead to consistent sales in the long run.
        • Economic preparedness: Planning helps you predict potential challenges and prepare for them. With a good plan, you'll be more resilient if the economy takes a hit. This can be especially beneficial during a recession.
        • Strategic actions: Planning ensures every action you take is aligned with your business goals. While selling might bring immediate profits, planning cultivates a roadmap for sustainable growth.

        How to effectively focus on planning

        So, how can you shift your focus from selling to planning? Start by analyzing your business and its performance so far. Understand what's working and what needs adjustment. Take into consideration your customers' feedback and monitor market trends closely. Don't shy away from experimenting with new strategies or making necessary changes. Remember, the goal is to be resilient and adaptable, with your sights set firmly on future success.

        How PreSkale Can Help

        PreSkale offers essential tools for businesses to navigate a recession effectively:

        • Automated Activity Tracking: This feature records every customer interaction, providing insights for personalized communication and optimizing the sales process.

        • Centralized Product Gap Management: It helps in identifying and addressing product gaps quickly, ensuring offerings remain relevant and competitive.

        • Advanced Data Analytics for Revenue Teams: PreSkale offers specialized analytics for strategic decision-making, crucial in identifying revenue opportunities and efficiently using resources during challenging economic times.

        In essence, PreSkale enhances a business's adaptability and success in a recession by improving sales visibility, managing product gaps efficiently, and providing valuable analytical insights

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