How To Sell In A Recession

Written by Sean McPheat | Linkedin thumb

Recession Distress Sign. Broken Yellow Font Text. Concept Of EcoHere’s just one way on how to sell in a recession:

Knowing that tightening budgets and shrinking revenues are an issue, you can now walk in the door using this to your advantage.  During lean times, companies do what they can to become more lean and mean.  In effect, they strive to become more efficient; making use of every penny and wasting nothing.

So when customers complain of being light on cash flow, then this is the time they can least afford to waste money.  This is the time they can not afford to let things slip through the cracks. Now is the time they must plug up the holes!

Do your products or services help your customers to plug up some holes?  Do you help them save money?  If you can find anyway at all that will help them to save money or resources, then turn that benefit around and sell the money they spend without your product or service.

This is an integral technique in selling most services due to the fact that it is easier to uncover a fear of loss when selling an intangible than the desire for gain.  However, in these times, take anything and everything that you can, and reverse that benefit to show that the prospect is spending or losing money without your product or service.

Think about it:  if the main issue, the primary objection will be that they do not have the money then if you can effectively show this prospect that right now, without your product, that they are already spending MORE money than what your product or service costs — then guess what?

Prospective Customer:
“Well, it looks good, but we really can’t afford to spend any money right now.”

Sales Person:
“Sure, that’s exactly why I’m here Jo, I know you can’t afford to spend any money right now.  But every month, you are spending £1,560 on heating your warehouse.  Our new Thermo 9000 will cut that cost by 80%.  I agree, Mr. Prospect, you can’t afford to keep spending an extra £1,248 every month. Installing our Thermo 9000 right now will put about £15,000 back into your pocket.”

Turn the benefit around and empathize the tight economic conditions.  Start from the beginning—even at making the appointment:

Sales Person:
“Mr. Prospect, Lisa Johnson here with ABC Widgets? The reason I’m calling is that in these tight economic times, most companies are really feeling the pinch and simply don’t have money to spend.

Well, we have a new widget processing system that will put thousands of pounds back into your monthly budget, adding to your bottom-line and giving you more money to do your job…”

Now after an introduction like that, it is unlikely this prospect will come back and say, “We don’t have any money.”  The sales person just said that the reason she is calling is because she already knows they have no money!

The process is simple, though not always easy:

•    Take a benefit that your product or service offers to your customers.
•    Turn that benefit around to find the problem that is costing the customer money in some way.
•    Figure out the savings to the customer
•    Instead of selling the savings—sell the flip side—the costs.  Emphasize what they are LOSING, spending, wasting.
•    Stress this spending as the key—using the hard times as the reasoning

Happy Selling!


Sean McPheat

Sean McPheat
Managing Director

MTD Sales Training | Image at

Sales DNA

Originally published: 10 December, 2008

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