Blog Posts

Navigating Uncertainty – Selling in Challenging Times

February 22, 2023

In a challenging sales market, it takes a determined sales team not just to survive but to truly thrive. Persistence, creativity, flexibility, and adaptability are the essential ingredients for business growth in difficult times.  And as sales professionals, we must see these challenges as opportunities for growth and achievement. So let’s explore tips and tactics to help your team turn challenging times into triumphant ones.
Understanding the Potential Market Challenges
Salespeople often face challenges, such as a harder time getting engagement, changes within client organisations, a fluctuating buying process, and difficulty scheduling the next steps.  These challenges, combined with broader market and organisation uncertainties, like the economy’s instability, recession, and organisational restructuring, can make managing the sales process more difficult.  However, what salespeople should realise to be better prepared is that it is not the individual challenges that make conditions tougher but the compounded impact of all these challenges. So they should focus on the broader picture.
Why Adaptability Is Essential for Sales in Challenging Times
Adaptability is crucial for selling in difficult times as it enables the team to collectively modify their methods and tactics in response to market changes and evolving customer requirements, thereby facilitating the ability to overcome obstacles and maintain sales momentum. The critical threshold in adopting the right mindset is to understand that sales teams cannot directly control macroeconomic factors or what companies do, but they can control their attitudes and actions.
Sales Tactics for Thriving in a Challenging Market
Progress is a state of mind about taking decisive and effective action and focusing on how to adapt to change. To thrive in a challenging market, salespeople need a combination of tactics to succeed.  Here are a few that can help your sales team:
Understand Your Customers
Research and understand customer needs, pain points, and behaviours to tailor your sales team’s approach and messaging. Stay aware of changes in decision-makers and their specific priorities, and ask questions to validate changes in their objectives and goals Tailor your team’s sales content, using case studies and success stories, to demonstrate your support and align with their current priorities. By gathering a clear understanding of their conditions, your team will be better equipped to match their approach and messaging with customers’ needs.
Adopt a Customer-First Approach
For selling in hard times, it is crucial for salespeople to adopt a customer focus. This means putting the customer’s needs and concerns at the forefront of every interaction rather than simply selling products and services This starts with active listening and understanding the customer’s conditions, followed by discussing potential ways forward, and focusing on offering the best solution, even if it’s not a product or service they offer.  By adopting a customer-first approach, salespeople can establish progressive and solution-focused relationships based on trust and value, which is essential for business success in difficult times.
Utilise Technology
Technology plays a crucial role in sales and can aid salespeople in reaching, engaging, and closing deals with customers.  In uncertain times, virtual tools and platforms can enhance sales efforts, overcome market challenges, streamline work, and save time and resources.  However, it’s important to remember that technology is not a solution to all problems and must be used in conjunction with proper planning and due diligence, focusing on existing clients, learning from them, and addressing their challenges. 
Build Relationships
By developing progressive and long-lasting client relationships, trust and loyalty can be established, which is essential for success. Your sales team should focus on retaining existing customer relationships and establishing new connections through networking and referrals.  Additionally, in tough times, decision-makers can change, so it’s important to be prepared to nurture new relationships. Encourage your salespeople to also actively seek opportunities to support their customers during challenging times. Even simply asking the question, “How can we support you during this time?” can help build stronger connections and foster a sense of partnership.  Remind your sales team that people buy from those they know, like, and trust. The more a salesperson understands the challenges faced by their clients and prospects, the better they can serve them. Sharing insights throughout the sales organisation and being open and willing to learn can establish a strong foundation for successful relationships.
Stay Up-to-Date
Staying up-to-date is critical for success in sales, especially during challenging times. Salespeople should continuously monitor the competition, industry developments, and market trends to identify new opportunities.  Improving sales skills and knowledge and having an awareness of new technology are essential to maintaining competitiveness and adapting to changes in selling strategies. By staying informed and improving their skills, salespeople can seize opportunities and stay ahead in a challenging market.
Stay Agile
In a world of constant change, the ability to pivot and adapt quickly is the key to sales success. Sales teams who stay flexible and embrace change as opportunities for growth will thrive even in the toughest of markets. By embracing the unpredictable, salespeople can remain ahead of the curve and seize success at every turn. Don’t be afraid to shake things up, stay nimble, and watch your sales soar.
Embrace Progress, Drive Success
To conquer challenges, a shift in perspective is necessary. Embracing and continuously improving a growth mindset and essential sales skills, such as sales rep skills or sales manager skills, is the key to understanding the nature of challenges and opportunities Sales training programs provided by LSOS can help your team build essential skills needed for sales and adopt a progressive attitude. With the right tools and sales strategies, your team will be equipped to tackle any challenge and drive success in even the toughest times.  Discover LSOS’s sales training programmes today, unleash your team’s potential to create a difference, and watch as success follows.