Selling In Difficult Times

By: Thomas Young

There is no question there has been turbulence in business recently.  Just pick up a business paper or listen to business news broadcasts to get the facts. Many companies are struggling and their sales are down considerably.  Yet, business must go on regardless so sales and marketing efforts become critical.  How does one approach these tasks during difficult times?  Here are a few ideas that can help.

Check Your Attitude

The first step is a reality check. Is it really a slow or difficult time? Or is it a self-fulfilling prophecy? It is very easy to believe that the economy is going poorly and in doing cause your business to suffer.  The most important thing you can do is maintain a positive attitude and focus on the needs of your customers.  This is the time to work smarter and focus on the fundamentals of sales and marketing.  Remember, many businesses are prospering in today’s’ business climate.  Work harder on the fundamentals and you may have to market and sell to more prospects.

Adapt Your Target Market

Change or modify your target market.  A friend of mine owns a company that builds custom circuit boards.  He recently told me that his business was experiencing a severe slow-down and that he may have to close in six months.  Computer manufacturers were not ordering circuit boards as they once did.  When we spoke a few days ago his business was booming.  He explained that security companies and defense contractors were growing and needed his custom designed circuit boards for their high-tech equipment.  His current challenge is to find good people to help him handle the new business.

Ignore the Media

The media needs to attract an audience so they can sell advertising.  They do this by targeting people’s emotions, especially fear.  Remember this as you absorb the latest news. Keep an objective mind and remember you are observing the media’s version of business.  They often have ulterior motives, which may lead to distortions and negative emotions that can derail your sales and marketing efforts.

Reports about the economy can also be misleading.  The media usually does not report all the facts. They tend to focus on the negative side and only report positive news if it is a big story. Negative information will sell more papers because it plays on people’s fear. An example of this is retail sales figures. The press will report same store retail sales are down from the previous period, but not mention the fact that there are more stores in the area!  Also, job cuts get full attention, but how often do you read about new jobs being added?  The media will focus on the loss of jobs because it sells, rather then who is hiring and where jobs are being created.

People Love to Buy

Americans love to shop and buy no matter what the economy is doing.   This is true in both business-to-business and consumer marketing and sales.   Consumers love to buy that new gadget or item that makes them feel good.   Smart businesses’ are always looking to invest in products and services that help improve their business.

Keep an eye on your own reaction to news about the economy or business in general.   There are many opportunities available to those who stay positive and focus on sales and marketing fundamentals in turbulent times.

Tom Young, MBA is president of Intuitive Websites, a sales training and marketing consulting firm helping companies increase revenues. He can be reached at 719-481-4040, or email at  [email protected]. For more articles like this one, visit his web site at

For more information contact Thomas Young:
[email protected]
326 All Sky Drive
Colorado Springs, CO 80921