You remember the last recession - the great recession - right? I remember that in November of 2008, the business stopped coming in as if someone had turned off the faucet. Bam! We lost a third of our revenue overnight - and we were prepared for it! I predicted the last recession as early as September of 2006 with this article and in the summer of 2008 with this article.
In my business, I can see two trends ahead of others and I began seeing both of those factors begin to kick in last month. Do you know what they are?
The first is sales candidates. For about two years, there has been a very significant shortage of great candidates. But that began to change last month, when in the areas where it has been most difficult to find good sales candidates and sales management candidates, we are now beginning to see more of them express their interest. Why? Things are not looking all that rosy where they are working and they are out ahead of the curve looking to make a change.
The second is spending freezes. We are starting to see the larger companies put all unnecessary spending on hold - they are hoarding cash again - and when that happens, the economy stops growing, begins to shrink and bam - we are in a recession.
I sure hope I'm wrong, but the signs tell me I'm right. So what does this mean for you? These are the top 5 things you must do right now:
- You had better sell your ass off while you can because we just might have another 2-3 year dry spell. It's not a coincidence that by the time the 2008 election took place, we were deep into it. And what's coming up at the end of 2016? Right. And with the way the election is shaping up, our choices might not be the ones that we had envisioned. If things continue the way they are heading, the choice will be the guy who is bad for business or the guy who is bad at being presidential. (Just an observation, not a political stance!)
- You must be better at differentiating, selling consultatively, selling value, qualifying and closing than ever before. On the line are the opportunities sitting in your pipeline today. If you fail to get them closed because you skipped a step or two, or you accepted a put-off, you might not get that business closed until 2019!
- Prospect like never before. Get every possible new opportunity into your pipeline while prospects are still willing to meet with you, talk with you and share with you. Then see #2. The window won't be open for very long.
- Salespeople who do OK when things are good, tend not to do so well when things take a turn for the worse. If you have any salespeople that suck when it comes to getting people to spend money when they don't want to, then now is the time to get them trained. Do not put this off. Training for reasons like these is not a nice to have, it can mean the difference between killing it in a recession and being killed.
- Coaching!! Sales leaders must become masters at coaching - now - because the one thing that can make a difference is constant, effective, non-stop, coaching. Impact every opportunity. Grow every salesperson. The timing is perfect as my top-rated annual Sales Leadership Intensive is coming up in May. Attend this comprehensive two-day coaching extravaganza and you should be able to coach your salespeople through a recession.
Get ready because here it comes!