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Tough Times Sales and Marketing Strategies



tough times sales strategy


Even during the worst depression, approximately 20-25% of the companies in your industry increase their sales!  Are you one of them?  Do you have the right sales strategy?
In our current economic climate, many salespeople and managers are indeed looking for effective ways to boost their results.  Here is a “tough times” sales strategy list of ideas for you to consider:


Tough Times Sales Strategies

1 – BOOST THE PERCEIVED VALUE of your product or service.  During tough times, buyers have less to spend and are looking to stretch every dollar and maximize the value they receive.  The two ways to improve value are 1) lowering your prices and 2) boosting benefits your customer perceives.  Less experienced salespeople and organizations adopt the price-cutting sales strategy.  So, how can you implement a sales strategy of improving customer benefits?

  • Do some financial justification work to ensure that your customer has an excellent ROI on your product or service
  • Gain stronger prospect commitment by involving her in each stage of your sales process (e.g. having her supply financial information or talk to your references)
  • Bundle in extra products or services with a high perceived value and a low incremental cost
  • Provide additional warranties (that also have a low incremental cost)
  • Agree to lower prices only when other key concessions (e.g. longer-term contracts, higher volumes) can be obtained or if you have a low-price sales strategy


2 – GENERATE HIGHER QUALITY LEADS.  Closing rates tend to decrease during hard times.  To combat this phenomenon, salespeople and their firms will need to improve lead quality in order to obtain prospects that are more likely to buy.  Methods for obtaining better leads include:

  • Enhancing the sales qualification process by adding or refining prospect qualifiers or elevating the requirements for “A” prospects
  • Focusing on target markets and customer types in which high closing rates have been experienced. Successful firms and salespeople analyze their performance to pinpoint which market niches, sub niches and characteristics (e.g. demographics, psychographics) are common to profitable sales versus lost and unprofitable sales.
  • Upgrading your marketing campaigns and tracking the success (and cost vs. return) of each campaign
  • Meeting with more decision makers by enhancing your sales prospecting techniques (e.g. devising ways to meet with more decision makers, minimizing obstacles such as voicemail) and prospecting results (e.g. your appointment close rate, your proposal acceptance rate).


3 – ENHANCE CURRENT CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIPS.  Your best prospects are often your existing customers.  There are a number of things you can do to find more business in existing accounts including:

  • Conducting new needs assessments with accounts you’ve been selling to for quite awhile
  • Refine your sales strategy for each account
  • Expanding the number of contacts you have within your accounts and probing each one for new opportunities
  • Exploring possibilities in any divisions, other locations or firms your customers are aligned with
  • Conducting key account analyses with your peers or manager to identify or create sales opportunities
  • Identifying competitors who have a foothold in your accounts and devising strategies to displace them


Without a doubt, many companies are impacted by tough economic times.  But truly world-class companies and salespeople use adverse market conditions to beef up their sales strategy, outmaneuver competition and boost their market share.

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