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Master the Art of Selling in Downturns

Rising interest rates.

Regional banks imploding.

A recession racing toward us . . . better batten down the hatches, right? 


Instead of panicking, it’s time to embrace the challenge and equip your business with tactics that ensure resilience, regardless of economic conditions.

In this blog post, we’ll delve into battle-tested sales strategies designed to help your business not only withstand a recession but also emerge stronger, more agile, and ready to dominate any economic climate.

1. Embrace Pricing Diversification

And no, I’m not talking about lower revenue . . .

Instead of thinking about diversification as lowering prices, consider it as creating a range of options for different budgets.

Offering various entry points for price-sensitive customers allows them to choose a solution that fits their financial situation while still benefiting from your expertise and support. 

If you’ve only been offering high-ticket options, consider introducing more accessible alternatives. 

For example, let’s say you usually take on 100k+ projects but receive a 25k offer . . .

Don’t dismiss it as undervaluing your work. 

Instead, accept the smaller fee upfront to keep momentum and return to your standard rates for subsequent projects.

By making numerous deals and sales, you create your own thriving microeconomy, regardless of the broader landscape. As transactions flow, your confidence, emotions, and success will rise with it.

2. Enhance Value Perception

My team has been growing during this recession just fine because we are laser-focused on increasing the perceived value of our offerings. 

The more value you provide, the lower the perceived price becomes. Conversely, when value is lacking, the price seems higher. So, concentrate on enhancing value rather than cannibalizing price.

Remember that adding value doesn’t always mean spending more time or doing twice the work for the same pay. 

To increase value without lowering prices, leverage existing opportunities, connections, products, and services to create an irresistible package that customers will find impossible to turn down.

3. Increase Advertising and Capture Attention

Unfortunately, most owners’ knee-jerk reaction to a recession is cutting costs in the one area they can’t afford. 


This “the sky is falling” approach might save money in the short term, but it can dilute the very fuel that drives a business forward.

The reality is that you want to actually add more advertising, not less. 

Like the restaurant owner who approached me, concerned about the slow months ahead due to seasonal changes. He thought it was time to cut back. 

My advice to him? Do the opposite.

I encouraged him to increase his advertising budget, capitalizing on the fact that competitors were scaling back. 

By seizing this opportunity, he discovered that customers still came to his restaurant.

People still gotta eat . . . 

But they’ve gotta know that you’re open first.   

Liquidity is everywhere (even in a recession), and people will continue to spend money if they have a compelling reason to do so. 

Advertising is still the best way to provide that reason.

4. Eliminate the Bottom 20%.

Sounds harsh, right? 

It is.

And this approach might seem counterintuitive, but it’s often faster to grow by cutting things off rather than trying to add new things.

And this applies to everything – clients, team members, and time-consuming tasks. 

By trimming the bottom 20% across all areas of your business, you can focus on higher-performing activities, people, and strategies. 

This might involve letting go of clients who don’t follow instructions, drag their feet, or consume too much time and effort. 

Cut ‘em. 

Give them their money back, of course, but focus on fostering a more productive environment with less effort.

Eliminating the bottom 20% might involve making tough decisions, but it allows you to concentrate on what truly drives your business forward. 

Remember, growth can come from strategic reduction as well as expansion.

5. Harness the Power of Referrals.

When you experience something great, like a fantastic movie, you naturally want to share it with others, right? The same goes for your clients when they receive excellent service.

Get them quantifiable results and happy clients will WANT to spread the word about your business.

But it’s YOUR job to make it easy for them to share. 

While offering referral commissions might be an option, there are plenty of other ways to facilitate referrals. Provide clients with resources or tools they can share, or look to create opportunities to tap into their networks.

During a downturn, many businesses are seeking ways to connect, so be creative and explore synergies that can benefit everyone involved.

Joint ventures, collaborations, or even guest appearances on podcasts and social media groups can help increase your exposure. 

When times are tough, it’s essential to make the most of what you already have. By focusing on referrals and strategic partnerships, you can maximize your existing resources and drive growth, even during a recession.

6. Curb churn and burn.

New clients are great, but why chase ’em non-stop when you’ve already got loyal ones begging for your attention already? 

Maybe it’s time to stop the mad dash and focus on the goldmine you’re sitting on!

The dreaded churn and burn cycle is usually fueled by weak retention strategies and meh value mechanisms. 

And the easiest way to step off the hamster wheel is with a rock-solid recurring revenue model. 

With your fixed expenses covered monthly, you’ll find financial freedom and the opportunity to show your current clients the attention they deserve, instead of playing the never-ending cat-and-mouse games.

Stick with the winners you’ve got, and you’ll be laughing all the way to the bank.

The Up Side of Downturns

Drawing from my own experience, it’s essential to view recessions as opportunities rather than setbacks. When the charts turn red, get excited and embrace the challenge – it’s time to set yourself apart from the ordinary.

If you’re interested in learning more about how to make sales in any economic climate, consider checking out our Memos.

Every month, we’ll send you no-BS insights from top businesses across 100+ industries designed to equip you with the knowledge to make your business recession-ready.

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