7 Selling Strategies to Boost Sales in a Tough Economy


Soaring job losses, falling stock prices, and rising foreclosures of companies – all signal towards economic meltdown. A sense of uncertainty prevails in the market and the companies suddenly become identical to sinking ships. A tough economy tests the organizations and separates the successful ones from the doomed ones.

In such tough situations, organizations have two options. They can either give in to the tough economic conditions and accept fate by pulling back the efforts or keep selling in a tough economy through well-crafted resilience.

A company that can turn the rough economic times to its advantage is the true example of a successful company. By re-strategizing, focusing on the limited opportunities and optimally utilizing the restricted resources, companies can make the most of it even in the adverse economic situation.

It is, therefore, important to know the secrets of selling in a tough economy to keep going in gloomy times and come out successfully.

1. Keep Prospecting

During difficult economic circumstances, some of your competitors might choose to trim staff, cut costs, and work with a deficiency mindset. This might also include cutting down on lead generation investments. Meanwhile, they are bound to lose some of their existing customers. 

However, this is where these organizations make the biggest mistake. By stopping lead generation and losing existing customers, your competitors eventually lead towards declination. 

Selling strategy - keep prospecting

Hence, in such a situation, the survival of the fittest theory comes into play. While keeping your head held high, gear up to engage your existing customers more, regain your lost customers, and invest to increase your market share.

It is time to open new divisions, offer discounts, and strengthen relationships with your existing customers. You need to strive hard to fix your issues with your lost customers and work on improving your problems with them by demonstrating the changes that you have inculcated in your system. Further, be ready with a magnifying glass and keep searching for new prospects and the lost customers of your competitors who have given in to the difficult times.

2. Re-define Your Value Proposition for Selling in a Tough Economy

The Value proposition is a benefit that sets a company and its product apart from the others available in the market. A tough economy is a time when every prospect and customer will be monetizing every product they come across. Money matters more than anything else does.

Therefore, the product with the minimum value usually wins the race at such times. However, lowering prices is not always a solution for selling in a tough economy, instead re-defining value proposition is.

Redefine Value Proposition

Your product might be less bulky than that of your competitors. You might be providing an extended one-year warranty. Your service center might be more easily accessible to the customer or the primary benefits of your product might be more essential for your customer rather than that of your competitor’s.

Stay vigilant and keep evaluating your customers. Keep yourself abreast of their problems and challenges and see how you can address them by re-framing your value proposition.

3. Modify Your Sales Pitch

No matter how slow the economy is, many customers continue to buy, at least a million of them. You need to remember this. However, decision-makers surely change the way they evaluate products.

Hence, you need to change your pitching as well. Your prospect might no longer show interest in your business, duration of your business in the market, or any such thing. Instead, focus more on your prospect’s challenges that are in conjunction with your re-defined value proposition. 

modified sales pitch

Tell them exactly how your product can benefit them. If it is cost-effective as compared to that of your competitor, tell them exactly how much. If your product can increase the productivity and efficiency of your prospect’s employees, tell them how.

Communicate clearly to your prospect about the solution you have to their challenges and believe that they are still buying products, but only those that they feel are worth it.

4. You Need to Shift Your Focus on Productive Industries if You Want to Sell in a Tough Economy

This point may or may not help you for selling in a tough economy depending on the nature of your business and diversification in your company. However, if practiced, it can help you the most in keeping your ship sailing.

A troubled economy doesn’t affect the whole market equally. There are some industries that remain unaffected or less affected by an economic slowdown than others are. For example, the Great Depression of the 1930s affected industries like construction, agriculture, and mining more than the other industries.

to sell in tough economy you need to shift your focus on more productive industry

This particular factor can help organizations that want to sell in a tough economy. If your product range allows, you can shift your focus more on the industries that are less influenced by economic trouble.

This will help you in two ways. Firstly, you can avoid wasting your time and effort in the wrong direction. Secondly, your new business gains from the other industries can help you make up for the losses that your company faces from those that are facing a severe slowdown.

5. Cost-cut Carefully

If at all you need to trim your expenditure, do it very wisely. Try not to cut down on expenses incurred on staffing, lead generation, and marketing. If you start cutting on investments that help you bring business, you gradually lead your company towards closure.

cutting down on cost wisely to survive the tough economy

It is, although, better not to cut on expenses and instead take economic slowdown as a motivation to work harder to increase market share and gain more business. However, sometimes, it becomes crucial for the survival of an organization to cut on certain costs.

If at all cost-cutting becomes essential, it is advisable to cut costs that do not impact the business directly. Some of the changes that can be done are –

  • Shift from physical office to virtual office concept
  • Hold or postpone certain projects that need huge investments until good times
  • Seize big research or training programs for employees
  • Encourage your teams to get in touch with each other as well as customers (as far as possible without affecting the business) through free VOIP calls

6. Keep Up The Spirits

A slow economy can create panic and risk of foreclosures in the market. This can generate a depressing environment within a company. However, if this starts reflecting in the cold calls or other discussions of the salespeople with their potential customers, it is noticeable to them.

A tough economy is a time when the management and the salespeople of the company need to keep their calm and work harder to overcome the challenges. Everyone needs to have a winning attitude with a positive outlook towards driving new business.

keeping up the spirit

Since tough times hurt the competition, companies should re-plan their strategies to get new prospects. The key to keeping afloat and selling in a tough economy is to stay motivated.

7. Believe in Yourself

In the tough times of dynamic market and economic uncertainties, the only asset you can rely on is YOU. Do not let a short duration of economic slowdown become a hindrance to your growth and career. Do not let external factors rule your destiny.

Believe in yourself. If you are lucky to get some free time for yourself during the tough economic times, sharpen your saw by fine-tuning your sales skills. Join sales training and leadership programs, and read more to keep yourself updated on sales tips and tricks.

you need to believe in yourself to sell in the tough economy

To get through these difficult times, you need to keep selling in a tough economy. Moreover, you need to refine your skills of asking tough questions to reach to the core of the problems that your prospects are facing. They are more likely to resist buying. However, if you know how to address the changing needs and buying processes of your prospects, you are going to emerge out as a winner.


Selling in a tough economy is just a matter of skill. For good sales performers, the economy can never be an obstacle. There are people who are so determined during tough economic times that they end up taking more cheques at home rather than those during good times.

One more thing that can help you sail smoothly during a slow economy is taking help from a B2B sales and marketing consulting firm. B2B sales and marketing consulting firms have a team of experts who can help you implement every point discussed above in an efficient way.

These B2B consulting firms have a strong background in market research and analysis, which helps you know what should you do next and how. They also have an extensive sales experience of selling in various challenging situations and economies that can help your organization pass tough times quite efficiently.