Lessons from the Last Economic Crisis for COVID-19

Braveheart Sales Performance turns eleven years old on March 25.  So, if you do the math you will realize that we started the company in 2009.  Smack dab in the economic aftermath of the Great Recession.  Sure, it was risky.  But it seemed less risky at the time than placing my future in the hands of executives of large companies.  And, I knew there was a need for our services.  Boy was I right.  More than I ever expected.

During the recession, it became painfully obvious that many salespeople were not skilled sellers at all.  They were merely product pushers and order takers, but the demand was so great prior to the recession that anyone could sell anything.  We have been experiencing similar times of late.  The economy has been so incredibly robust that revenues keep going up.  Mediocre salespeople are easily selling, and companies are thriving.  Oh, how quickly we forget.  Many companies have hung onto inferior salespeople longer than they should due in part to the fact that it has been very hard to actually find and hire the right salespeople.  Salespeople everywhere are fat and happy.  Other company leaders have slacked off on accountability measures and coaching because all is well.

So, we get smacked in the face with the COVID-19 pandemic.  Unfortunately, not only will budgets be cut, and spending will slow, but many companies will be disappointed to learn that the salespeople they had are merely imposters.  They are just order takers disguised as salespeople.  And many sales managers will not know how to cope and inspire and coach their teams to success in these uncertain times.

The good news is that salespeople will be available, but you must be precise in your selection.  You will have a better opportunity than in recent times to be selective.  Be certain to choose only those salespeople who will be successful getting your prospects to spend money with you now.  You need the sellers who can differentiate your products and services and differentiate themselves based on the needs of the customer.  Take a FREE test drive of a key component of our process to help select the right salespeople using science and data.

What we found in the 2009 – 2010 time period is that it is really hard to turn account managers or order takers into strong successful hunting and closing salespeople.  And, many managers won’t know how to lead their teams to execute during this tumultuous time.  Many of the sellers and managers out there today, were not selling during the last recession, and more still were not around for the economic wasteland following 9/11.  They will not know what hit them.  They will not know how to react, and they will not know what to do to make it through successfully.

Therefore, now is the time to train and coach.  Let me repeat that.  Now is the time to train and coach.  Sure, we are a training and coaching business so you might be suspicious of my motives.  But I have lived through an economic crisis and have learned that sellers need guidance.  Managers need guidance.  Everyone needs to be held accountable to the items they can control which are their attitude and mindset, and their activity.  And, if they aren’t skilled at getting a bigger piece of the pie, they and the business will suffer gravely.

Now is the time to focus on maximizing the ROI of everyone on the sales team, something we’d be happy to help with.  You may also be interested in this article I wrote a couple of years ago when there was a growing concern about an economic downturn.  “What Can You Do to Boost Sales in a Sluggish Economy?”