A friend of mine is a Sales Director for a major PLC in the UK. He recently attended a dinner for Business Leaders where the guest speaker was Peter Mandelson. I asked him the next day how the dinner went and what Mandelson had to say. He said Mandelson’s most interesting comment came at the end of his talk when he said;
“It would be a shame to waste this recession.”
He’s right, it was an interesting view to have on the current economic climate; particularly when you compare it to the mainstream view in the media, where they seem to be competing with each other to paint the gloomiest picture possible. You know things are bad when the BBC designs a special logo to use on stories about the down turn in the economy.
A lot of Business Leaders I’ve spoken to who went through the last recession are viewing the current climate as an opportunity to review the way their company operates and to take a fresh look at the processes they have in place. They also don’t want to lose their best people and are looking at the options they have to ensure they retain them, and one of the most popular routes being taken is to provide them with training, coaching and mentoring input. Their logic behind this is that when the economy does start to turn round they will be ready to take advantage of the market conditions, as they did when the last recession came to an end, as their people will be better motivated and prepared.
I’ve also been speaking to a Divisional Sales Manager in the marketing world about how their sales people are coping in the current climate, surely times are tough for them? Not for their best sales people.
The top sales people are using the fact that a lot of companies are battening down the hatches to try and ride out the storm as an encouragement for their own clients to be more aggressive in the market place.
If for example a client had 20% of market share prior to the market shrinking, to retain order quantities they argue their client needs to chase a bigger part of the market that is out there. With other companies cutting back on advertising and promotion this isn’t as difficult as they might think. This is proving to be a successful strategy both for the sales people and also for their clients. The ability to identify opportunities and to recommend the best way to exploit them is what sets the top sales people apart. This creativity is also a quality that is really valued by a client and helps them to take a fresh look at their business, and often opens up potential new markets for them.
Peter Mandelson is right, it would be a shame to waste this recession. What’s the old cliche? When the going gets tough, the tough get going………
Yes times are tough, and it would be very easy to sit around and join in with the negativity, or you can generate your own positive self fulfulling prophecy.
Now is the time to review strategy, share best practise, get creative and look for new opportunities.
How are you doing this?