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1. Keep prospecting when others have stopped.

When the economy is poor, your competition decreases, since some of them will no doubt choose the doom-and-gloom path and begin operating with smaller teams and a deficiency mindset. The most successful companies never stop prospecting for new business. Now is the time to build business with existing clients, lost clients and new clients.

2. Reframe your value proposition to reflect current realities.

The most successful companies have a clear value proposition or unique selling proposition: an indisputable statement of what sets them apart. In tough economic times, these companies reframe that value proposition to reflect the sector’s economic challenges. Prospects and clients will be keenly interested in any product or service that will help them weather the poor economic conditions.

3. Build client relationships based on trust.

The key to long-term success is building client relationships. What clients need most in tough times is a provider they can trust, an ally rather than someone simply looking out for their own bottom line. Now is the time to focus on strengthening relationships and growing your market share. It may even be worthwhile to lower the cost/margin of your products/services so that you can meet clients within their means and win or retain their business during the downturn.

4. Succeed through follow up and persistence.

Successful companies know that follow up and persistence win new business. When your client/prospect is cash-strapped and stressed in their own ways, they may not respond to your calls and emails immediately. Remember, they have other priorities on their mind—don’t take it personally. Gentle persistence is key in all follow-up activities. Prioritize sustaining your connection with clients and prospects, trusting in the eventual gains. This means any number of actions, including regular calls and emails, emailed meeting summaries and next steps, quotes and quote follow ups, or deliveries and after-sales support.

5. Have a winning attitude and share it with your team.

Companies with a winning attitude and a focus on success sell more, no matter what the market conditions. In tough economic times, they know the competition is hurting and how that leaves the way clear for driving new business. They know that clients have new and greater needs that they can meet. They know that a positive outlook wins every time.

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