The Six Attributes of a Recession Proof Sales Team

The Six Attributes of a Recession Proof Sales Team. While no one knows what the economic outlook will be for 2023, it’s probably safe to prepare for turmoil. And as a business owner and/or sales leader, one of the first useful questions to ask yourself would be “Is my sales organization capable of succeeding during economic difficulty and uncertainty?” If you’re like most sales leaders, at best,  you’re answering that question with an “I don’t know” or at worst, a “NO!” 

The Recession-Proof Sales Team is led by a Recession-Proof Sales Leader. Great sales teams are usually headed by great leaders. And great leaders’ teams are a reflection of them. So how great is your leader? Does your leader do everything within their power to make sure they are growing the business and achieving revenue goals? Is your sales leader an elite coach and a motivator of people?  Does your leader hold their team accountable to the behaviors, activities, and techniques that are most predictive of goal attainment? 

The Recession-Proof Sales Team has a Recession-Proof belief system. Once you control for the variables, the most important factor separating teams that thrive through economics (or any!) turmoil and teams that survive is their belief. Specifically, the decisions made related to the upcoming turmoil. When uncertainty hits, does/will your team attack the market with the limiting beliefs of “this will be hard” or “nobody is buying right now”? Or is their head filled with other self-fulfilling prophecies such as “our competitive advantage has never been more important” and “this is a time to leverage my unique talent and abilities”? 

The Recession-Proof Sales Team hunts for new business NO MATTER WHAT. The recession proof sales team sets out to get a bigger piece of a smaller pie, and they know the key to this is hunting. Their commitment to hunting is unconditional. It doesn’t matter if it’s harder. It doesn’t matter if their conversion ratios are worse. It. Does. Not. Matter. They hunt! 

The Recession-Proof Sales Team expertly sells value. The primary obstacle to selling in a recession is getting the same (or more!) money when there is less money to get. This is where value selling comes in! In the worst recession in recent memory, the GDP shrunk something like 8%. So 92% of the money that was being spent continued to be spent. I’m not an economist, but that seems like a lot of money to me. Your prospects will continue to spend money, regardless of how difficult things get for them, but they’ll make value-based decisions on what to buy and what to cut. 

The Recession-Proof Sales Team gets prospects past “nice to have.” “NIce to have” status is sales fools gold. And sales people making a living getting prospects to “this would be nice to have” are sacrificed first when things get tight. But, even in dire turmoil, things that we “need” stay. Things that we “must” have, we continue to pay for. It’s proven that one of the many factors that separates elite level sales people from the rest is their ability to get prospects to consider their products and services a “must” or “need to” have, vs a “like to” or “love to” have. 

The Recession-Proof Sales Team has unconditional commitment. There are many different competencies (and 21 core competencies) that are predictive of whether an individual or a team will succeed in sales. And, inarguable, the most important competency is commitment. Unconditional commitment cannot be stopped or even tamed. The reality is that most salespeople (and most sales leaders) are somewhat committed to doing what’s necessary, but this commitment atrophies in difficult conditions. Recession-proof leaders and teams are unconditionally committed. They WILL succeed, no matter what. And it’s this competency above all else, that is predictive of success during economic turmoil. 

Rob Lime

Connect with Rob Lime

For 25 years, Lushin has guided business leaders toward intentional, predictable growth.

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