What’s Your Recession Strategy?

Two stories from earlier this week.

I was at a networking meeting where everyone in attendance was expected to stand up and give a commercial that would describe to everybody else in attendance who they’re looking to meet. Someone who works in the real estate industry stood up and said, “What I really need is someone to fix this economy!”

I was at a trade show on Wednesday talking with a CEO and asked, “How’s business?” He leaned in and whispered, “We’re up 48%.” Me: “Holy cow!” He then spent the next few minutes telling me all the things that he and his employees started doing months ago to make sure that the economy was an opportunity, not an obstacle.

What’s the difference between these two? The first guy blames everyone and everything else except himself for his failure. He will not accept responsibility. He’s a crappy salesperson. He doesn’t differentiate himself. He’s got what he’s got and may lose it this year because his competition IS working to take his clients away and his reaction is to worry that they’re going to.

Meanwhile, the second guy is DRIVING his company and up 48%!

So, what do you think would happen if I asked the first guy if he wanted my help? Would he say, “Yup, I know it’s me and I need to change. Here’s a pile of money.” or would he say, “Bad economy. No sales. Might be going out of business.” I’d be tempted to say, “Some people think that might be a good thing.” and direct him to this post.

Remember this post? Mr. First Guy figures that if he doesn’t admit that he’s the problem, he’s not.

Incidentally, I didn’t mean to concentrate totally on the loser, but here’s something interesting. The guy that’s up 48% and I are gonna be talking shortly. Why? Because he wants more than 48%.

What’s your recession strategy. Going out of business sale? or Up 48% isn’t enough?

19 thoughts on “What’s Your Recession Strategy?

  1. I don’t know whether to feel good that you liked this one or bad that you didn’t like the other ones. Fret. Fret. Fret. OK. Done. Next!

  2. A brief glimmer of need for approval, then it was squashed like a bug! You didn’t mention if sales person #1 was in commercial or residential real estate, but I recently spoke with a guy in the commercial side who told me that he has generated a lot of activity lately with businesses who are choosing to move into alternate facilities of various types as their own response to the current economy. He has managed to find that compelling reason in many clients. Of course, I don’t know anything about that business, so it is possible he was blowing smoke and I didn’t recognize it . . .

  3. This is a great post. I am in a business that people think is economy driven. Many of my competition is complaining that there is no work and they are laying key personal off. I see it as a great way to build our company with great people. A lot of companies (Been In Business for 80 Years) think it is their right for the phone to ring and that they deserve the business because they are been around for a long time. Now they are wondering why they are not busy. I know why they are not busy it is because they have disconnected themselves and the company from the world. Networking, meeting people, and being visible during any economy help bring leads in from all areas. Also why do companies stop marketing and advertising when things get slower? This is a huge mystery to me. I keep hearing “We just don’t have the money things are slow” Well what is more expensive? Closing the doors or putting more money in advertising. The economy is not a problem!! Tomorrow is Saturday and I want you to drive by the mall and try to find a parking spot – There aren’t any but the economy is bad. It is as bad as you think it is. I feel things are just fine.

  4. My business career spans 35 plus years, which includes many recessions and economic downturns. During that time, I’ve learned that the best managed/lead company’s during good times fair the best during bad times. Why? Because they always accepted responsibility for their own destiny . . . never blamed the economy.

  5. The dicotomy you point out is very interesting. #1 is obviously not a salesperson, they are an order taker/ show you homes for sale until you buy. #2 is a Salesperson/ Sales manager. He/ she is smart to realize that the economy is making a swing and to prepare his people for it with some strategies. A huge plus that her strategies are working. He gets an extra star for realizing that if she can grow her business by 48% with some simple in-house strategies, that he can probably make even larger strides with some professional help ! Go get ’em!

  6. Kudos to Joe. I had a builder complain to me yesterday and I told them about you guys and how you’re kicking ass. The Company I work for generates 3K leads/month and plenty of the people we speak with buy each month, despite the economy. I responded to a blog comment the other day where an SEO consultant complained about us taking business away from him, “especially in a bad economy”. Good SEO consultants charge 4K/month retainer and internet marketing is a fairly recession proof business. People still buy sh*t. I’ve contacted about 50 leads in the last two days. But, I’m really sick of talking to the people like guy #1. We have a lot of realtors as leads. And I’ve yet to speak to one of them that hasn’t made an excuse about the economy. I think I might just start saying “It’s not the economy, stupid. It’s you.” The whiners are probably not going to buy anyways. It’d be better if they either admitted they sucked and need my help or just hung up on me. The next person that blames the economy. I’m just going to send them to this post and tell them to call me when they want to stop playing the victim and take control of their business.

  7. 122% of quota year to date and 28% ahead of last year. Feet don’t fail me now!! Seriously, I have a vision for my business and a take no prisoners attitude about execution! That is how you play the game.

  8. @ Joe – Elaine and I noticed that about the mall parking lots. They are busy. You and Dale work hard and work smart, recognize opportunity and that’s why you’re getting results while others starve.@ Mike – and once they get through the ‘bad times’ don’t they typically take off like a shot?@ Anonymous – plan your work and work your plan.@ Pete – When a real estate person calls, rather than call them stupid, remind them that the recession will be over in a year or two and suggest that they go on vacation to wait it out.@ Trish – exactly! You’re either working your own plan or you’re part of somebody else’s.

  9. Some people go thru life as a defeatist, what a sad way to live. They are the people who say “the glass is half empty” instead of “half full”. or “I still have a whole hour to work” instead of “I only have one more hour to go” Defeat is nothing but an education-nothing but the first step to something better- I read that somewhere- but it is true. A good salesman cannot be a defeatist–it just ain’t possible–RIGHT???????

  10. MomI really know now how Rick as been so successful. Don’t get me wrong Rick’s a hard working but man did he have a great teacher. I am wondering if you are taking applications for adoption? Just kidding my mother has the same drive and determination. Another thought I had was that you make your own day. And what I mean by that is that when you wake up and get out of bed you make the choice at that point if your going to have a great day or not. If you wake up and are not ready to go, go back to bed. You will be doing us all a favor.

  11. Rick I feel very motivated to meet your mother. I have this great feeling that it would be a great experience in my early business owner years. Her one line from her post “Defeat is nothing but an education” is so true. I was interviewing a person for a major position in our company this month and they were afraid to leave there job because of security reasons. Being a young company I offered him a package that was escalating for years to come so he would be motivated to help and see the company grow. It was a step back in pay, but 2 steps forward in his career. He was at a ceiling where he was but the package offered would have been in time well over what he has ever been paid. As I continued talking with him he kept saying things like well if you go out of business than I am out of a job. Wait a minute I was listening to these things and started to realize he was not the right person. Dale, Scott, Dave and I the four major salespeople in our company all have a few things in common. This is drive, determination, and entrepreneurial spirit. Without this you always wonder what if what if. I hate what if. I told this person that once a heard that I didn’t feel he was GoodFellas material. He asked me why and I said because you are a person who over analyzes things and will never move up because you don’t want it. I told him that you have to want things to happen, if it doesn’t work out aren’t your better than any one company really? You need to have personal self worth also. He said it is a risk. No a risk is if your get released and you sit in bed for 3 months wondering what to do. Dale and I have failed at things. We owned a hair salon that failed, we owned a sports marketing and Promotions Company that failed, and we purchase some properties that made money and others that didn’t. Did we stop working together because we failed No! We keep going. We don’t even call it a failure it was a business learning event. As for this person the offer was retracted, not what we were looking for. Very talented but very scared.

  12. Joe,Thank you for the compliment–but–at my age, just waking up in the morning is a joy. So how can I not thank my blessings. Tell your Mom “Happy Mother’s Day” from me. I believe she is blessed in her son also.

  13. Happy Mother’s Day, Mom! Stand in line boys, I have already been accepted into the family. I found this post by my “Big Brother” Rick, to be one of the most interesting. As an Executive/Leadership Coach, I have observed that the professionals (no matter what industry) who are most successful, strive toward “self-authoring” their own story. The 3 questions I always ask my clients are:1. What Matters?2. What’s Missing?3. What’s Next?They never look externally, when faced with challenges, but what can they do differently as a result. Salesperson #1 could use a good coach!

  14. Hey Rick. I’m sending this to our sales team. Handing the “recession objection” is a topic we’re talking about. Could you suggest some good questions that would help uncover that objection early in the sales process, like you mentioned to me this morning for realtors.

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