Making Sales in Tough Times

by Tom Hopkins

The best way to sum up a strategy for succeeding in uncertain economic times is a very old saying, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” When business as a whole slows down, many business people say there’s little they can do to change the market and they have to just ride it out.

If that’s the way you think, let me ask you this, where would we be if we all thought that way about our planet? Simple awareness and desire in millions of people to see improvement in the way we care for our planet is beginning to show positive signs. The gloom and doom projections for the destruction of the earth, as we know, it are being altered by you and your neighbor recycling aluminum cans, glass bottles and paper products. If you can make a difference in something as major as saving the planet, there is definitely something you can do about the effects of a business slowdown.Tom Hopkins

The key to finding success within crisis lies in how well you handle what is happening. Succeeding or failing primarily depends on your attitude-and this is never more true than in challenging times.
In the good times we don’t pay much attention to our attitudes, but challenges are constant in our lives. In business, the economic climate is always changing. For much of the time, the changes that take place are caused by outside factors that we’re powerless to control. However, we can control how we react to a situation.

The challenge with many companies and salespeople is that they tend to let themselves become inefficient in good times. They see all the great business they’re doing today and fail to continue to take care of yesterday’s business or prepare for tomorrow’s business. They make keeping on top of the latest industry news a low priority. Then, when things get tough, it’s hard for them to buckle down and become more effective. They’ve lost some of their competitive edge.

By competitive edge, I don’t mean with the competition. I mean the competitive edge within the company-to make each department the most efficient and productive it can be tomorrow versus where it is today.

When you recognize you are in a slump, sit down and analyze what you’re doing different today from when you were at your peak of performance. Good salespeople, like good businesses, keep records and know what worked best and when. They don’t just run out and randomly try new things to turn business around. They rely on their knowledge and expertise to give them a solid footing from which to test new ideas.

One of the most important elements in surviving a business slump is having your overhead under control. However, be careful not to be so thrifty that others think you’re not doing well. First and foremost, don’t cut costs in highly visible areas if possible. If you’re having a tough time, no one should be able to tell by looking at you. Continue with a high level of grooming. Take care of your briefcase and sales tools. Keep your car clean and neat. You may have to wash it yourself or hire the neighbor’s kid to do it instead of having it detailed, but that’s okay as long as it looks good. The point is to keep things looking good and eventually they will be good again.

In good times or bad, selling is still a numbers game. The salespeople who have the highest visibility make the most sales.

Another key point to remember is that if you are facing tough times, chances are many of your regular customers are feeling the pinch as well. They may consider making changes in the amount of business they do with you or changing to lower quality materials or less service. Now is not the time to let that happen. Your best accounts should be contacted weekly during tough times. Let them know you care. Give them positive news with each call. Let them feel you are in it with them and that they are important to you. Sticking by them in tough times builds loyalty. Then, when the economy swings back around, as it always does, who are they going to remember? YOU!

Successful salespeople set everything else aside when they believe that the right time to cope with a major challenge has arrived. Then, they put all their energy into dealing with that challenge. They face it squarely and get creative with their solutions.

Then, there are those who do the opposite. They ignore the challenge as long and as thoroughly as they can. Rather than taking action, they worry. When they finally decide which move to make, they often find they have already lost the opportunity.

Remember: a drop of negativity is like a pebble falling into a still pool. Its impact reverberates in all directions, spreading all the way to the outward edge of the pool. Then, it comes back. Positive thoughts or actions work the same way. By spreading positive thoughts and performing positive acts with the people around you, they will in turn share that positive thought or attitude with those they meet. Just like the pebble, the positivity spreads out until you, as an individual, have made a powerful, affect on something that you once thought was a problem too large for one person to make a dent in.

Tom Hopkins is a sales legend. Many believe that natural ability is enough to make you successful in a selling career. The truth of the matter is that natural skill, combined with “how to” training is the real secret to high level productivity. Having learned this lesson the hard way, Tom is quick to admit that his early sales career was not successful. After benefiting from professional training, he became a dedicated student, internalizing and refining sales techniques which enabled him to become the sales leader in his industry.


Tom Hopkins is the best in the world at what he does, training ordinary business people into becoming sales pros.  Want the best of Tom?  Check-out this energetic recording of Tom Hopkins and turn your commute into a money-making automobile university.


Tom Hopkins