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Selling Staffing Solutions in a Recession

The US economy continues to falter and many pundits are now predicting a "larger downturn" than expected ... and just because they say that, then of course it will happen! It is amazing that once that downward spiral starts, how it feeds on itself.

So, it occurs to me that many salespeople, across all industries, will be starting to talk themselves into a funk too. They will be lining up their excuses and "worrying themselves sick" because clearly this is not going to be a good time for them.

The staffing industry will certainly be impacted by a slowdown, because one of the great benefits of the flexible staffing model is that clients can reduce headcount quickly, and relatively painlessly, as needed ... and of course, as companies see all this talk of recession they will batten down the hatches and ensure that the recession does happen, by cutting costs!

What, therefore, should the staffing sales person do? Throw their arms in the air and bemoan their fate? Start collecting excuses for the boss? Cut back on spending because they feel a personal recession coming on?

None of the above! Here are some facts about an economic downturn or recession ...

1. A large percentage of your competitors will be throwing their arms in the air!
2. Your clients still need to get business done.
3. In fact, when clients have things to do they don't necessarily want to grow permanent headcount, so staff augmentation is a great answer.

Here are some tactics for winning business in a tough economy.

1. Meet more people ... the more people you meet, the more you will know about the market. Meet clients, candidates, other people in your space, partners, suppliers etc.
2. Ask them what they are seeing? Where is there action? Who is hiring? What upcoming projects do they know about? Who hired their friends recently? Understand the market and you can use it for yourself, but also as a value add to your clients!
3. Strategize with your management and colleagues regularly ... pool your knowledge and ensure that as a team you understand where the opportunities are.
4. When you have opportunities, make sure you are as responsive as humanly possible. You need to increase your "close percentages" when you have less opportunities.
5. Keep positive ... it is easy to get dragged down, and that affects your own productivity and the productivity of those around you.
6. Set goals and beat them ... then stretch those goals and do it again! If you "float and hope" then you will eventually sink! Goals give you something to shoot for and something to measure against.

A down economy is an opportunity, because so may others will not put in the effort. Its not easy, but it is doable ... and when you come out of it you will be stronger than ever. Oh by the way ... there will be a few less competitors around after a downturn too!