Sales Management

Planning for Sales Success While Facing an Economic Downturn? These Mindsets and Habits Can Help

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November 1, 2022

5 mins read

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Planning for Sales Success While Facing an Economic Downturn? These Mindsets and Habits Can Help

This is part 2 of our series about how the most powerful women in sales focus on different areas of their work and business management to win, even in an economic downturn. This post compiles their best practices and recommendations in the area of mindsets and habits.

Habits and mindsets create your fate in sales –– and in life. When tough times arrive, sales professionals may not be able to control macro events that impact their customers (such as the global economy), but they can control what they do every day and how they perceive what’s happening. So what habits and mindsets enable sales pros to remain resilient and positive even in times of crisis?

Strategies for Success During Economic Downturns

A few of our 100 Most Powerful Women in Sales (1-50 / 51-100) offer the following advice:

“Time block prospecting and follow up every week. Even though I run our business, I am the face of it and talk to buyers directly. In all my years of running the company, when I lose sight of growing the pipeline and hitting sales goals, we’ve lost revenue. When I keep focus, as we do now, with a daily standup revenue meeting and time blocks to talk with buyers, we grow and prosper. 

Additionally, having a mindset of “supportive beliefs” –– focusing on thoughts that support my goals, rather than “unsupportive beliefs” that can undermine my efforts –– is critical for success. We each determine our level of success. Mindset is a big key.” Lori Richardson, Score More Sales, B2B Sales/Revenue Growth Strategist 

“Spend more time than usual reaching out to past customers to see how the economy is impacting them, share any ideas or guidance I have that may be helpful to them, and also ask them if they have any referrals for you. When you’ve worked your behind off to help customers be successful in the past, it’s amazing how future conversations with them create opportunity. The opportunity can be with that ‘customer for life’ or through a referral they offer you.” Anita Nielsen, LDK Advisory Services, President and Owner

“Consistency has served me well during each of these tough sales situations. What I am in control of each day is my ability to source 10 new leads, make 20 more calls, or send 5 more hyper-personalized emails. By focusing on the habits and actions that were 100% in my control, I’ve consistently exceeded my quota.

No downturn can last forever (knock on wood) so in addition to consistent habits, I set myself and my prospects up for success in the future. By leading with a help-first, sell-second approach, I’ve been able to foster genuine relationships. Those relationships have been the determining factor in getting more than one deal closed earlier & at a higher price.” Leslie Venetz, Sales Team Builder LLC, Founder

“When it comes to achieving my goals during an economic downturn, it’s all about getting creative and spending more time nurturing relationships, as thoughtfulness can really help you make a difference with clients, even if they aren’t in a buying cycle. Make a note to yourself about sending your prospects something of value, or even send them an encouraging LinkedIn video based on a goal they shared, and notice how those small actions positively impact your relationships and overall performance.” Penelope Yamauchi, Vendition, Director of Candidate Experience

“Every interaction that I have with a prospect or customers needs to focus not on selling software or a solution, but on helping people solve their problems. You are no longer selling software or a solution, you are helping people solve their problems. If you can help solve their biggest challenges and can provide value, then you differentiate yourself from every other sales rep.” Liz Klebba, Snowflake, Account Executive

“Don’t spend too much time with customers not in your ICP, but rather focus on a smaller number of prospects serious about making a change from their current state. What moves the needle is finding the pain early in the discovery process, adding value specific to them, and creating a sense of urgency around making the change. ” Jill Goldworn, Annex Cloud, Vice President, Sales Strategist

“Instead of being concerned about how it’s going to negatively impact my numbers, I’m using it as an opportunity to lean into what salespeople have always been great at –– adapting, listening, and asking questions.

It invites me to rethink how I’m reaching out to people, the questions I’m asking, my tone, my call to action. Who am I really targeting? Now, I’m not saying to switch it up with everything, but it’s an opportunity to really hone in on the value you provide and to who. Push yourself, but don’t exhaust yourself to the point of no return. Celebrate early, celebrate often. Set minimum and maximum goals. Think about achieving goals daily, weekly, and quarterly to help you stay on track, but never lose sight of the bigger picture.”  Teila Evans, tEQuitable, Head of Partnership


This is the second in a four-part blog series celebrating Women in Sales Month. We asked some of the 100 Most Powerful Women in Sales their thoughts on selling during an economic downturn. We gathered up all of their learnings and included them in our new eBook: Hard Times? Double Down! Top Women in Sales Reveal Their Secrets to Navigating a Downturn.

Series tracker: 

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Justin Levy

Former Senior Director, Influencer Marketing & Head of Community, Demandbase

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