Adjust Your Sails – How to Recession-Proof Your Sales Team and Prepare for a Positive Change of Wind

Recession and inflation. Those scary words no one likes to hear seem to show up everywhere we turn.

Throughout my sales career, I experienced several economic cycles where we needed to be more resilient and creative to ‘keep the lights on.’ 

However, I also learned that downturns are not always negative – as long as we know how to navigate them. William Arthur Ward famously said: “The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.” 

So, while economic experts debate whether the U.S. will plunge into a recession, let us prepare well for another wind change. The one that will bring back prosperity and growth.

For sales teams and their leaders, two challenges stand out the most in a recession: workforce fluctuations and reluctant buyers. 

Let me share two growth strategies that address both issues and can help you build a recession-proof sales team.

1. Invest in your people 

Unstable times cause ‘panic on deck’. If you want to retain your talent and avoid the hurdles of onboarding new candidates, consider the following:

Education & career growth

Leverage those training dollars and offer your team members learning tools to expand their skills and knowledge. Then do the same for yourself. 

Showing appreciation to your team members

Modern management must think beyond performance quotas or KPIs and actively practice inclusion, recognition, and compassion. If you want to recruit, retain, and elevate people, tell them, “I see you.” Learn how in my article here.

2. Immerse yourself in your customers’ world

Downturns are perfect for drafting new sales strategies, approaches, and tactics. You’ll finally have the time to dust off and revise your old sales decks, analyze new insights, and get strategic by familiarizing yourself with your customer’s world.

Network and expand connections

Open your LinkedIn profile and tell me: do you match the person described in your ‘About section’? Have you used this space to put your best foot forward and showcase how you help your customer? Have you made your superpowers visible enough? Do you post and connect regularly? If the answer is ‘No,’ you have work to do. For inspiration, see my post about LinkedIn profile enhancement (and the results it brought me).

Deepen your customer relationships

This is a great time to learn more about customer challenges, fears, buying motivations, and everything else that falls under a client-discovery process. Also, consider connecting with your clients on another level beyond regular business contact. I’ve written about deep sales and the distinctive difference it can bring into the sales process.

Learn about industry & innovation trends

Read and watch videos of what’s hot in the industry right now and discover the emerging trends that have the potential to change how you sell. A better understanding of the big picture can put you well ahead of your competitors.


Comment below if you found these suggestions helpful and share any similar tactics you use to develop resilience. I’d love to hear more from you!


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