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How to sell when your market shrinks

How to sell when your market shrinks

Or, how to sell when you’re just getting into a market

I’m writing this week’s newsletter with my mortgage loan officers and sales directors in mind. But, my advice is equally valuable to anyone selling into a contracting market (looks like there might be a recession on the horizon), selling into a new market, or a founder selling a new product.

My advice is grouped into two buckets - mindset and activities.

Mindset Shift

In my experience, you have to get your mindset right first and then dive into the activities. Our mind, our beliefs about what is possible, are often the most limiting factor. It’s what prevents us from taking action.

The market is still plenty big for you

Adopting a mindset of abundance over scarcity is huge. 

No matter how small the market is, there is enough to keep you fed. You might have to go broader or deeper than you have in the past, but there is enough.

Compressing or tiny markets are only problems for large companies trying to scale or stay at scale and out run their built in cost structure.

For the individual, there is always enough.

Ignore the noise

Turn off CNBC. Stop scrolling Linkedin. Shutoff and shut out the doomsday reporting.

Disasters draw crowds. Meanwhile, the smart (soon to be rich) people are staying focused, building and selling, as their competition is quitting.

Want proof? 

In 2006, Quicken Loans was the #12 lender in the nation, just prior to the financial crisis. Then in the midst of the mortgage meltdown, as most of their competitors imploded they kept their heads down and climbed to #1.

Want more examples? 

MailChip, Uber, AirBnB, Venmo were all built during the last recession.

Sales is 90% math and 10% presentation

Winning at sales is almost entirely math, with a little art thrown in to help your conversion rate. 

Unfortunately, most of us spend 90% of our time searching for the perfect openings and closings, the silver bullet sales script, and the ultimate guide to overcoming objections. 

That art of the sale stuff is the final inches - all useless without a scheduled appointment.

Here’s the math that will have you hitting your goals…

  1. What is your number for the month or quarter?

  2. What is your average conversion rate on a call?

  3. How many calls do you need to schedule? quota/conversion rate

  4. What is your average conversion rate from outreach/lead follow up?

  5. How many leads or prospects do you need? leads/conversion rate

That’s it. You have your three critical benchmarks. It’s math. 

Now, focus on creating the activity to hit your personal benchmarks.

Now, let’s talk about that activity.

Activities that Produce

Nothing happens without doing the work. 

Prioritize activity over all else

Don’t waste your time on: 

  • Finding the perfect leads or lead source

  • Getting the perfect CRM or setting up the perfect sales automation

  • Preparing to call or getting your sales script just right

  • Organizing and sorting your database

  • Taking perfect notes on every call

All of these kinds of activities help you scale. 

There will be plenty of time to optimize once you have deals in the pipeline.

Skip all of these kinds of activities in tight markets or if you’re just getting started. 

Spend all of your crunch time on reaching out to prospects, scheduling calls, and having conversations. 

These are the only three activities that will directly produce a closed deal.

Your database is priceless

Your database of contacts - call it a CRM, lead management system, or a spreadsheet - is the foundation of any great salesperson.

But, don’t be fooled into thinking a huge pile of names, phone numbers, and leads are going to yield sales. Closed deals still go back to the fundamental sales equation: 

Sales = Leads * Activity

You can’t create sales activity without leads and you can’t turn leads into deals without activity. Your database is the center of that equation.

Get all your leads coming into one place and then get automation working the whole database alongside your one-on-one conversations - automated email, text, and call sequences.

Never let a lead age again.

Build lots of shallow relationships

The Dunbar Number is a famously quoted number associated with relationships.

According to this 1993 study conducted by Robin Dunbar we can only maintain 150 friends. This statistic often creates a dangerous limiting belief for many salespeople.

Believing that you can only have 150 friends is not going to help you hit your monthly quota and certainly isn’t going to make you a top producer.

Stop trying to create deep relationships with your database of partners, clients, customers, and prospects. Instead, create as many shallow relationships as fast as you can.

Use systems, tools, and broad curiosity (be well read - books, podcasts, and YouTube are all easy ways to become a Renaissance Person) to give your communications a unique, personal, and interesting feel. 

Don’t yoke yourself with the belief that you have to remember everyone’s life story.

Sure, many of your clients and partners will mature into deeper relationships, but that’s not the goal when you need to put numbers on the board.

How can I help?

I know this is a tricky market transaction for a lot of you. 

How can I help?

I’ve been doing this for over 25 years and I’ve survived a lot of market transitions and one major financial meltdown.

What would be most helpful for me to cover, for you, over the next few weeks?

My Executive Brief
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