#254: Recession-Proof Your B2B Sales Approach With This Strategy

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:00:00]:
Exercise is a key part of my morning routine. Right? Because it gives me that instant dopamine. I feel really good. For others, it might be reading a book. You might be listening to a podcast. You've gotta find a routine that works for you. So I'm delighted to have you join us for what will be another incredible episode. If you're a long time listener, thank you.

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:00:17]:
I really appreciate you joining us each and every week because I create this content to help sellers be the very best they can be. And if you're joining us for the first time, welcome. We'd love to hear what brought you to our podcast. Connect with me on LinkedIn. Tell me what you think at the end of this episode. If you like it, say, hey. I loved it. If you don't like it, say, Luigi.

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:00:34]:
Thanks. But no thanks. It's not for me. Now if you're like me and you're on LinkedIn, you're probably seeing all the posts that are talking about the economic downturn. Now I don't watch the news apart from the business news, but it's even creeping into the business news. Right? There is a lot of talk about inflation, you know, prices going up. Where I shop, shop, my local, you know, supermarket, cost me frigging $11 to buy an iceberg lettuce. Think about it.

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:00:58]:
11 dollars. Right? Fuel costs are going up. There are just a whole range of things that are impacting the economy. A lot of sales people have been let go. There's been a lot of industries that are struggling with this economic downturn. Okay? And that's having a bit of a flow on effect. It's having a domino effect. And this issue can create a lot of uncertainty for many people.

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:01:18]:
And especially if you're in sales, you know, when there is an economic downturn that could mean less sales, it could mean it's gonna be harder and more difficult for you. And that's why I wanna touch on this episode. That's what I wanna talk about because we have absolutely no control over the external environment. We cannot control the way the economy behaves. So this episode is all about really giving consideration to the things that you can control. And I'm gonna go through a number of strategies that you can implement immediately to turn a negative into a positive. So I'm really excited to jump into this topic this week. It's a solo topic.

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:01:51]:
It's me on my own. I hope that's okay. I haven't got a guest. But to give you some confidence, you know, I have sold through some some economic downturns. I have sold through some pretty tough economic environments. And I'm proud to say that those times, they did affect me, but they didn't affect my overall performance. I still achieved the outcomes that I was looking to achieve, and I bring it back to the very first strategy that I'm gonna share. Right? So let me start this week's episode.

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:02:16]:
Let me get into it. Let me talk about the strategies that, again, that you can use, that you can execute to thrive during moments of adversity.

David Fastuca [00:02:25]:
Just a quick interruption to let you know about a free resource that Luigi and I want to hand over to you. This resource has helped lift close won rates to over 73% on average. Plus, you'll get a b2b sales newsletter that drops weekly where you can learn what it takes to build a repeatable sales process and creating a pipeline full of qualified deals. To get this resource, just go to growforum.io forward slash newsletter or click the link in this episode and sign up today.

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:02:58]:
Now the very first thing, the very first strategy we need to start to focus on is spending time on your mindset. Now you might be going, Luigi, mate, this is not you know, you're not telling me something I don't know. But, again, this is the reality. We need to be spending time on developing the right mindset. But this is not something that we can go, I'm gonna do this once, tick the box, and I'm done. Right? We need to be focusing on this every single day. And the very first strategy is about controlling the controllables. And this comes from your mindset.

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:03:31]:
Right? So think about, like I want you to think about mindset like putting credits in the bank. You need to add a certain amount of credits so that when things don't go to plan or you might start to feel the impact of the negative environment kicking in, you will have enough positive credits. You've put enough credits to draw from, and you keep adding positive credits every single day. You kinda build it up. Right? And I remember I remember when I was running from training for my 1st marathon, and there was a lot of things I didn't know, but I was very consistent. I was training pretty much 5 days a week. I was absolutely consistent. I remember coming to a point halfway through the program.

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:04:09]:
I was a bit tight. I needed to have a day off, and I didn't feel I I thought, you know what? I can't have a day off because it's gonna impact the overall performance. And one of my running colleagues said to me, mate, you've you've done 8 weeks of training. You've got credits in the bank. Don't stress. It's there. You've been building. You've been working hard.

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:04:25]:
You can miss a day, and it's not gonna impact you. I want you to have that thought in the back of your head. How many credits am I putting in the bank when it comes to mindset? Now when we think about everyday, what what that looks like for for you is different to me. It's different for everyone. Right? You've gotta find your own routine. You if you wanna get up early in the morning and do things that create positive energy for you, great. If you're an early morning riser, fantastic. If you're late morning riser, it's a okay.

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:04:52]:
We've had a guest on the show, Brandon, who is not the 4 AM riser, but he was able to make a $1,000,000 in commission. He just structured his day differently, but he absolutely had a routine. Now for me, exercise is a key part of my morning routine. Right? Because it gives me that instant dopamine. I feel really good. For others, it might be reading a book. It might be listening to a podcast. Whatever works, you've gotta find a routine that works for you.

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:05:15]:
Now the outcome should be that you are working on your mindset daily, allowing you to show up each day with that positive energy. And as Brian Tracy says, sales is a transference of enthusiasm, and you want that enthusiasm, you want that positive energy oozing out of you. Right? You wanna be able to bring the best version of yourself every single day. And again, as I said, if if you're not a morning person, it's okay. Just find some form of routine. As I said, I like to do training in the morning. I like to have some form of physical activity. If I'm going for a run, I also will listen to a podcast.

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:05:46]:
I'll listen to the Marketing Millennials, The Nudge. I've got a whole bunch of podcasts I try to listen to. And I try to listen to a podcast every single day because it gets me thinking a little bit. It gets me kind of creative. It gets me thinking about some ideas on maybe from prospecting, and I haven't got, you know, the right response from some prospects, maybe I can bring some creative ideas from other people that are doing just what I'm doing in the field. Right? So I want you to think about your your routine. I want you to think about your daily rhythm, and I want you to develop the nonnegotiables that will help you form the right mindset to show up every day, feeling the best you possibly can, right, and washing the negative away. Now the second strategy to help you thrive during moments of adversity is to go back and look at your account profile, or as some call it, your ideal customer profile.

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:06:28]:
Now this is an important step because when there is change in an operating environment, so at the moment, the economic operating environment is changing and it impacts certain industries differently. We need to, as sales professionals, we need to go back and take our ICP out and really have a look at it and assess how is this economic environment impacting our customers. How is it not just impacting them, but what might this do for their products and services? And how is the changing in environment the operating environment impacting their needs? It's also a great opportunity to look and evaluate other customer profiles that historically you might not have been selling to. Right? That might not have been a perfect fit because that change in operating model or that change in operating environment for that business, it could mean that they become a fit for you. So it's really important to go back to your ICP, have a look at some of the things that are happening in their world so that you could make sure you alter, potentially, your lists. You might be, you know, segmenting it further because it could be a segment of your market that are just in crisis mode that will that there is no fit. Now all that could be that, you know, people that you've been selling to, maybe that change in operating environment means that they are completely the wrong fit now. So the more we understand about our customers and their industries, the easier it is for us to develop a strong point of view to engage you in.

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:07:51]:
And this is why going back to the ICP, having a look at changing environment, looking at maybe roles they're they're removing or they're adding will allow you to change your point of view. Now the 3rd strategy. Right? We're starting to get into the heart of this process. The 3rd strategy is around your persona. I can probably see some of your eyes rolling in the back of your head going, Luigi, man, we've already built our persona. We've done this to death. Why do we have to do our persona again? Now if you've done it, fantastic. But as you've heard me say this before, or if you're a first time listener, you're hearing this for the first time, your persona should never become a static document.

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:08:24]:
Your persona is something that you work on all the time. As you learn more about them, you make those adjustments. Right? And like your ICP, when change occurs, when change occurs in an industry, when change occurs with the way they operate in the market, the persona's focus will also change. And we need to consider the world our persona is operating in, how the change in environment is impacting them, what impact it could have on their KPIs, what could it have on the way that their strategy might be redesigned in the next 12 months. So, again, market changes will change their focus. And if we're not proactive in really thinking about how the persona is thinking and what changes are impacting the persona, then the message that we might have been reaching out to engage with them previously and working, it might not work anymore because their immediate priorities, what's relevant to them has changed. And if we don't change with it, if we don't evolve our message, then we're not gonna be able to connect with them. Right? I also want you to think and think about this from your own perspective.

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:09:24]:
Change can create an uneasy feeling, not just for us, but for our prospects and our buyers. And if we don't understand how that change is impacting them, then we're not gonna be able to create any value for them. Yeah. Because they too are going through issues. They too are experiencing, just like we are, experiencing the economic downturn. They might not have all the answers. If they've never worked through a major economic downturn, right, then how do they know the playbook? How do they know the blueprint to work through it? So, again, this is where you need to start to really educate and go on the front foot when it comes to your prospects. And this is something that I had a recent conversation with one of the top sellers from Microsoft globally, Carson Hetty.

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:10:02]:
And we spoke about that this exact topic. Right? And if you wanna know more about this particular topic, you can jump into our sales IQ community. The link's in the show notes, and you can go back and watch that recording that I had with Carson because it was a live community recording. And he stated that during the pandemic, he was selling into the health care sector. He doubled down on the amount of education he started providing his clients and prospects about topics he felt was relevant for them. He went on the front foot. He was proactive. He went out there, found content, and he served that content up to them with a sole focus of just creating value, creating value and creating value.

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:10:37]:
As a result, he actually accelerate his performance. His performance was incredible. You know? He landed a $100,000,000 deal as a result of it. So this was a result of him saying, right. The industry I'm talking to is in some form of crisis. They're struggling. I need to get out there. I need to be that source of value, and I need to be making sure that I'm helping and serving them more than usual because they are going through some pain.

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:11:00]:
Because the last thing we wanna be seen is, if there's tough economy, if there's tough market conditions, we don't wanna be seen as that hungry, commission hungry salesperson with that commission breath. Again, this is we need to take a step back and really put our persona at the center of everything we do and say, right, I can I can sense that things are tough for you right now? I can sense that things might be difficult for you right now. And I'm just gonna be become a source of of education. I'm gonna become a source of value. And over time, what will happen is we will build a strong level of trust. We'll come across as somebody that's become a trusted adviser for the for our prospects, and we will get a positive return on that investment. Right? So this is not an overnight. I'm not I'm not telling you I don't want you you sort of listen to this and go, these these are not strategies that can give me overnight success.

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:11:48]:
Because as we know in sales, there is nothing. There is no overnight success. Everything that we do takes time. And, you know, again, we we should be building a robust pipeline. And this moves into the next strategy to help you really thrive during moments of adversity, and that's your pipeline expectations. Right? When a recession occurs, we absolutely see a declining growth. Companies will make less profit. Spending will be reduced.

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:12:13]:
This means some of the projects that you might be trying to deliver into clients will hit a barrier. Okay? As companies will take potentially a conservative view to spending on items not deemed absolutely necessary. Right? So discretionary spending will, you know, be reduced. What does this mean for you? That there may be more deal slippage occur in your pipeline than normal. Sales cycles might blow out. They might take longer than normal to get to a decision if they still pursue the opportunity. Your overall conversions might drop. So if you usually have 3 times pipeline coverage, then you might wanna consider increasing this to 4 times.

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:12:50]:
Okay? So what this means for you is you'll need to increase the volume of opportunities you actually bring into a pipeline. And that means the amount of activity that you need to work on to create your pipeline needs to increase. Right? And this is why knowing your pipeline metrics now is vital. It's absolutely vital because you need to recalibrate your performance metrics. You need to be recalibrate where you need to spend your time to ensure you're building a robust pipeline. So, again, don't go into it with a hope strategy. Don't say, look. I hope everything's gonna be okay.

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:13:23]:
I will just go on the way I've been going on and hopefully nothing happens in a negative because hope is not a strategy. Okay? That is that is the worst strategy to bring into place because it's not a strategy. We need to be proactive. We need to be proactive looking at our metrics. Yes. Being optimistic is very important, but we also have to be realistic and know that the market will shrink. The opportunities potentially will become, you know, harder to bring in. So we've gotta increase that volume if we wanna maintain or exceed our target.

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:13:52]:
Now let's move into the next strategy, which is prospecting. Right? Now I know you're rolling your eyes. You're going far out, Luigi. We thought you were gonna share some the silver bullet. We thought you were gonna give us some tactics that we don't know already. Now the reality is for many of us is that we all know what needs to be done. Right? I'm not telling you stuff today that's new to you. I'm not telling I'm not giving any sort of completely new strategies that you're not already executing.

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:14:20]:
But just because we know what needs to be done, we don't always get it done. I'll give you an example. I like to keep fit. I like to train either in the mornings, most of the time in the mornings, sometimes at night. But I've actually fell into some bad habits myself over the past couple of months, and I'm not gonna blame COVID because, you know what, COVID is absolutely not the reason. I've I've led a very healthy lifestyle for many, many years, but for the some reason, I fell into some bad habits. And the bad habits were my eating. Okay? Still training, but eating.

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:14:47]:
Eating, actually, not eating enough during the day and eating too many snacks late at night. Who doesn't like a snack? Right? Who doesn't like some nuts or some chocolate? Whatever. Whatever is your kinda go to snack. I fucking love snacks. Right? And I was also drinking a few too many beers as well on the weekend. Yeah? I fell into some bad habits. And even though I was training, I was finding that the bad habits of me eating late at night or, you know, drinking a bit of alcohol on the weekend was actually impacting my performance when I was training. And as a result, I also put on a few KGs.

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:15:15]:
Yeah? So I knew this when I had to put my suit on for the very first time since COVID. I'm like, I had to suck it up suck it up. I'm like, holy crap, Luigi. You gotta get back out there, and you gotta get back into your normal routine. I knew it. I kept telling myself, it just wasn't getting done. So to break the habit, I put myself into a program at my local gym. I got myself a coach, and I've successfully broken that habit.

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:15:35]:
I'm I'm about halfway through the program. I have not faltered once because I know that I have an accountability buddy that's gonna help me. And I've already dropped a couple of KGs. I'm feeling really focused again. I'm actually feeling fitter. I've got more energy. So the outcome for me has been amazing. So when it comes to prospecting, yes, we know that it needs to happen.

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:15:57]:
But if we do not time block and make a commitment to yourself, if we don't make this commitment that, hey. It's not just about knowing to prospect. I'm gonna make this commitment. If I've struggled with the habit of, you know, fulfilling that time that I've set myself, I'm gonna get myself an accountability buddy. The best athletes in the world have an accountability buddy. Why should we not have accountability buddies for certain things that we know will make a material difference in our life? Right? So time block. Don't break the commitment you're making to yourself. Look at your pipeline metrics.

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:16:26]:
You might need to increase the amount of opportunities to create for yourself. So know your metrics, make prospecting an absolute nonnegotiable. This will be the single most important task that could see you excel and thrive during a downturn or crash and burn. And remember, most of the stress in sales is caused from a lack of pipeline. When we don't have enough ops to work on, we can come across desperate to our prospects. Yeah. We rush opportunities to a point of decision because we know we need to close because we haven't got enough opportunities to close. And when we rush the opportunity, we don't take the required time to engage with the wider buying buying committee, which creates deal risk.

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:17:08]:
That's why prospecting is absolutely critical all the time, but even more so during an economic downturn. Now we're getting into the final strategy. Now the final strategy The final strategy that I believe will absolutely help you excel during moments of adversity is belief. Okay? Believe in yourself. You have the knowledge and the capability to make magic happen. Yes. External environments can make it difficult for us. Right? But don't let the environment dictate your success.

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:17:38]:
You know, greatness comes from those moments of adversity. Great things happen when things don't go to plan. Own the opportunity in front of you. Own the opportunity that will come from a downturn. Own the learning and the growth. Right? Because your competitors and other sellers are also going through the same challenges. Some will rise and some will fall. The true sales professionals will show up during moments of adversity and excel.

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:18:09]:
Okay? And those who reframe and make a decision to grow and thrive during this time will come out better for it. Now these strategies I've shared with you may seem basic. They may seem obvious. You might be saying, mate, you have not shared one strategy that is new to me, but sometimes the most basic strategies are the best strategies. Now we know what it takes to be successful in sales. Don't try and recreate a simple process. Go back to the basics. Master the fundamentals, and you will not only thrive but develop another level of capability.

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:18:48]:
Now if this is an episode that's triggered some thought for you and you think others might need to hear this, especially if they are experiencing some form of challenge with the downturn, please go and like the episode. Rate it. Share it with your colleagues. I want all sales professionals to thrive during the economic downturn. We all have families. We all have emotions. We are all being impacted by the increasing cost of living. And if we're not then performing in our role, I know what it feels like when you go home asking some tough questions and questioning yourself.

Luigi Prestinenzi [00:19:25]:
Right? So if you know people that need to hear this, please get this content. I create this content because I love the profession of selling. I love what selling represents. I empathize with all of you because I'm there with you. I'm out there in the front line doing this. I've done it my whole career, and I wanna inspire as many people to take action so that they can be the very best they can be.

#254: Recession-Proof Your B2B Sales Approach With This Strategy
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