Many consultants are quite content to wait for their client base to initiate opportunities. We call this order-taking, and in good times it works to a certain extent. That’s okay. No criticism. And it’s also why we see consultancy firms stuck at a particular revenue level. They’re reacting, not making things happen.
Right now business pundits are predicting further recession, maybe even a depression. To put this into context the two most recent recessions lasted just over 5 quarters, the 1930s depression lasted 14.
So, what can you do today?
I’ve been through five recessions during my working life. I was clueless during the first two and sold successfully through the next three. Here are five things I learnt, that should be on your immediate – take action – agenda. These are the way to sow seeds during a recession.
- Manage your confidence. Working in consultancy and selling is hard at the best of times, during a recession it gets much harder. You must be able to think clearly under pressure. Make sure you have a release valve (someone to talk to, outside your workplace) and a way to lower the pressure (whatever you do to decompress, do more of it).
- Nurture your most important relationships with genuine and positive strokes. A stroke is an affirmation of the other person. The easiest way to do this is to give people “a damned good listening too” (Make sure you’re getting affirmed too).
- Ensure all the people in your network understand the results you’re producing, and the value of those results (This is not the same thing as ticking off project deliverables).
- Balance your attention across two time frames. Focus your efforts on relationships and opportunities that will bear fruit within the next 90-days, and also those relationships and opportunities that you’re developing for results over 90-days away (See the Relationships Roster example here, you want to aim to have 20 on the go, 40 is better).
- Double down on your go-to-market strategy. Don’t hesitate, execute your sales plans now as urgent and important. If you don’t have a written sales plan that shows how you are going to fill your pipeline then you need help (The longer you wait the harder it will become to find new opportunities).
In summary. Burying your head in the sand, waiting for work, order-taking, isn’t an option any more. Let’s tackle this thing head on and win the game.