What started as an ‘economic slowdown’ rapidly plummeted into the dreaded condition we called the Credit Crunch and then morphed into a full blown recession. Doom, gloom and our rather proficient national ability to talk ourselves into a recession self-fulfilled the proverbial prophesy.

What is it exactly that we feared so much? Sam Walton, founder of Wal-Mart, is quoted as saying: “I was asked what I thought of the recession. I thought about it and decided not to take part.” Positive attitude or a scandalous disregard of the facts?

Well, let’s just look at the facts shall we?

Both casualties and victors littered the last recession in the nineties. Unfortunately we have a tendency to remember the horror stories and not the success stories. In fact, Renault, Whipsnade, De Beers, BMW, Barclaycard, Nescafé and many others all performed brilliantly during that period. Why? They are just a few examples of corporations who increased their spend rather than cut back on entering the recession. Research shows that businesses who cut spend during a recession make the slowest profit improvement once recovery has started and conversely those that increase spend grow faster, indeed up to 3 times as much.

Think about your attitude or policy towards sales training. Are you a cutter or a spender? Sales people are facing challenging times, morale is lower, commissions are lower and sales are lower. Cutting back or holding off is a guaranteed way to further depress sales potential. Increasing their confidence and skill levels, however, will generate more sales, and with their success will come quicker recovery.

What other facts are we aware of? We know it is harder to see clients, there are more fiscal objections, competition is more intense and discounts are constantly being sought. This should not come as a surprise. Plan for it and use it. If it is harder to see clients, expound the value of exhibitions as a remedy. If there are more objections provide sales training in objection handling. Become sharper than the competition and if discounts are sought, do not crumble and give it all away, fight and negotiate real value so that everybody wins.

My realisation is that generally we fail to realise that real life is happening now. The good times are just that. The problem we face is that many sales people believe the good times are the norm and the recession is a plague. Train them. Swap their perception and you will swap any negative attitudes for positive results.