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Tough Economy: Protect Your B2B Services Business; Stop Selling, Do This Instead...

Stop selling hard during a poor economy | Stop sign

When the economy is in freefall, people's buying mindsets change from open to closed. If you sell services to other businesses, in fact, if you're not a supermarket, pharmacy or medical supplier in a tough economic climate, like the one we saw during COVID, then your sales will often go into decline, and your focus will turn to bedding down the clients that you already have to ensure longevity and repeat, continued sales from those who already know and trust you.

Let's be honest; it's pretty awful when the economy slows, but there are some things to do, and to not do, at these pivotal moments in your business life cycle.

What a B2B Services Business Should DO...

...create even more value and add it to the service you are already providing for existing customers. Consider what assets you have already that you can get out to them quickly and easily at no cost to them (or you, ideally) and that can demonstrate you value them as a customer.

... be extremely careful with your messaging to existing customers and ensure that it is...

  • Empathetic & Acknowledging – e.g. we know everyone is going through a tough time right now / we're thinking about you / we're here to support you etc.

  • Operational – e.g. here’s how we’re affected, what we’re doing about it and what it means for you, plus how they can find out more information if needed and the place to go for that - i.e. website link, email, phone etc.

  • Value-driven – here’s how we’re giving you even more value than usual (use this tactic to retain existing customers as far as possible).

  • Supportive – we’re here if we can help in any way, how you might be able to help, contact details for them to take up your help.

... execute things quickly, not perfectly.


Related: Read this further article - about futureproofing your business, which was written during COVID.



.... look for ways to tell your customers how important your B2B services business is for them right now during this tough time. Leave people to decide for themselves what's important to them because for these moments in time when the economic outlook is bleak, priorities shift and people's perception of what's important to them changes. What was important to them yesterday, may not be important to them now. It's not for you to tell others their priorities.

... knee-jerk react and pivot quickly to desperately try to sell something. Stick to your genius zone. When the economic outlook is poor, people go into 'survival' mode, which usually means managing and reducing existing expenses, not adding new ones. A knee-jerk pivot will use a lot of resource that you might be better to conserve right now.

... automatically discount everything. Instead of cutting prices out of fear that no one will buy from a B2B services business, or continue to pay their bill, give even more value. If you feel you must, you can cut prices a little bit, but don't go crazy. If you do cut prices, make it very clear that the price is being discounted because of the current situation, and that normal prices will resume after this is over. You must make measured decisions about pricing. Never de-value the time you give to a client. If you can keep a client by negotiating on rates, then do that, but don't assume that they can't pay, or need the reduction.

... forget that this will pass. You do not need to 'knee-jerk' sell. You only need to be there for your existing customers, connect and engage with your contacts, and focus your energy on preparing services that will meet the needs of a post-economic slump.


The Change Starter® is a boutique marketing consultancy that builds outsourced marketing teams for established businesses who are committed to growth. Apply for a FREE Marketing Accelerator with Stevie to get crystal clear on the next steps you can take to promote your business to the right audience, at the right time, in the right place.



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