The “R” Word – Recession!

To Discuss or Not to Discuss? That is the Question!

If you’ve been in the advertising business, or sales in general, for more than 2 years, you have already experienced one recession (2020 recession). If you have been around for 13 or more years, you’ve been through two recessions (2008-2009 Great Recession), and for us old-timers, pending your tenure, you may have experienced three, four, or even five or six. 

The saying, “What doesn’t kill you, makes you tougher”, is very true when it comes to surviving a recession.

Over the past several months, but especially the last few weeks, I have had several conversations with managers, owners, and sellers about the pending “R” word – Recession.

The discussion has mostly centered around two things: One – What are you hearing, and will it happen? Two – Should we engage in a conversation about the “R” word with our clients or sidestep the topic?

Although a few AEs said they thought it was a negative topic and were better off not discussing it, for the time being, the large majority has said, Yes! It is a conversation we should have with our clients and prospects.

My opinion is an unadulterated YES! Yes, have the conversation with them. It’s far better to have it now rather than when they call you and say they are cutting their advertising! As with nearly everything, you want to be part of the discussion.

However, there is a key factor to having a conversation with your clients and prospects, and that is to be prepared! You must be able to speak logically about why advertising is important, even more so during a recession, and you need to be able to offer some proof and reasoning.

Study after study has proven that businesses that maintain or grow their marketing/advertising throughout the recession will not only outperform their competition during the recession but will grow much faster after the recession has subsided.

Most of us know this, and most sellers have been told this, but are they prepared to go out and have logical conversations with their clients?

There are hundreds of articles and tons of research that can help arm them. Here are a few recommended readings:

  • Ritson’s Recession Playbook (Mark Ritson – MarketingWeek)
  • Marketing in a Recession (Mel Day – Marketing Moves)
  • When a Recession Comes, Don’t Stop Advertising (Brian Adgate – Forbes)
  • How to Market in a Downturn (John Quelch-Katherine J. Jocz – Harvard Review) Old but good!

No two recessions are alike, as are no two businesses or business categories. Each business needs to approach the recession in its own manner. Understanding this, then gaining and having knowledge of different circumstances will help you have the “R” word conversation with your clients.

In this week’s SoundADvice that goes out weekly to over 8000 business owners, we wrote on this topic and offered 15 tips on how to prepare and navigate through a recession. Rule #1 is… Be Prepared: companies that have an advance plan far outperform those that wait and go into survival mode once it hits. If you have a plan and train your reps on how to start and have the “R” word conversation with clients and prospects, your success rate will be much higher than those that don’t prepare.

If you would like to see how SoundADvice can position your AEs and your station as advertising professionals in your market, rather than just advertising sellers, click here for more information. We will send you a FREE copy of this week’s SoundADvice piece.