Selling an Innovative Solution During a Downturn

Well, here’s another post about what to do in a downturn, particularly if you are selling an innovative product or service to business. Truth is, in a downturn, when people worry about their job and their company’s viability – it is really tough to convince them to try new things, especially if your company is a small, relatively unknown entity.  In times of uncertainty, people cling to the comfortable and the familiar. 

So what can you do to break through?  Here are some things that I have found useful:


  • Lower the risk – make it is easy to try your product/service.
  • Focus on returns that customers will see quickly – this is “easier said than done” when dealing with innovative solutions. Innovation by definition often involves a change in customer/employee/partner behavior and it is often difficult to map to a quick ROI.
  • Offer turnkey solutions or pilots – letting customers see how the solution will work in their environment without a lot of effort is one way to move sales forward. Offering to host a solution is one way to reduce complexity.
  • Provide tools for the buyer to sell internally – let your champion “sell up” by giving them self-service mockups or demos. If you can project an ROI model, this would also be helpful.
  • Use authoritative sources to validate your solution – analysts, industry pundits, and of course, customers are the best validation that your solution provides value.
  • Create case studies – even if they are anonymous, they demonstrate how your solution provides value to real customers.