Sales the lifeblood of any business, and selling becomes even more important in a tough economy. I recently spoke with Rick Davis, the president of Building Leaders Inc., a Chicago-based sales training company, who shared with me some tips for selling in a down market.

Sales the lifeblood of any business, and selling becomes even more important in a tough economy. I recently spoke with Rick Davis, the president of Building Leaders Inc., a Chicago-based sales training company, who shared with me some tips for selling in a down market.

“This is a market that presents the perfect storm of challenge, more than most businesspeople have ever faced - a banking crisis, world economic recession, a housing drop-off as bad as the Great Depression, political polarization,” Davis said. “All these crises challenge the career and spirit of every salesperson in our industry.”

The roofing market still holds opportunities, according to Davis. “I think the thing that many people forget is that we have a very segmented market - i.e., lots of small businesses in various markets with no one company holding more than a 10 percent share,” he said. “Thus there is an abundance of opportunity for those that are willing to work at it and position themselves properly, even in these tough economic times.”

Davis urged roofing professionals to do three things:

1. Focus on home improvements. “With the likelihood that people will stay in their homes longer, expect people to reinvest in the valuable asset in which they currently live,” he said.

2. Plant seeds of future growth. “While the new construction market is down 60 percent over the past four years, there are still hundreds of thousands of homes being built,” said Davis. “Rather than strive for instant transactions, I teach contractors to make contacts and forge relationships with builders in order to be the first choice of supplier when things go wrong with their existing supplier.”

3. Change your mindset. “Increase you intention to help other people and reduce your expectation of what is in it for you,” he advised. “Remember that your customers are scared and do not want to feel your pressure or fear. Try to be the level-headed hero that creates calm in tough times and they will remember you as a valuable resource for the future.” Networking is also critical.

If you’re interested in more advice on this timely topic, Davis will present seminar at the International Roofing Expo (IRE) titled “How to Sell in a Down Market. ” The seminar is scheduled to take place Tuesday, Feb. 3, from 7:45 a.m.-9:15 a.m.

For more information about the seminar, visit www.theroofingexpo.com.

For more information on Building Leaders Inc., call Rick Davis at 773-769-4409, e-mail him at rickdavis@buildingleaders or visit www.buildingleaders.com .