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Bad Moon on the Rise

by Steve Chriest

It may be time to dust off my notes for a talk I gave a few years ago about the challenges and opportunities of selling in a down economy. Little did I know then, in 2001 that the economic upturn that followed would be so short lived. Before you can prepare to sell in a down economy you need to be sure you're in one or will enter one soon. But how can you tell?

Fortunately, if you're involved in the equipment finance industry, you have a unique view into the economy's future. Your industry begins to flash signals of an economic downturn when the volume produced by originators begins to slow. Originators regularly interact with the 90% of American businesses that have less than 20 employees. As credit markets tighten, and small businesses are unable to quality for or secure financing for growth, or for weathering rough waters, it's time to prepare for selling in a down economy.

There are some other unconventional economic indicators I pay attention to when I think about how the economy is doing. Cutbacks in the routes of delivery companies like Federal Express and UPS usually appear as early warning signs of a general slowdown in overall business activity. When Hormel Foods Corporation, the maker Spam, reports higher sales of the canned luncheon meat, you can bet that folks in large numbers are hunkering down for a recession!

Evolution guarantees that the causes of each economic downturn differs, at least slightly, from previous downturns. In our current situation, the housing industry has generally been credited with propping up an otherwise wobbly economy for the past several years. With the large number of interest only, adjustable rate, no money down, no income verification, and no credit required loans written over the past few years, and the reality of stagnant or declining house values, it seems inevitable that the housing industry will contribute mightily to the bad moon rising.

Next week we'll take a look at how you might survive, and maybe even prosper, when a bad moon rises and you find yourself selling in a down economy.

Copyright © 2006 Selling UpTM. All Rights Reserved.

About the author: Steve Chriest is the founder of Selling Up (, a sales consulting firm specializing in sales improvement for organizations of all types and sizes in a variety of industries. He is also the author of Selling Up, The Proven System for Reaching and Selling Senior Executives.

You can reach Steve at