How to sell in a lousy economy

Despite a spate of negative economic indicators, these salespeople haven't missed a step. Here's how top performers at GE, Google, PepsiCo, and more are thriving during the downturn.

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Chris Sharma, Nordstrom
Chris Sharma, Nordstrom
Title: Personal shopper, Men's Furnishings
Age: 45
Location: McLean, Va.

What he does: Sells shirts, ties, cuff links, and suits.

Sales home run: Gave a refund to a customer returning broken cuff links without a receipt. When the man lost everything in a house fire, he came to Sharma to assemble a new wardrobe. Sharma sold him 19 suits (his best sales day ever, at $29,000).

Recession survival skills: "If customers are willing, I'll take their number and call if something they want comes in later. I always make phone calls to my regular customers to tell them what's new."

What he always says: "If you ask him, Can I help you? They'll probably say, No, I'm just looking. So when someone's looking at a tie, I'll say, Wow, that's a great color. Are you trying to put together something? It goes from there."
NEXT: LaShonda Anderson-Williams, Microsoft
Last updated September 24 2008: 10:14 AM ET
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