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How to Sell More in the Current Unstable Oil & Gas Market

Funnel the Right Projects

2B1st_Project_Smart_Explorer_Sales_Pursuit_ToolMuch discussion has taken place on the current oil price situation where analysts don’t seem to be able to agree on the real root of the problem, nor on the actual forecast of this so-called crisis.

But in Chinese language the word “crisis” is translated in the same word as “opportunity”, which reflects perfectly the current situation with project-based business.

On first quarter 2015, US increased again its oil production to level higher than ever illustrating how much the most exposed sector is able to react and adapt to the new context. 

US_Oil_ProductionThis first 2015 indicator confirmed the signal sent by the oil & gas companies while publishing their 2014 financial results.

Most of them were able to maintain revenues and profitability in spite of a 50% price hit on the markets.

On December 3rd 2014, Rex Tillerson, ExxonMobil’s Chief, declared: ExxonMobil can weather this storm even if oil prices sink to $40 per barrel.

Since then his peers at BP, Shell and Total have sent similar signals to the market.

If the companies have become sensitive to the projects costs because of revenues based on remuneration fees, they became much less dependent on barrel prices.

Since the shale gas prices first wave they have learned to adapt their business models and resist to the second wave of the oil prices.

In fact, the announced costs-cutting programs have opened many opportunities for vendors and suppliers in this conservative oil and gas world to introduce innovative solutions and to train their salespeople on how to effectively engage customers in true Value-based dialogue.

The truth is that, regardless of the cause, this is not the first time—nor will it be the last—that we see shaky market conditions like this.

Oil_&_Gas_Petrochemical_Projects_MapFrom our analysis of the 1,000 most active oil & gas and petrochemical projects in the world, we can easily conclude that some are being postponed, but in parallel we observe that many are actually being fast-tracked precisely as a consequence of the strategic repositioning of companies into this new context.

For example, it is impressive to see how North America remains the most active hub in the world for the design, engineering and execution of global projects of more than $100 million in capital expenditure in upstream, midstream and downstream.

Only five years ago USA was marginal by the number of projects in the petrochemical sector, today they represent 20% of the global market, and everyday brings new announcements.

If we all know projects being postponed, the reality is at the global level, 2015 remains a very active millesime with more projects than ever going fast-track, precisely to benefit from oil and gas lowering prices.

In this context the business growth starts in looking where the market is and funnel the right projects.

How to effectively sell in this new context

The true strategy for vendors and suppliers is not to get rid of their talented people but to reposition them to where the business is and to train them to integrate new value propositions and promote new solutions.

Reality is that customers ARE buying, just not in the way they were buying before.

The key to the game is adaptability; learning to understand clients’ new needs and finding ways to help them, to address them.

Oil still needs to come out of the ground, and as operators downsize their own staff numbers they need help outsourcing those job functions.

Now is the time to train salespeople, to make them better at what they do to increase your hit rate.

Opening clients’ doors has become more challenging than ever.

Oil_&_Gas_Secrets_SellingA couple of months ago I came across a book by Oil & Gas business development expert George Galaz, entitled SECRETS TO SELLING IN THE OIL & GAS MARKET: Outperform Your Competition and Dominate This Technology-Driven Industry available on or

A very practical, easy to read book that will help every salesperson in your organization (regardless of expertise level) improve their toolbox so that your company can become the vendor of choice, regardless of your competition and price wars. 

The author is co-founder and director of training programs at Sales Consulting Associates, Inc., a Houston-based organization that specializes in providing sales teams with state-of-the-art live and web-based training and coaching programs, designed to take your sales resources to the next level of competency. 

More importantly, he dedicated a complete chapter to describing winning, easy to implement strategies during the current oil price situation.

Funnel the right projects is the first condition to keep growing in the current oil & Gas and Petrochemical projects, but the results will only come if the sales organization is more agile to adapt; that is where effective selling is the second condition to success.

For more information about oil and gas and petrochemical projects go to Project Smart Explorer


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