The companies who made components and raw materials would send out armies of salespeople to win the battle for orders.
Here is a very harsh snapshot of life back then. Four salespeople would have an appointment to see a buyer of components. After each one did their best to show their product in the best light, only one would walk out with the order. For every purchase made there were always a number of disappointed salespeople. It was usual to have more supply than demand. The empty handed salesperson could cost his company jobs; the winner put food on everyone’s table so it is no wonder they became superstars. Well those times are back.
A street has five coffee bars – why should people drink in yours? Five window cleaners called this week, why should I use you? You make garden furniture but so do five other people, why should I buy from you?
The answer is that you have to grab the situation by the throat and sell, and not just on price. If you aren’t actually asking people to buy on a regular basis, then in the current crisis you just won’t survive.