Back in 2009, while we were still in the throes of a difficult recession, I wrote an article with (almost) the same title. Well, some things have changed and some haven’t, so, here’s an updated version which applies to the current situation.
1) Don't let anything outside of you be your excuse.
After a tough day or some difficult sales calls, it’s easy to blame a host of things other than yourself. If you do, people will hear it in your voice and you’ll sell less. This attitude will also demotivate you which will lead to working less. In tough times, when salespeople should be increasing their calls and activity level, the average salesperson cuts calls and activity significantly. The answer? Use difficult times as a warning and motivation to work harder and smarter, not as an excuse to back off. Have a plan in place, know what you have to do every day, and make sure you do it. If you back off, business will go down, if you work harder and smarter, business will improve. As I’ve said before, “In tough times, don’t give up, double up.”
2) Get better at selling.
When there are fewer sales opportunities and prospects, you must do better with the ones you have. The way to do this is to get better at selling. Become a student. Read books, listen to audios, watch videos, become a sponge and absorb everything you can get your hands on. Using this strategy has helped many salespeople improve to the point where they actually sold more in a so-called down market than they sold when times were good. Now is the time to improve your skills; constantly and consistently getting better at selling is the best way to grow your sales.
3) Keep a good attitude.
Your attitude is your most important sales tool in your arsenal. It’s almost impossible to watch the evening news and be positive. Our brains are like computers “Garbage in, garbage out.” Put as many good ideas as possible into your brain. Pick up anything inspirational, motivational, positive, and upbeat and use it to keep a good attitude and stay focused. Be positive and persistent. In addition to putting good ideas into your brain, eat good foods, get plenty of rest, exercise, and surround yourself with positive people. Stay away from negatives and negative people.
4) Prepare for the price objection and build value.
While you should have a Script Book that includes great answers to all objections along with several strong value statements, this is particularly important when money might be a little tighter than usual.
5) Focus on relationships.
The relationship with the salesperson is the number one reason people give for doing business with a particular company. We’ve all seen it happen, you make an overwhelming case for your product versus the competition and yet, the prospect still buys from your competitor because they’re golf buddies. Relationships are extremely important, in most cases more than anything else, so you need to focus on not only staying in touch with and keeping your name in front of customers and prospects, and delivering value each time, but also on taking that next step and building solid, long-term relationships. Send handwritten thank-you notes, anniversary cards, birthday cards, and holiday cards. Follow my 28 Items to increase your personal connection. E-mail me if you need this. Your objective is to touch the customer more often on a more personal level at a time when your competitors are calling less and being less personal.
6) You are completely responsible for your success.
Five years from now the current pandemic will be long gone and you and your career will arrive somewhere, the question is: Where? If you decide that something outside of you, such as the economy, is responsible for your success or failure, you give away control of your destiny and your ultimate success. The way to change that is to remember that your success is up to you, you own it, and you control it. Provided you have solid goals and strong enough reasons why you need to get there, you will arrive where you decide to arrive, regardless of viruses, markets, the economy, or anything else for that matter. Reminding yourself that you are 100% responsible for your success keeps your success under your control and within reach.
If you put the above tips to work, you will see an improvement in business, perhaps a significant one. Ask yourself the question: What am I capable of if I really set my mind to something and get to work? The answer is: pretty much anything. The sky really is the limit, so stay positive, work hard, work smart, and dream big.
John Chapin is a motivational sales speaker and trainer. For his free 5-steps to Sales Success Report and monthly article, or to have him speak at your next event, go to: www.completeselling.com John has over 32 years of sales experience as a number one sales rep and is the author of the 2010 sales book of the year: Sales Encyclopedia (Axiom Book Awards). You can reprint provided you keep contact information in place. E-mail: email@example.com.