Before You Complain about the Economy
By Colleen Francis
I think we can agree that the economy is still unstable. While some companies are flourishing others are suffering. Likewise some sales professionals are exceeding their goals and others. I would say about 75% are crying about their poor results blaming the economy.
We see it every day at Engage, with sales rep after sales rep not achieving their goals coming to us for advice on how to sell in a slow market. The first comment I make to all of them is this:
“If your market has slowed and you have slowed with it you will soon be out of business. So tell me, what have you done to ramp up activity this year?
Usually that question is met with silence. And then another complaint about how no one is buying.
Of course some people are buying, there always is. So my question to you is this:
If you market has slowed to a crawl, or maybe only ½ your market’s buyers are buying, what are you doing to ramp up your activity – working both smarter and harder – to capture a greater share of sales in your slowed market.
Sadly it’s my experience that most sales people give up when their markets slow down. They resign themselves to the fact that it’s going to be a bad year and they don’t even try to hit their quotas.
A very few refuse to wave the white flag. These top performers attack their markets with vigor. They approach more prospects with new, and increased sales activities. These are the few reps who even in a bad market are selling more.
I met one of those types this week. Mike is selling to the home builders, renovators and consumers. Arguably a down market. His sales are up 200% this year because he is (as he said to me) “powering through this economy and out hustle my competition”
So, before you complain about the economy hurting your sales I need to ask: Are you taking any of the following actions?”
- Reach out to your current client database at least twice per month with a value based, content rich newsletter – paper based or email
- Attend at least 1 networking event per week
- Ask for referrals at least once per day
- Follow up on your leads at least 7 times by email and 7 times by phone before you give up
- Prospect every day to keep your funnel full. A full funnel is one full of opportunities totaling 300% of your goal.
- Identify new target markets to sell to
- Attend trade shows regularly and follow up with the leads within 24 hours
- Make 5 more calls everyday
- Implement a reactivation campaign to win back lost customers
- Revise your goals for the month quarter and year
- Change your presentation to place the customer’s values first and your corporate marketing messages last. Remember client’s only care about what’s important to them
- Talk to your five best customers. Ask them to evaluate your situation and make suggestions for new markets
- Get a coach or a mentor. Invest in a live training program and network with other professionals for a new perspective.
- Get to work an hour before everyone. Put in more productive time.
- Stay away from the complainers. Don't make your sales worse by hanging around the life suckers and underachievers.
- Each night before you go to bed make a list of 20 things that happened that day that you are excited about or proud of.
- Spend 15 minutes before you start work reading materials that focus on developing your positive attitude. Search for blogs or online sources, or start a classic book from Napoleon Hill. Skip the newspaper!
- If you travel, listen to motivational or educational CDs in the car ALL DAY. Make sure your mp3 player is also loaded with motivational CD’s for listening to in airports, train stations and while travelling.
- Record your live presentations. Review them with a manager a superstar colleague or your coach. Take notes. Implement new ideas immediately.
- Ride along with the best sales person you know and watch how they are communicating with clients. Implement what they are doing into your sales approach.
- Take your boss with you on calls for a week. Or ask them to listen in on your sales phone calls. You'll get more feedback than you can handle, but it will help.
- Record your calls and listen to them. Would you buy from you?
- Tweet, blog or update your social media status with a value message or inspirational message daily.
You can change your results in any economy. Just look at Mike!
Once you accept the fact that you can change it, you can begin to recover one step at a time. Don’t try all 22 ideas at once. Simply pick 1 or 2 new ideas per week. Implement them every day for 7 days. Master them. Own them. And continue to use them as you pick 2 more the next week. Soon you will own your market
Believe in yourself. I do.
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Make sure you check out Colleen's latest book, Nonstop Sales Boom for powerful strategies to drive consistent sales growth quarter after quarter, year after year.
Colleen Francis, Sales Expert, is Founder and President of Engage Selling Solutions (www.EngageSelling.com). Armed with skills developed from years of experience, Colleen helps clients realize immediate results, achieve lasting success and permanently raise their bottom line.
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