Stop watching the news! Come on folks is this what we’re destined to become? A nation of bad news junkies? And the reason I say this is because every time I turn around someone is telling me how bad it is out there.
Well guess what, we’re the only ones who can make it better!
And I’ll tell you another thing, there are salespeople, entrepreneurs and business owners out there right now that haven’t even had the time to look up and witness a recession. Why? Because they’re too damn busy opening up new markets, capturing market share and beating out all the competitors who have been scared off by bad news.
Listen, for 26 YEARS, from 1982 until September of 2008 the U.S. economy was in a recession for a grand total of 16 months! In other words, we are coming off of 26 total years of economic prosperity; the longest economic boom in the history of the United States, which is amazing. But therein lies the problem.
Most salespeople and business owners have been order-takers for decades.
Let’s face it, when business was booming did you really have to sell? Or did you just sit around waiting for the phone to ring or the door to open?
The big problem for far too many salespeople and dealers is they only know how to sell this way. They’re still sitting there waiting for the phone to ring (which it’s NOT) or the door to open (also NOT).
What is needed right now is a strategic attitude change when it comes to goal-setting, client relationships and prospecting for new business.
I am in the business of motivation and aggressive business development. Getting professionals of all stripes to take action in their lives, careers and businesses is what makes me tick. And with all the negativity every where you turn, I want to make an extra effort to get my programs into the hands of people like you.
My programs will help you create a game plan for your life, career or business and get back that crucial confidence you need to make 2009 a big winner. I promise you that.
For the first business week of December ending this Friday, I am offering a 50% discount on all of my products. They can be found by clicking these links:
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Simply click on any of the “add item to cart” links like you normally would to purchase with us, and the 50% discount will automatically be deducted from the order total.
I can’t take credit for the title of this article. A client of mine said to me the other day, “A downturn is a terrible opportunity to waste,” and I thought to myself, “Boy, that really sums it up.”
While there is always business to be done (let’s not forget, there were people who made fortunes during the depression), there are plenty of other things you can and should be doing during a downturn to make your business smarter, sharper and more efficient.
Develop your own. The biggest complaint I hear from small business owners is: “How do I find good people?” The solution is one of two things: steal them from your competition or develop the living hell out of what you have. Personally, I think you’re better off developing what you have.
Stealing someone from the competition might work during boom times, but during a downturn you just might be getting someone else’s mistakes. Remember what I wrote in my recent posting titled, “A Swift Kick in the Rear.” Our economy has been so good for the last 26 years (only 16 months of recession in that time) most salespeople have no idea what tough times are like and are not used to selling in them. Do you think the competition’s people are any different?
Turn up your training effort. Get back to the basics in your sales training. So often when business is booming and everyone is doing well, we tend to forget about the basics.
Don’t forget about sales managers! The sales manager is the key link in any sales organization. Give me a mediocre to poor sales force and let me put them with a great sales manager and guaranteed, you will soon have a great sales force.
When business is great who notices bad sales managers? Heck, we don’t even notice bad salespeople, since anybody can do business in great times. But, in uncertain times like these, the cream rises to the top. If you haven’t started already, it’s time to teach your sales managers how to motivate, educate, inspire, coach and lead the people that report to them.
Don’t forget your service people ; or anyone else who has any contact with the clients and customers. It’s time to really emphasize everyone’s role in the sales process. Remember, everyone sells.
Just because you are a customer service rep, an installation technician, an administrative assistant or a delivery person don’t think you are not part of the sales process. Sure, you’re not responsible for bringing in business, but just like everyone else in the company, you’re sure as hell responsible for keeping what you have and making it grow.
There’s an old saying, it goes like this: “Just because you keep on doing what you’ve always done, don’t expect to keep on getting what you’ve always received.” Unfortunately, a lot of business owners and salespeople haven’t figured this one out yet.
In the last few weeks I’ve spoken to three different clients whose business is suffering. Right away you’re probably saying to yourself, “It’s the economy,” and to a certain degree you may be correct.
However, after speaking with these clients and really understanding their sales process, I realized that the economy was only part of their problem; and not necessarily the biggest part.
The real problem is that their salespeople or dealers have been using the same sales process during tough times that worked for them during boom times. They refuse to change; mostly because they either don’t know how or they’re afraid.
Let’s face it; we’ve had it pretty good for the last 26 years. Since 1982 the economy has been in a recession for a grand total of 16 months! At this point, any kind of downturn brings panic because there are literally millions of people out there who have no idea what a real downturn looks like. These same people have mostly sold during good times. They don’t know any other way.
During boom times, many of these salespeople and dealers didn’t sell; they didn’t have to. They just waited for the door to open or the phone to ring and the orders would just pour in. They never had to leave the office and actually drum up business.
Guess what? The phone’s not ringing and the door’s not opening and that’s not good. But what’s worse is that there are too many salespeople, dealers and business owners who are still sitting there waiting for that phone to ring or door to open.
It’s time for a strategic attitude change. If the business is not going to come to you, you have to go to the business. I’m not saying you’ll necessarily do as much business as you did during boom times, but you’ll do a lot more business than you would sitting there waiting for the phone to ring and sucking on the gas pipe.
And I don’t care that you don’t know how to do it because you’ve never done it before: Learn! You have no choice. What’s the alternative? Besides, that’s just your “fear” speaking. Everyone is afraid of doing things they’ve never done before. Also, don’t give me the tired excuse, “That’s not the way things are done in our industry.” Baloney! Times have changed, so that means the rules have changed too. If you don’t change with them, you will be left behind.
Talk to people. Go back to all of your past clients and ask for referrals. Will you hear a lot of NO? Sure you will. But I can tell you from experience, “No,” from a real live person is a much nicer sound than a dead phone.
The age of doing business by accident is over. Clients and customers have so many choices today that you can’t expect to just show up, throw your briefcase on the table, and grab an order.
Now, is this a doom-and-gloom scenario, stating that there’s no more opportunity out there? Of course not. In fact, there’s more opportunity out there today than ever before. I really believe that no matter how successful you are right now, you have an opportunity to be more successful than you’ve ever been before.
There’s just one catch: In today’s competitive world there is no more margin for error.The companies and the people that will succeed today, tomorrow, and on into the future are the ones who will be willing to do everything RIGHT.
I know that as a client, customer, or consumer I can buy almost anything I want from the Internet and I never have to talk to you! So the question now becomes, what is it that you are willing to do for all your clients, customers, and prospects that creates so much extra value that it is more beneficial for them to buy directly from you than to just click on their computers?
Need help selling value? Click here for my online audio program Supercharged Selling, which will give you everything you need to turn customers into clients for life.
In other words, how are you differentiating yourself from the competition?
I think the single biggest question I have for you is this: What are you really selling?
Are you just selling whatever will get you the fastest commission, or are you selling extraordinary quality, service, convenience, and value? Are you just selling the first thing out of your bag, just to get your boss off your back, or are you selling “Save me time and make my life easier”? Are you just selling whatever the customer thinks they want and need, or are you selling knowledge, expertise, information, and education?
Are you just selling stuff? Are you just selling what everyone else is selling? Because if you are, I can click on my computer and I can buy stuff from the cheapest guy in town.
Get out there and sell some value.
Two years ago, I posted a blog article titled, Consequences of the Easy Way Out.
It detailed the experiences of my son, Michael who was 18 at the time. It told how his penchant for taking the easy way out had put him in a position where he had limited his college choices. He ended up at a school he hated and while he did well, academically, in his one year there, his transfer choices were limited, to say the least.
I wrote in the article, “The good news for Michael is that these are not earth shattering or life threatening mistakes, and since he’s only 18 his actions, or lack of it, have become a valuable learning experience.”
Thankfully, I was correct.
Michael decided, since he couldn’t go where he wanted to go, he would take a year off from school and work full-time. Let me tell you something: there is nothing like a dose of the real world to really help you appreciate what it takes to be successful.
Michael worked hard as a Pizza delivery man for the local Pizza Parlor. He made a lot of money and saved a lot money. He invested wisely in the stock market and made a significant profit.
After a year, he decided it was time to go back. Through an acquaintance of ours, he was told about an excellent small private university 45 minutes to the west: Elon University. We checked it out; Michael loved it, applied and was accepted.
If he would have applied right out of high school, no way he gets in. But since he decided to “Do the hard,” his first year of college, those freshman grades got him accepted to a school he really enjoys and where he is not taking the easy way out.
Mistakes, bad judgment, always looking for the easy way out; these are not irrevocable tragedies. You can easily turn these around to your advantage just by realizing “The extra effort I put in up front, will save me far more time and effort in the long run; make my life better overall and assure me a successful future.”