A very wise man once said good economic times can mask mediocre sales performance. During expansion, we often can't meet demand. But during slowdowns, there are fewer requests for proposals and more pounding the pavement. Maybe you've heard this joke: My 401k is now a 201k. Maybe you don't think that's funny.
One Monster member asks, "I am about to accept an offer, but worry the economic correction may doom my first postcollege job. Any advice?"
My response: "All success is temporary. All failure is temporary. Work hard and build relationships. My wife and I started our business during a recession, and we're still standing. Henry Ford said, 'Worry kills more people than work. That's because more people worry than work.' Quit worrying. Start working."
You can't control the news, the Fed or the president's tax plan. You can return to basics. Create economic opportunities by outselling and outworking the competition. The economy isn't growing as fast, but people are still buying and selling.
It's important to control what you can in selling, which is how top salespeople manage their personal economies. Consider these five factors you need to control during the slowdown.
Control Factor 1: How Many Times You Dial the Phone
You cannot control who is in when you make a sales call, but you can control the message you leave. Make it short, client-focused and full of valuable information that piques interest. Don't just request a call back. Promise important customer benefits. You can use the ratio of dials made to appointments booked to secure enough meetings for success.
Control Factor 2: The Quality of Your Presentations
There are two kinds of presentations: product-focused presentations, which are boring, and client-focused presentations, which are exciting. You can't bore people into buying, especially during the slowdown. Focus on customers' problems rather than yours to close more sales.
Control Factor 3: Whether Your Client Focuses on the Present or Future
Sales trainer Larry Wilson said 90 percent of life's excitement is in the future. Most problems are today. Help prospects envision a more profitable operation from your product or service. That's what selling is all about.
Control Factor 4: The Information Programmed to Your "Computer"
Motivational tapes and upbeat music create a better mood than the Dow's latest plunge. Don't avoid all news, but find positive things to fill your brain. I've quit watching TV weather because of the Storm Team's approach to nonstories: "Three inches of snow could fall! Hoard canned goods! Venture outdoors only in extreme emergencies!" Viewing negative newscasts won't help you develop a positive attitude.
Control Factor 5: Your Sense of Humor About the Slowdown
Some customers make the slowdown a reason not to buy. They need professional salespeople's prodding to do what's right. "You can't save your way to prosperity," is a possible one-liner. Then, give your solution's benefits. "The only way to coast is downhill," is another. People who want to wait and see, are stalling. Tell them with historical certainty, the market goes up and comes down again.
Great salespeople thrive in slowdowns and recessions. They help their customers solve problems. And plenty of prospects have problems and money to solve them. It's a wonderful opportunity to develop new sales skills and profitable relationships. Have a productive day.