How to beat a personal sales slump in a down economy

Hi guys,

The down economy affects even the best of us sales super stars; face it , thats the harsh bitter truth.

Economy in a slump, investment sentiments in the pits, consumer sentiments even worse, inferior goods and brands on the up, what can a sales super star do!!!

Well there is hope even in adversity folks.

First and foremost, as the old saying goes, WHEN THE GOING GETS TOUGH, THE TOUGH GET GOING,,….so time for those of us looking for taking on a challenge head on and coming out winners from this apparently hopeless situation, first things first.

Get cracking on your EQ!! Yes emotional quotient and loads of it will separate the men from the boys…I say this from first hand experience, having managed several sales roles over the last 18 years- you name it, have done it; B2C, B2B, direct sales, Industrial sales, Institutional sales, solutions sales etc etc etc…

so some pearls of wisdom to you fellow sales men and women out there in cyber lala land…

Step 1. Don’t Panic. Your work-related problems feel overwhelming not because of work, per se, but because of your personal life. You’re getting married, which is a huge, life-altering change. When you’re making a big life change in one area of your life, it’s easy for other parts of your life to take on an exaggerated importance. That’s what’s happened here.

Step 2. Get Some Perspective. Try to remember that as a sales pro, you’ll probably have a dozen or more jobs in your life. This is just one of them. Chances are you’ll come out of the slump, probably after you get back from the honeymoon. Worst case, you’ll find another job, but that’s no big deal. You how to sell so, by definition, you’re more hireable than 99% of the people in business today.

Step 3. Give yourself some credit. Even though you’ve got all this emotion bouncing around in your brain, you’ve still managed to drag yourself to work and do whatever you could in order to make your quota. That kind of courage is nothing to sneeze at. A lesser man might have given up in the face of a two month slump. You didn’t, and that means that you’ve got what it takes to survive.

Step 4. Reframe the Situation. The slump seems like a big problem, but is actually a big opportunity. Once you handle this situation, you’ll know that you’ve been “tested in the fire.” Conquer this slump, and you’ll know that you have what it takes to keep control of your emotions and nothing will ever stop you again. An opportunity like this comes along but seldom. Use it to your advantage.

Step 5. Create a New Pattern. When you’ve got some alone time, sit quietly, close your eyes, and remember the times that you’ve made some big sales. Imagine, as strongly as you can, how you felt, what you were saying to yourself, what you did to celebrate. Make the memory as vivid as possible. Right when you’re feeling at the top of your game, say something the reaffirms your confidence while doing a dramatic physical gesture that locks the feeling into your body. (Example: clench both fists and say “I DID IT!!”)

Step 6. Break your Old Pattern. The reason that you’re in a slump is that your panicky feeling has become habitual. Here’s where we break the habit. Whenever you start feeling that feeling of dread, stand up (immediately), shake yourself, and then run the new pattern that you created in Step 5. (Clenched fists! “I DID IT!!”). Constantly interrupting your habitual fear scrambles your brain so that it won’t be able to get into the old pattern as easily. It also makes the beginning of the panic trigger a positive emotion, rather than a continuation of the panic.

Step 7. Work your Sales Cycle. Now comes the easy part. Focus on the mechanics of selling. Make the cold calls. Do the follow-ups. Make the customer calls. Don’t think about the outcome, or your quota, or anything else other than the sales cycle. Work the numbers. Do your job. Every time you feel that fear coming back, break the pattern and re-establish your confidence. You’ll be surprised at how quickly your sales performance will improve.

3 Strategies for Successful Pricing during a Downtown

Hi readers,

Since 2008, its been a struggle across the globe for leading brands- those providing cutting edge services and great products are on their edge trying to figure out strategies that will not only help them tide over this global recession and depressed demand, but also enable them to make decent profits.

Not an easy as it sounds.

The US markets have been sputtering at below par GDP for over 4 years, the Nigerian market, largely unaffected by global money markets has managed to delightfully buck the trend and has grown at over 5%, and growth in India currently stands at 5.5%, well much higher than that in the US, much lower than that seen in China, BUT well below its real potential.

Those who wish ( or wished ) to invest in India are cagey at best, or have already given up on the India story “fairy tale”perpetrated by the Indian Government and their spin doctors!

Business leader after another has painted an abysmal picture of the Indian economy and would rather take their investment plans overseas than sit on piles of cash here, with no returns.

So what are the facts-

The current economic climate might be the worst some managers have yet seen. With customers so jittery, the stakes for getting pricing right are high, and managers may be unprepared to avoid common pitfalls of pricing in tough times.

Based on my assessment of strategies used by successful businesses in past economic downturns, I have put together 3 generic strategic directions that the enterprise may want to consider before formulating and deploying a strategy that works in this downturn

  • Understand how price-sensitive customers will behave – and act on that knowledge more quickly than competitors.

A recession, is an opportunity to learn faster about changing customer behavior and gain advantage through this insight. You look not only at the taillights of the car in front but the car in front of him (and in front of him). By paying attention to your customers’ customers (and their customers), you can identify problems before your business crashes into some unforeseen pricing reality.

Essentially it entails that you need to develop client/consumer insights beyond your nose. This requires first class grip on analytics ( big data need of the hour!!), practicing DILO (Day in the life of) and spending more time with trade channel partners, with THEIR clients and comprehending their needs.

  • Consider the longer-term strategy before changing prices.

“The great danger is you take sensible short-term decisions that screw up your long term brand value,” says Cram.

What this means is this- dont get pressured into taking decisions on impulse- if the board or the CEO (under pressure from the board) starts breathing down your neck, action AND NOT reaction may be the best strategy. You need to understand that in times of crisis and pressure, anger and reactions are normal- problem is, that if it starts to impact the board and the CEOs behavior, some where down the line, the reaction needs to stop; better it starts with YOU and you put your head down to really think hard and think through and then put your well thought case to your CEO or the board. You will be better served when you are seen as a sane voice in a room full of senior executives gone insane with pressure!!

AND dont forget- your logic and a long term perspective has to be the underlying theme for your pricing strategy.

  • Be sympathetic to cash-strapped customers – and take care not to start a destructive price war by accident.

Make sure your price cuts don’t appear to be panicked reactions to falling sales. Your rivals will be watching you closely, and you don’t want to start a price war. If that’s a possibility, it’s better to promise to match competitors’ prices. And if it’s your competition that’s slashing process, think carefully before following suit. Your rival’s decision,  might be ”the idiot decision of one manager who is going to get fired.”

I could not agree more on this. Panic an knee jerk reaction to a competitors pricing policy is NOT the answer for ensuring long term sustainability of the business, the top line and the bottom line.