I just hung up the phone with a friend who is in industrial sales. Times are tough and sales are down. How do you keep the faith when every meeting, phone call and proposal ends with a “sounds good, but not right now.”
Do you remember the 1958 movie The Blob? Steve McQueen starred in this B-rated sci-fi movie in which an alien life form - The Blob - consumes everything in its path. Nothing is safe. Every nook and cranny is touched by the growing alien jelly.
Our current economic crisis reminds me of the blob. Nothing is safe. Every person, business, community and family is being affected by the economy. How do we stay positive when it feels like nothing will ever be normal again?
I find myself telling my pre-teen that we can’t buy that DVD right now, but maybe we can borrow it from the library. Families are gathering around the dinner table sharing a home cooked meal when they would have dined out.
And some high school students graduating next month that have dreamed of heading directly to college in the fall - are putting those dreams temporarily on hold.
How do you stay positive?
Is the world against you? Recognize that although it feels like the world is against you when customers chose to delay a purchase or refuse to sign your proposal - that they aren’t against YOU - they are just focused on THEM. We are all circling the wagons. Protecting our resources in case things get worse. It isn’t a slam against you as much as it is an act of self preservation.
What happened to selling smarter? In the past it was better to invest your time and resources on the customer who made a big purchase; better to sell one $10,000 contract than 10 - $1,000 products. It is time to reverse that thinking. People are more inclined to spend $1,000 than a larger amount. Look at your products and services - what can you sell ala carte? What smaller services do you offer that customers can easily afford and see the benefit of and put your focus there. In today’s market it is better to spend the time selling 10 - $1,000 items than to NOT sell one $10,000 service!
Did you forget about this little item? When I worked for Pearle Vision we knew from past years that December was our worse month of sales. People forgo an eyeglass purchase for themselves in favor of a present for a loved one. One year we decided to see if we could break the mold. We realized that we had over 40 items that retailed for less that $10. We never focused on them. We never mentioned them and consequently we rarely sold them. That December we turned the spotlight on our little known accessory items and sales went through the roof. Do you have a smaller product or service that you rarely offer because it seems too small? Today would be a good day to dust it off and showcase it to your customers.
Is it contagious? Attitudes are contagious. If you hang out with business associates, vendors and peers who spend their time moaning and groaning about the economy - pretty soon you’ll join right in. After all, you have lots to complain about so why not weigh in with your woes? Traveling back again to the movies - remember Halley Mills in the 1960 movie Pollyanna? You couldn’t find a more negative, bitter population, but enter one spunky, glass-half-full girl and pretty soon the sun is shining and people are singing a happy song. If you can’t be that positive influence on others than find someone who is and let their positive spirit rub off. You’ve heard of “fake it ’til you make it?” Slap a smile on your face and look for the good in this economic crisis. Remember the old joke of the kid happily shoveling manure “with all this stuff, there must be a pony in their somewhere.”
When was the last time you learned something new? There is nothing more stimulating than learning something new. Something for your business, something for your own personal development or something just for fun; look for the opportunity to gain new knowledge. Your local library is the perfect place to start. Most classes are free and the venue is right in your own backyard. Visit the Libweb directory for a listing of libraries in your area. About.com offers a Continuing Education site for the non-traditional learner - that’s us - work by day, family by night and continuing education in the cracks. Check it out.
Bottom line - the current state of our economy isn’t a nightmare we are going to wake from, it is our daily life. So if we plan on getting out of bed and facing it head on - we need to arm ourselves with a positive outlook, a realistic approach to business and surround ourselves with those who will encourage and support rather than depress and deflate.
What tricks are you using to face each new day? Share them here. We can all use a little positive advice. Speaking of positive advice, check out Life Organizers’ article 21 Days to a Positive Attitude Habit.
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About the Author: Deborah Chaddock Brown opened her freelance writing business AllWrite Ink in 2004 after almost 17 years with the International retail optical corporation, Pearle Vision. Deborah’s background is in franchising, operations, marketing and communication, however, her passion is helping businesses connect with their target audience using the Internet. Deborah blogs at Websites People Read.