The following summarizes what many salespeople have been saying as I've spoken with them this week, "Wow, it was hard to find buyers before all this financial mess and now it's impossible ... it's killing me!" I get a sense that fear is strangling a major portion of the sales world. If you are able to look past all of the market rhetoric and stay clear of the negative forces generated by greedy executives and politicians who have long since lost the definition of "Statesmen," you might actually find encouragement to discover that the one person who has the greatest potential for solving this financial crisis is you. It's in your control! The problems on Wall Street really do have a direct impact on Main Street, but the good news is they now intersect directly onto My Street, and I'm in control on My Street.
If you have fallen into a trap of feeling helpless or overwhelmed, then here is a word of caution: you are now one step away from becoming a blamer, victim thinker or procrastinator, and that's the final step before your sales disappear. We're living in a global-micro economy; that means all political and economic events have significance to your individual world -- if that causes fear for you, then times ahead will likely be difficult. If you approach this new business era as an exciting time with waves of new opportunities and you plan to change to grow with it, then you'll likely find the future even better than the past.
So, how do you find balance, energy and enthusiasm, and grow your sales in today's market? Change how you think! The human mind always responds to the questions we ask ourselves; let me offer some thoughts to consider in the days and weeks ahead. Challenge any negative thoughts you have; stop several times a day and ask yourself the following questions: What action can I take today that will positively impact my business and move me forward? How can I find new ways today to be a leader and push against this enormous gravitational pull of negativity? What's really scaring me about my current situation? What is the probability that my worst fears will fully develop versus something positive occurring?
Since behavior always drives feelings, what five behaviors am I doing today to move myself forward? Just this simple exercise will start you toward a more positive process. In all markets, and especially in the unique one we face today, it's not the products, the price, the process or the programs that will get you through; it's your ability to think more effectively. I'm reminded of the quote by Marcus Aurelius that "Fear can be a debilitating force for most salespeople. If you're fearful of anything external, the emotion is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it, and this you can revoke at any moment."
Determine if you have lost touch with your intuition, creativity and energy; if you haven't had any new ideas lately or learned anything exciting, that's a sure indication that fear has taken over as your guiding force. Fear is defined as a psychological condition created as a result of a conversation you are having with yourself in the moment about something that has transpired in your past, either real or perceived, which you now believe will occur again in the future, but perhaps even worse. The result of fear is to prevent you from processing your most clear and accurate thoughts at anywhere near maximum efficiency; in short, fear simply shuts down your ability to think. Take control of your thoughts, and you will take control of your fear. Behavior always overcomes a fearful attitude ... doing the behavior that has gotten you results in the past and trying new things and staying consistent in your efforts will get rid of a lot of the negativity. Act as if the next call will change your life. Sell as though the next sale will be the biggest. Don't stop the behavior that leads to positive results. Ask yourself better questions, and remember the three "M's" of selling:
FOCUS ON YOUR MARKET - have an ultra clear and precise idea of where your best prospects are located and who are your best targets.
FOCUS ON YOUR MESSAGE - it must be quantifiable, objective and define your dominant competitive advantages.
FOCUS ON YOUR METHOD - if you've got the right market and the right message, make certain you have the best method to deliver your message. Know the five, six, seven, eight, nine ways that you get your message to your market and become an expert at managing those methods.
By the way, these three steps are what define "Marketing." There is an old saying in real estate that the three most important things which determine value are location, location, location. So what better place could we be if Wall Street and Main Street intersect at My Street? That's valuable real estate and since I own it, I should control it. Illustration by Rob Gree