|Can You Sell Anything These Days?
What the heck is going on? Who’s thinking of buying
anything with all this commotion on our little planet? Internationally,
the possibility of war is stronger every day and the likelihood of global
unrest continues, even without an ‘official’ war. The threat of and
our vulnerability to terrorism has not faded since September 11th.
Nationally, the space shuttle Columbia, and its brave crew of seven met
their untimely fate. Although the risks were always there, shuttle
landings were barely news anymore because they were continually
successful. Other news is no brighter. Economically, the markets remain
stagnant in the valleys of stock loss and investor distrust in the midst
of continued investigations and fines on Wall Street, bringing us full
circle, the winds of war.
So, in thinking of what to write about this month, I
thought I might address selling and marketing in tough times. Why? I’m
not a psychiatrist, psychotherapist or counselor but I have been accused
of being an optimist -- no matter what -- so I thought I would present my
approach to all this #%*&@*! happening around us. Consider this the
Customer Catcher pep talk.
Let’s take a closer look. It’s not the standard
fare of dealing with objections, or economic hardship, which lead to
organizations’ belt-tightening and cost savings programs but the
emotional state of the companies and individuals we sell to or work with.
Here are some general tips for working on your psyche to stay on top of
your sales and marketing game.
FOCUS ON THE GOOD STUFF
Just decide. Decide to focus on whatever good you can find in your
day. Focus on your family, friends and co-workers. What great things are
happening so close to us? Are your kids winning at sports or getting high
grades in school? Any new babies being born to family and friends or has a
colleague been promoted? You don’t want to present a fake attitude or
act like you’re in ignorant bliss but I guarantee there is something
positive and fun to talk about within your sphere of life.
DECIDE TO BE
We all know the bad stuff happens without our help, which means we can
devote ALL our energies to making good things happen. Be proactive in your
communications and your approach. Note your mood before you start your
day. The first step to improving anything, including your mental state, is
knowing where you are now. Listen to your favorite music instead of the
news in the car. When you phone someone, commit to being the most positive
person they speak to today and to finding ways of making them smile before
REVISIT YOUR GOALS
There are many companies that thrive despite all that is going on
around them. They continue to focus on their goals. True, they may have to
adjust to the environment, but they remain focused with the “end in
mind.” By over-emphasizing the negative events, we distract or depress
ourselves to the point of taking our “eyes off the ball.” In racing
car school, they teach you that if you start to spin out not to look at
the wall. If you look at the wall, you drive into it. You need to focus on
the direction where you steer clear of the wall.
If many people are feeling overwhelmed, you have the opportunity to
give them a boost with your uplifting and positive communications. Phone
your network just to say “Hi,” and let them know you’re moving
forward and good-to-go! Utilize a positive vocabulary and avoid
empathizing downwards. Rather than reinforcing someone’s slump, jolt
them upwards with your personal determination to make things better
despite current events.
A common statement typical from any sales trainer is “Enthusiasm
sells.” More specifically, it’s your ability to bring a positive
perspective to a prospect or to instill a strong sense of confidence about
you and your service. If you let yourself get mired down in the death,
misery and pain broadcast by the media, it’s harder to get yourself
enthusiastic and motivated, let alone transfer that to your prospective
clients. Again, it goes back to focus.
Remember sports events where the favored athletes lose their
competition? Even though they were favored or recognized as the most
skilled, they were bettered by a hungry underdog. Look at many
championship teams, from the Super Bowl for football to the World Series
for baseball, and you will find that the teams with the League’s
“superstars” didn’t necessarily win. How much are you or your staff
driven by a team commitment to support those around you, from co-workers
to clients, rather than “superstars” looking for individual or
financial glory? When we’re more concerned about others, we don’t have
as much time for self-pity or worry.
I recently read, “Leadership is about action, not position.” If
you are planning any public relations events, see if you can tie them to
raising money for a trust fund set up after a tragedy, like those for
victims of fires. Help the armed forces and their families communicate
across the globe, if you have technology for better communication and can
offer it at reduced rates or free.
Opposites attract. If you’re a positive, confident individual that
communicates respectfully and with integrity, then you are likely to draw
the interest of a prospect who is feeling relatively negative or
As horrible as some things are, if we get really honest with
ourselves, many have little relation to our business life or situation. We
like to attach our shortcomings to worldly issues to rationalize our poor
results or efforts, e.g. “I’m not getting on the phone today because I
feel bad about this or that.” As our thoughts and prayers go out to the
families of the Columbia’s crew, the people at NASA remain resolute in
the continuation of their work in space. Excluding space agency suppliers,
how much has the NASA Shuttle program affected your company in the past
five years or ever? So why should it now?
Use the events of the world in contrast to your life to not only see
how good you’ve got it but to motivate yourself. The astronauts
literally and willingly put their lives on the line to further science and
technology, yet some people fear something as simple as picking up a phone
to call someone they don’t know. We don’t have to ride on thousands of
gallons of flammable gas to reach our business goals, so why are there so
many excuses for how difficult it is “out there?”
POSSIBLE – REALLY!
Yes, there are people with available budgets to invest in your
products and services. They might just be a bit distracted, stunned or
living in fear. What can we do to move them to action, whether it’s to
get a deal closed or even something as simple as visiting our Web site? We
must remain aware of our own emotional states and leverage whatever means
necessary to keep ourselves ‘up’ in order to remain energized and
focused on our sales and marketing success. So, have a nice day!
Martin Wales, The Customer Catcher™, helps technology companies
generate easy, profitable sales by "Skipping the Selling and Getting
to the Sales™." Learn more from the audiotape series, Profit
from PR Power: How to Successfully Sell Any Technology Using Affordable,
Effective & Powerful Media Promotion. Hear PR pros reveal their
step-by-step systems for building brand awareness, using affordable
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