Thursday, January 22, 2009

Surviving a Bad Economy - "Live to Fight Another Day in Sales"

Unless your specific industry has been lucky enough to sustain "across the board" overall growth through the past year, the road ahead will be difficult one for all who travel it. And if you haven't planned on taking market share from your competitors in 2009, you will certainly find an even harder road ahead of you.

That being said, many salespeople simply won't achieve either their company sales quotas or their own personal sales goals in 2009. Economic downturns are also a really bad time for the "non-believers" in the sales profession. It seems that every 8-10 years when a downturn occurs, our ranks of salespeople are purged of the ones who don't belong. The problem is, however, that some really good people end up getting caught in the cross hairs of this decimation, too.

If you can't achieve your goals for 2009 - what should you do? First off, don't give up or concede the year at this point. We are only a little more than halfway through January, so we still have close to 95% of the year left! As a salesperson you are an agent of change, so get out there with your best "game" and make it happen. It might be a harder ladder to climb, but you as a salesperson have the power to climb it.

When times have ever gotten tough in my own life, one of my favorite Clint Eastwood movies always comes to mind - The Outlaw Josey Wales. Towards the end of the movie, Josey Wales and the people he has befriended along his journey find themselves preparing to defend their homestead from an impending Indian attack. After going through every one's job and responsibility in preparation for the attack, Josey says to the group, "Now remember, when things look bad and it looks like you're not gonna make it, then you gotta get mean. I mean plumb, mad-dog mean. 'Cause if you lose your head and you give up then you neither live nor win. That's just the way it is."

And that is the way it is. Complicated problems are often coated with simplicity in the way they are solved. Wake up earlier. Work longer. Exercise more. Make the extra call. Read another sales book. Get mean. Get mad. Accept nothing but a complete and total victory. And if the 1987 version of Mike Tyson appears before you ready to brawl, you are going to go down swinging. Make the SOB regret ever stepping in the ring with you, even if he wins. Because he is going to get hurt in either case.

There is a warrior spirit in all of us. When times get tough, we have to call on our warrior spirit. Warriors have never been, and will never be determined by their wealth, race, creed, gender, or religion. Yes, you can be a beautiful 115 lb woman and have a warrior spirit you can bring out to succeed in sales!

Take to the streets right now as if you were Mad Max the Road Warrior on his last quest. If you put in the effort and combine it with a well thought out sales strategy, you can succeed in '09. More importantly, even if you don't achieve all of your goals this year - "you will survive and live to fight another day." And remember that surviving is worth something, because a good economy is always right around the corner.

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