January 19

Selling In Tough Economic Times

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“The race is not to the swift but to those who keep on running.” The author of this quote is unknown; however, selling in tough economic times means you finish the race in order to achieve your sales goals.

Selling in tough economic times is similar to running a marathon. Sales cycles can become longer.  Buyers are hesitant and either not investing dollars or really scrutinizing how they invest their dollars.

Effective sales managers recognize that selling during tough economic times can frustrate and discourage their “sales runners.” Some salespeople are tempted to stop running. They cave to excuses such as, “No one is buying.”

Tune into the emotional state of your sales team. Increase your coaching efforts and delivery of encouragement. Think of people who run marathons. Often, they have people cheering for them as they cross each milestone of a 26-mile race.   

Selling In Tough Economic Times

Teach and reinforce the emotional intelligence skill of delayed gratification which is the ability to put in the work to earn the reward. Build your sales teams delayed gratification skills by executing these three coaching tips.

#1 Coaching Tip For Selling In Tough Economic Times

Hold a goal setting session with your team. The power of writing down goals is that it forces all of us to get clarity in what we want and what they don’t want! Research shows that people who set, WRITE down and review their goals are three times more likely to achieve their goals.

A fun way to set and visualize goals is to conduct a vision board session with your sales team. (Lots of information on the web showing you how to conduct.) This exercise helps your sales team get clear on WHY they are working. And when salespeople that know their why, they are more motivated to do the work. They keep running and they finish the race.  

#2 Coaching Tip For Selling In Tough Economic Times

Teach your sales team the power of self-awareness. Help each member of your team identify when and where they default to instant gratification activities versus delayed gratification activities. Instant gratification is a strong emotional pull, one that tempts human beings into taking shortcuts.  

Salesperson demonstrating instant gratification 

Salesperson demonstrating delayed gratification 

Chooses the “hope and wing it” approach to sales. Doesn’t calendar block uninterrupted time for thinking and planning.

Schedules uninterrupted time to think, research and pre-call plan upcoming sales meetings.

Confuses being busy with being productive. Takes no time to analyze business so continues to meeting with prospects that can’t and won’t buy.

Takes time to analyze their wins and losses and adapts selling behaviors to avoid repeating the SAME mistakes.

Gets easily frustrated with qualified opportunities that are taking more time to make decisions. Doesn’t install a system for meaningful follow-up.

Follows-up consistently with qualified opportunities, adding value with each interaction and conversation.

#3 Coaching Tip For Selling In Tough Economic Times

Remind your sales team to watch the company they keep. Tell me who your friends are and I will tell you what you’re like. The people with whom you associate dramatically affects your daily attitude and actions.

Coach your sales team to eliminate the time they invest with negative people. Time is finite so make sure your sales team is investing time with people that are optimistic and realistic.

Realistic salespeople understand that selling in tough times is going to be tougher.

Oh, well. That’s life. 

They’re optimistic because they know that the best time to be in sales is during tough times. Why? Most salespeople lack delayed gratification skills and won’t do the work necessary to finish the race.

Selling in tough times doesn’t have to be so tough. Apply delayed gratification skills. Set goals, raise your self-awareness and invest time with the right people. 

Good Selling!


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