Given the current conditions, it’s easy to blame the economy when sales stagnate. However, the economy may be only partly to blame.
The fact of the matter is that the holes in the sales process are hidden when the economy is good. Whether the economy is up or down shouldn’t matter as much as how your sales team adjusts to the slowdown.
When organizations encounter a sales slowdown, they should adjust their game plan accordingly and not get trapped into doing more of whatever activity is not working. Management should be willing to make an investment to change their approach faster than their industry changes in order to avoid a more severe downturn.
There are no guarantees that your business will never face a sales slump, but there are things you can do to ensure your sales team has a better chance of success.
Change is Good
Change can be hard for a lot of people. However, your sales team must learn to love change as a part of your sales culture.
“Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.” – John F. Kennedy
Try to view change as an opportunity to try something new and to adapt new ideas to the current circumstances. Encourage change by challenging your sales staff to be creative with sales techniques and reward successful new ideas. If something doesn’t work, encourage them to learn from the mistakes and keep the new ideas flowing.
If you want to be remembered, do something that makes you stand out from the pack. Although a giant purple inflatable gorilla may not fit with your company image, it is an excellent example of an “attention getter”. Remember, when you’re average, you’re just as close to the bottom as you are to the top.
Training and Education
Encourage a passion for learning and foster an environment of self-improvement. Your sales team has talent, or else you would not have hired them. Augment your current sales program with access to self-improvement opportunities, giving your sales team the ability to become more talented than the competition.
Lead by Example
Business owners and sales managers need to approach the sales effort with the mindset that they have an obligation to continually demonstrate the kind of sales behavior, attitude, and philosophy that they want their team to employ. They should also demonstrate the principles of creativity and respect, and encourage an open and fun work environment.
Now is the time to make an investment in your sales effort. To build up your sales team that can produce in an economic downturn. What may matter most is the commitment to initiating change, the tolerance for taking risks, dedication to employee training, and management’s ability to lead smart.