Ideas for sales crisis management, selling in a difficult market, increasing sales productivity, and business survival in a recession.
Optimism is a vital quality of successful salespeople as well as a precious asset when managing a sales crisis. So let's not dwell of the causes of falling markets. The first most important and most difficult step is to accurately anticipate the business outlook.
We all have access to the same information. Fiscal trends, the macro and micro economic influences, liquidity in our markets. The sweep of history and the winds of change are apparent if we stand back far enough. Now is the time to hope for the best yet plan for the worst. Optimism must be grounded in realism for it to be effective.
It is the time to think of ways to become much more efficient, to deliver more for less, and, to cut costs while redoubling business development and marketing activities.
This effort in blue sky thinking cannot anticipate the exact circumstances or the environment of any particular business or individual however, some of the following frameworks and ideas might inspire new thinking and the discovery or rediscovery of opportunities that apply.
Acres of Diamonds
In sales training courses I am continually surprised that participants have not heard the Acres of Diamonds story. As far as I can tell it first reached the ears of westerners in a speech by Russell Herman Conwell. His words were first published in 1890. If you would like to read the speech it is freely available online. In essence, Conwell tells of several instances where hapless individuals unknowingly abandon riches on land they own free and clear for the dream of greater wealth.
The first story purports to underpin the discovery of the greatest diamond-mine of the Golconda territory, now the Andhra Pradesh state of India.
Well you couldn't be blamed for a little scepticism about the drama of the story. Nonetheless, the point is well made. Most often, we overlook opportunities under our nose. So the challenge is restated, seek the low hanging fruit in your own garden that you have inevitably overlooked.
Get Outside Help
Despite years of hard work either building a business, career or both, much yet remains undiscovered. I have always found it valuable to recruit help when searching for the opportunities that should be obvious and apparent. At least they always are after they have been discovered.
Select some optimistic peers, team members, friends, family. It doesn't matter who providing they know your business and have an optimistic outlook. Select no more than six people at a time and conduct a series of brainstorm sessions.
You must have heard about brainstorming. The principle is to use collective intent to answer any question or solve any problem in hundreds of different ways. If you don't know how brainstorming works, the vital rule is that any and all ideas count regardless of their practicality or realism. Criticism of any idea is absolutely forbidden. You sort out the good ideas afterwards.
If you have tried brainstorming or even participated in a properly run session you know how productive it can be. If not, I urge you to try it. There is nothing to lose.
Don't forget to appoint a scribe who can write quickly and legibly.
Innovation happens faster when the need is great. If your stuff enables customers to do more for less, and you can prove a short term return on investment, the worst hit markets may still present increased opportunity.
Sales crisis can be averted by paying attention to the details.
Article by Clive Miller
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