So here we are, the Monday after the “Big Bailout”, oops, we are supposed to call it a rescue, nonetheless, the morning after as it were. The initial reaction was a bit of a let down, a big selloff as soon as the House capitulated, abandoned the resolve it showed only a few days before, surrendering what last of their spine and other body parts in the process. So if I believe what the pundits were telling me all weekend long, we are now ready for the comeback.
Well I am not sure where we are, but it is clear that the worst is not over by any measure, and as a result sales people are in for a rough ride over the next few months.
Let me say right here that this is not a doom and gloom piece, in fact it is meant to be a piece that will help you realize that in every type of market there are opportunities for sales professionals. But the reality is that many sales people have not gone through the level of slow down we are likely to see before it gets better.
This will result in many leaving the profession due to their in ability to drive sales. They either refuse to focus on improving skills; fail to accept, adopt or execute a proper sales process; or choose “busy work” over “productive planned activity”. None of these are hard to address or resolve, but unfortunately in good time people come to sales due to the easy money aspect of the profession. Since they never had to adopt a formal approach to sales as a profession, they will lumber on for a bit, then they will blame the market and try to ride it out, and eventually (hopefully not that long) they just up and leave. I will not miss them, will you?
This group represents only a portion of the sales community, while many managers will first be nervous when their departure leaves open territories, they will quickly recover when the revenue drop is not as bad as expected, in fact the departure will be seen as a plus, and an opportunity to improve things. For real professionals this is a great time, not easy, but great. Here is where by applying proven principals and practices they will continue to make money by executing their craft. By planning their territories and properly utilizing their time they will be able to meet the justifiable greater expectation of their prospect/clients.
A reality of the time is that price will become a greater issue. This is not only because of the perception by buyers that they can afford to buy, but initially because the weaker sales reps sell more on price than ever before. The professionals really need to sell value, help prospects understand and realize the total cost of ownership and real returns on the right purchase.
An interesting aspect of times like these is that there are as many distractions as there are in good markets, the sign of a pro is not allowing the distractions to get in the way and continue to focus on the things that consistently make a difference. One of the most important is ensuring that we truly serve our clients and prospects. Focusing on their opportunities and challenges and ensuring that we capitalize for them, with them and from them.
Whether you have lived through similar down turns or not, be they the early 80’s, remember 16%+ mortgage rates; or the S&L crisis in the early 90’s. These drastic down turns are to be welcomed. They flush out the excess, and allow the real sales professionals to practice and benefit from their ability to execute their unique blend of science and art.
Tibor Shanto, The Pipeline