Here are the facts:
- Oil price is at its lowest since 1983
- 65,000 people laid off in oil-related jobs
- National Debt is $1.3 Trillion
- National Deficit is $30 Billion
- GNP is -4.10%
- Canadian Dollar is at its lowest in years
Yah, but the reality is that business does not come to a halt. Companies are still purchasing equipment. I hate to say it but most salespeople are notorious for looking for excuses for their lack of results. What better excuse than a bad economy. It becomes great fodder around the water cooler and great coffee chat. It is very easy for a salesperson to implant these statistics in the brain, develop a negative attitude and just quit.
However, the top performers in the sales industry, recognize that in the face of adversity, there is an equal or greater opportunity awaiting. They don’t fall into the trap of whining, complaining, and blaming circumstances for their results. They recognize that if they are unhappy with their current circumstance, they change it.
Did you know that there were more millionaires made in the great depression of the 1930s than there were in the previous 30 years? This wealth was not created illegally or was based on some sort of scheme. And although these people recognized that things were bad, they focused on finding opportunities and looking for new and creatives ways of doing things. It showed in their results. I’m sure you have heard the expression, “You are what you think”.
This applies here. Focusing on debt, deficit, and unemployment, will get you just that. However, focusing on opportunities, prosperity, and abundance will get you that.
If you are wondering why I’m discussing this in an article about leasing, I will get to that later. First and foremost, if you are not getting the results you desire, here are 7 things you can begin immediately to turn it around quickly.
- Don’t Believe What You Here, Read, or See
Question everything. If you hear something on the news, read it on the internet, don’t take it verbatim. Take the idea and either accept it, reject it, or explore it further. Don’t fall into the trap of believing everything, and in turn implanting it deep in your mind. You have the ability to choose what you allow into your subconscious, but once it is there, it is not easy to get rid of. I’m not a believer in cutting out the news entirely or staying away from the internet, because they both can be a tremendous source of great ideas. Just remember that news is, in most cases, just an opinion. Even so-called facts should be questioned.
- Be Conscious Of Who You Surround Yourself With
The fact is, successful people, surround themselves with successful people, and unsuccessful people surround themselves with unsuccessful people. I’m not speaking necessarily of success in monetary terms, but rather, success in terms of attitude and mindset. A positive attitude will attract others with a positive attitude, and in turn, negativity attracts negativity. As a general rule, most financially successful people have a positive attitude and look for new and different ways of doing things when faced with adversity. Negative people generally band together and go down in defeat together.
- Change One Or Two Things
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results. The difference between success and failure in sales can be as fine as a razor’s edge. Look at your daily activities and change one possibility two things which will move you towards success. It might be a goal of ensuring that you are in front of a customer at 9:00 every morning, beginning your day with 10 new prospecting calls, writing a weekly newsletter, focusing on associations that need your product, or even planning your next day at the end of the previous.
The key is to make it a sales-related activity which you know you should be doing but currently are not. One final point on this subject. If you dedicate just one hour a day to a specific activity, it will equate to four, 9.5, forty-hour work weeks at the end of a year. Unbelievable but true.
- Refine Your Selling Skills
Top performers, understand that the sales profession is one of continual improvement. Continual improvement comes with ongoing training and practice. When things are tough, there are fewer opportunities. When there are fewer opportunities, you must be at the top of your game in each and every sales situation.
Take a brutally honest inventory of your sales skills and rate them from 1-to 10. Look at all aspects including prospecting, presentation skills, product knowledge, competitive knowledge, closing skills, objection handling, networking skills, and anything else which may fall within your specific sales cycle. Identify the areas in which you require improvement and get working on them. There are many free and paid online sales courses covering just about anything you need to improve on as well as, local companies that provided face-to-face training.
- A Systematic Approach
Salespeople have a lot of “Stuff” to do. More than others realize or give them credit for. Planning meetings, prospecting, fielding calls from happy or unhappy customers, attending social events, collecting money, doing reports, gaining product knowledge, gaining competitive information, doing quotes, following up on quotes, looking for leads, and of course meeting with customers. The list is endless, and unfortunately, most of the activities are not directly related to making sales and putting money in their pockets.
As part of their basic training, most salespeople are sent to time management courses, and quite frankly, the whole concept of time management is a load of garbage. We are all given the same amount of time, 86,400 seconds in a 24-hour period, to be exact. Time can’t be managed, however, activities, and the prioritization of those activities can.
Successful salespeople all have a systematic approach to their day. Do they ever stray from the system? Of course, they do, however, they recognize that their unique system is the key to their success, and if they get off track, they get right back to it. Developing an effective system begins with identifying the activities which are directly related to generating income by making sales. These are scheduled as appointments and are not canceled or postponed unless absolutely necessary.
Income-generating activities hold the highest place on the priority list and must be completed before anything else. They must be done consistently until they become habits. Unfortunately, because, income-generating activities are often the most difficult to do, at least until they become a habit, poor performers do them last. This in turn means, that sometimes they are not done at all, and show up in results.
One final note. You must respect other people’s time and command and demand respect for your time. This holds true for others within your office as well as customers and prospects.
- Develop A Social Media Presence
In this day and age, if you do not have a social media presence and a well-defined social media strategy, you are missing prospects and missing sales. Your company website and various company profiles on social media platforms are there to sell the company not you. Prospective buyers not only search the internet for company and product information but also the salesperson. Therefore, it is essential that you take control of your e Presence.
Your goal as a salesperson should be to dominate the first page of Google, Bing, Yahoo, and Safari when someone searches your name. The starting point should be a personal website, with your own name in the URL. The website becomes the hub of your social media strategy, and its primary purpose is to sell you.
If you do not know how to set up a professional website, which most people don’t, you can find thousands of areas on the internet that will show you how, Conversely, web hosting companies like GoDaddy and Hostgator, will have you up and running quickly, at a very reasonable fee.
Your website should be used to provide valuable content, send out email newsletters, and capture leads. From the website, you then link out to sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and more. Developing a social media presence is not a set-and-forget activity. You have to be proactive and current with the information you post. I strongly suggest outsourcing social media activities unless you have a strong aptitude for it.
- Provide A Financial Solution
When capital budgets are tight, companies are downsizing, and every penny is accounted for, it makes it more and more difficult for salespeople to make sales today. Individuals responsible for acquiring equipment often raise this objection as a means to postpone a decision, and ultimately not have to deal with a salesperson. It is often said that in times of tight capital budgets, salespeople should use words like cost savings, increased efficiency, expense reduction, and so on. In reality, this doesn’t wash.
For example, if a piece of equipment has a capital cost of $50,000 and will save the company $2,000 per month, the payback period is 25 months. That’s great, however, they still have to find the $50,000 today and not see the real benefit for 2 years.
On the other hand, if you can show the customer how they can acquire the equipment today and save them $500 per month immediately, you are now providing value and creating a viable solution for them. This is accomplished by incorporating leasing into the sales process.
For argument’s sake, let’s assume that the monthly payment over a 39-month term is $1,500. The equipment will save the company, $2,000 per month, meaning that the equipment can be acquired today, and begin saving $500 per month immediately. No brainer! In effect, you are not only providing the equipment, but also a means of acquiring it in the most economical way. A financial solution!
Many equipment vendors assume that their customers don’t lease, however, most companies lease something!
Copiers, buildings, fleet vehicles, and other equipment where a monthly payment option was provided. All types of organizations lease equipment. Small and large, public and private, and profit and non-profit, and governments and related organizations such as hospitals, school boards, and municipalities. If this holds true, there is no reason that they would not consider leasing the equipment you are selling.
You can’t assume that a prospect does not lease or would not lease, given the opportunity to do so. No one has ever lost a sale by providing a lease payment, but you have to ask yourself, how many sales have been lost by not making the monthly option available. It takes very little time, and costs nothing to incorporate a monthly payment into a sales presentation or quotation, however, doing so can a substantial impact on sales.
At this point, you might be saying to yourself,
What does this have to do with selling equipment in a down economy?
This information is what salespeople should be doing in any economy. You are absolutely correct, however, a downturn in the economy is a perfect time to reassess the ways you are doing things and really get back to the basics. When things are good, the phone rings more frequently, purse strings are looser, leads flow in, and customers are more apt to buy. You can get away with a little complacency. In a bad economy, the salespeople who refocus and do the right things every day, are the ones who rise to the top and succeed.