Written by Sean McPheat |
Here’s a great question that Paola sent me a couple of weeks ago:
“How do you keep your spirits up when you are going through a bit of a rough patch and every potential deal seems to be falling through for reasons beyond your control?”
That is a very good question and one that takes a bit of maturity in the profession of sales to even recognize and admit. Often, it is the old school mind set sales people have in that you should just “not take things personally,” and just “stay positive and smile and dial.” That attitude of denial to the fact that sometimes things are not as well as they could be is what causes burn-out in our industry. So, I congratulate you on seeing a need to do something to help keep your head straight when things seem to spiral out of your control. Let’s face it, just by “thinking” positive will not change the facts on the ground; sometimes no matter what you do, you will have that week or month when everyone seems to say no, financing falls out of place or sales go down the tubes for the most ridiculous reasons. So what do you do?
Don’t get me wrong; I believe in the power of positive thinking. However, all of that positive thinking must be followed by positive action. As a sales professional you need a few tangible, physical actions that you can take to help you keep your spirits up. Here is an action; a physical thing you can do that will help you maintain a positive attitude under any circumstances.
Set short-term activity goals and targets. You see, normally all sales goals and related targets are all based on one thing: the SALE. All of our hard work, self worth, everything we are, we judge based on the amount of sales. Therefore, when sales are low—that’s it—everything is low!
However, you have to realise that the sale is only the end result of a long sales process and system. The sale in fact is only a small “PART” of a sales process and does not exist on its own. You can’t make a sale without a certain number of appointments, or seeing a number of qualified prospects. You can’t make a sale without a certain number of calls or emails or closing attempts. All of these activities are actually part of a sale and they pay you regardless of the outcome of each individual sale. In other words, if you have a closing average of 20%; that is you close one out of every five closing attempts, then the four that you do not close, actually have a value. They have a value of 1/5th of the average sale. When you walk out of one that you did not sell, you actually earned 1/5th or 20% of the commission that you will earn on the one that you do sell. You see what I mean? Those four are PART of the sale. You can find more on how this works on articles and material at MTD on the Science of Selling (SOS).
But in the mean time set those smaller activity goals; set 10 more appointments, send out 20 more emails, set a goal to increase your closing average on the phone to set appointments. Set a goal to get two more accounts to the proposal stage. When you set these short-term activity goals and reach them, then even when the end results are slow in coming, you will see tangible, verifiable progress and that will keep your head on track.
Originally published: 17 July, 2008