Sales and Sales Management Blog

April 16, 2008

Sorry, Folks, It Isn’t The Economy


I’m hearing from more and more salespeople and managers that life on the street is getting increasingly tougher. That’s true, it is.

I’m hearing from more and more salespeople and managers that finding ways to get in front of quality prospects are also getting tougher. That’s true also.

I’m hearing from more and more salespeople and managers that it just isn’t possible to hit their numbers in this economy where people and companies are facing much higher costs of basic commodities such as fuel, unease about where the economy is headed, and decisions to not let go of dollars right now. That isn’t true; you can make your numbers.

Let me give you examples from three of my coaching clients who are proving that you cannot only make your numbers; you can explode your sales.

One of my coaching clients is a business banker in New York—Long Island to be exact. He and I have been working together for a little over three months. When we started working together at the end of December, he wasn’t meeting quota and he was concerned about being able to do so as the economy got weaker. We changed much in the way he was doing business–added some things here, eliminated some things there. We focused on meeting each segment of his quota and then concentrated on developing his most profitable business segments. The result? In March he was the #1 business banker in his area, more than doubling his previous level of business and almost tripling sales of his most profitable products.

Another coaching client is in the dreaded mortgage industry. When she called me, she was trying to decide whether to get out of the industry or whether I thought she’d be able to scrape together enough business each month to at least stay in the business long enough to weather the current mortgage and real estate crisis in Arizona. She wasn’t a top producer during the great months of the past few years but she had been making a nice 100k income all the same. She decided to try to make it work and we began working together in November. Again, we changed almost everything she was then doing. In March, she had the biggest month of her career, she has already exceeded that in April, and it’s only the 16th.

A third coaching client is a sales manager in the securities industry. Faced with nervous financial advisors who were faced with nervous clients and prospects, he doubted his team would be able to halt the increasing decline in business they had been experiencing over the past months. As a team, his office had always been middle of the pack producers–but had been declining even further each month for a quarter. They were now in the bottom 30% of the company’s offices. His income and almost all of his team member’s incomes had been hit hard. He was getting a tremendous amount of pressure from the regional office—who was getting it from above–to get things turned around. He and I have also been working together since November. Over the past four months, we’ve concentrated on developing his coaching and mentoring skills. He’s been working with his team, coaching them as we go along. He’s had me do 4 sales meetings for him over that period of time. His team is once again meeting their goals and exceeded them last month, as they will this month. He has clawed his way back into the top 40% of his company’s offices and believes he can possible get to the top 25% by the end of the year. He’s still getting pressure from the regional office. Now, instead of pressure to get things on track, he’s getting pressure to continue to produce to make up for losses in other offices. He’s much happier getting that pressure than he was about getting beat-up because he wasn’t producing.

You can make your numbers. The economy isn’t the problem. There are still companies needing banking services, people buying homes, people needing investment and financial advice and products. There are companies needing every product and service out there who have the money, the need, and the willingness to buy.

If you want to make your numbers, you must find ways to identify and connect with quality prospects. They’re there. They need your products and services. The economy is tough, no doubt. The business is still there. It is simply a matter of learning how to find and get the business. Don’t let the excuse that it’s the economy kill your business.

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