Certainty or uncertainty! This question has been hanging in my mind for some time now.
How do salespeople, sales directors, and managers cope emotionally with the uncertainty we are experiencing in this day and age?
Many of the people I talk to in sales careers usually tell me that they don’t know where to turn these days.
No matter how hard they push, they don’t get decisions from clients and often feel that they are taking meetings to “warm up.”
But does it all have to be this way?
Let’s focus first on the issue of uncertainty.
Fifteen years ago, I was in a well-paid CEO position with all the usual perks.
From one moment to the next, the investors, who were Spanish, came in and said:
“Mira José que la empresa ha sido vendida!” (Hi Jose the company has been sold!)
And the good José, from one moment to the next, was left with one hand in front and the other behind, as they say in good Portuguese.
General Director jobs were not abundant at the time. Since I couldn’t find work in my area, I decided on a radically different alternative, which was to create, at the time, a project, today a company, Ideias e Desafios.
As you can imagine, starting from scratch with almost no money is not easy, but with the right strategy and calm, everything can be done.
Today we are a successful company, a leader in sales training and commercial leadership in Portugal, we already have 19 years in the market, and we have plenty of work and success!
But in the beginning… as you can imagine, what we had to face the most was the uncertainty of not being able to find training projects to do.
Especially when, not having much money aside, all this emotionally leveraged the problem.
I can tell you that it was perhaps the emotional issue I had the most challenging time facing. Finally, after years, uncertainty starts to turn into certainty.
It may sound strange, but it is true.
We start to stop thinking about the result and think about the path we have to take to get there.
In the world of sales, it would be to stop thinking about closing the deal, to start thinking about everything we have to do in the meantime to get there.
What most salespeople face today is very similar to what I encountered in the past when I started Ideas and Challenges in 2003.
So when people ask me what to do to deal emotionally with these difficulties, I usually give three pieces of advice:
Focus on what you have to do every day and not on the final result
Instead of thinking about closing deals every day, you might as well try to create initiatives to reach the “few” customers who are still buying in a qualified way.
Develop strategies that make sure that every time the customer thinks about Your product or service, Your company name, especially Your name, is in their mind.
Seek in all things to make a difference
We often look to do twice as much when what is missing is “giving the weenie.”
If you think about the commercial, what did it say, “A little bit was missing like this.”
In this day and age, these little bits can’t be missed, and every component of the sales process without exception has to have its “weenie.”
We need to “beat” the company’s sales process from A to Z and see where we can improve it and make it more effective.
Fine-tune the shot
Many salespeople I usually train approach their prospecting list without much preparation.
They pick up the phone or write an email with the usual chant:
“Hi, here I am. It’s not to sell you anything. It’s just to meet you and see if we can work in partnership…”
If even before this conversation didn’t catch on, today it is critical that when we pick up a phone or write an email that we can answer in seconds the customer’s question, “What’s in it for me to receive it?”
And if we can’t, we should seek to investigate more about our caller using the available tools, be they social media, Google, or others.
It is worth more to make five phone calls where we can tell our client what value he can get out of the meeting than to make 50 with the conversation mentioned above.
Knowing how to deal with uncertainty is crucial for a salesperson these days!
This week, stop for a while to think and focus on the path instead of the result. You will see that you might even get further than you initially thought.
Also published on Medium.