Never Waste a Good Crisis II
In the best of times, being in sales and leading a sales team is a challenge that requires resilience, following a process, and maintaining motivation.
This becomes an even greater challenge as we enter this period of economic uncertainty. We've been through these times before, and each time, they create a divergence in human behavior. Some stand up to the challenge, while others shrivel in fear. This is not only true of individuals, but companies as well.
Here are three ideas to help you and your sales team weather economic storms.
1. Own Your Mindset
Mindset is everything. A negative mindset will expect bad things to happen, but a positive mindset will encourage good things to happen.
One thing you can do to keep a good mindset is to improve your self-awareness. Writing down your plans and priorities, as well as getting feedback from your colleagues, can help you be more aware of your personal situation and remain positive.
You also want to separate fact from fear. News about the economy can be scary and lead to panicking. It's important to look at the situation as objectively as you can and determine what's really worth worrying about (if anything). You may discover that things are not as bleak as they seemed.
In her book Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway, Susan Jeffers recommends playing things out and observing what happens. We can't always predict what will happen. Sometimes you just have to get out there, experiment, and then make adjustments later.
2. Don't Do It Alone
As salespeople, there's sometimes the tendency to "make it" alone.
This is the time a manager's ability to mentor, train, coach, and lead really counts. But managers usually have a lot on their plate, and in tough times the reporting pressures increase, leaving less time to be in the trenches with your team. Fortunately, there are firms and partners who can help.
For companies, this is also the time to see who your future leaders are. Who is helping to guide their colleagues? Who has the best sales numbers, while at the same time providing assistance to their colleagues? Who volunteers for projects and routinely gets good reviews from their immediate supervisors? These are your future leaders, so mentor and nurture them.
3. Double Down
One of the worst moves in blackjack is to play conservative based on your previous few hands, rather than what's in your hand right now. You can relate this to sales when it comes to news. Short-term news is just noise. Rather than playing it safe because the news tells you things are about to get worse, you need to double down on your strengths.
One of the best ways to do this is to invest in yourself and your team. What are your team's strengths? How can you nurture them? Make a plan for highlighting and improving on these strengths.
At the same time, you can also take a look at your team's weaknesses and make a plan for improving them. Courses, training, and workshops can help your team members increase their skills, making your team stronger as a whole.
At a time like this, you need your team to be better than the competition. By nurturing strengths, improving skills, and investing in your team, you can build loyalty and relationships among team members. This makes the team stronger and allows it to last longer through tough times.
Sales professionals and companies definitely feel the strain when the economy is going through hard times. However, there are things you can do to get through these tough times and prosper in spite of them - own your mindset, find the right partners/mentors/coaches, and double down on your team's abilities.
In the words of Rudyard Kipling: "If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs, yours is the Earth and everything that's in it."