Sales Acceleration Through Economic Uncertainty

In this world, one thing is certain: uncertainty. Weather, financial markets, politics, pandemics, war, and everything in between invariably cause disruptions in our lives and businesses. Strangely, life goes on amid all the chaos; buyers still need to buy, and sellers still need to sell.

It can be challenging to stay focused and driven in all the chaos, especially when times are tough, but sales success can happen with the right attitude, strategy, and process. In this episode of Sales B12, Jack and Caryn discuss what sellers can do to accelerate sales regardless of the headwinds.

Have a Growth Mindset

Many things go into success in a challenging economy, but first and foremost, it’s not something tactical: half the battle is your mindset. In her book Mindset, The New Psychology of Success, Carol S. Dweck discusses how people typically have one of two mindsets; a growth mindset or a fixed mindset. The good news is that we are not born one way or another – we can choose the mindset we want for different situations.

Dweck describes people with a fixed mindset as those who see their qualities as fixed traits that cannot change. They believe success hinges on innate talent alone, and you can’t improve skills and intelligence enough to change the outcome. People with a fixed mindset tend to give up easily under the guise of, “it’s not my fault; it’s outside of my control; there’s nothing I can do about it.”

Those with a growth mindset believe that people can change or grow to become better. When faced with adversity, those with growth mindsets say, “Wow, there’s a ton of opportunity in this situation!” Sellers with a growth mindset aren’t afraid to take on challenges outside their comfort zone, have a new strategy or new way of working as well as work hard to improve their skills.

Operate at a Higher Level

Successful sellers know it takes perseverance and relentlessness to ensure success, especially in an uncertain economy. In his book Relentless, author Tim Grover discusses the mental attitude it takes to be unstoppable, including how to trust your instincts, control and adapt to any situation, and find gaps and opportunities.

Focus on High Payoff Activities

In a changing environment, you must avoid getting distracted and regularly examine if the activities you’re spending time on will move the needle. In the Sales B12 episode, Maximize High Payoff Sales Activities to Drive More Revenue, Jack and Caryn discuss strategies to stay focused on activities closest to the revenue line.

Call on the Right Accounts

  1. Existing customers – The easiest sale to make is the one where people are already buying from you. Go wide and deep to get as close as possible to 100% “share of sale” with your current clients. Read Caryn’s article, What else? Who else? What’s bigger than that?, for more ideas about how to get new dollars from existing clients.
  2. Centers of influence – Finding and collaborating with the right centers of influence can be highly effective at keeping the sales pipeline alive. In the Sales B12 episode, A Demonstration of the Power of Centers of Influence in Sales, Jack shared a story about his swim coach, Steve, and how he built his business by building a referral network of companies that sold to the same customer but were not direct competitors.
  3. Target accounts – Call on fewer people more frequently. Selling is the transfer of trust, and too many salespeople call on too many prospects that are not the right buyer or type of company. In doing so the right prospects don’t always receive the right attention. Be focused and strategic, look for companies that need you most.

Look for Trigger Events

Trigger events happen when businesses are forced to take action by modifying their products, services, processes, or people to accommodate market pressure and stay competitive. In this Sales B12 episode, Caryn gives an example of pinpointing a trigger event that caused a niche market to have an immediate need for her company’s Door Opener® Service. She said that during the Pandemic banks had to pivot quickly to serve their customers in new ways. Banks that did it well kept their customers: those who did it poorly put many CEOs and CFOs back in the market looking for new banks.

When one door closes, another door opens! Caryn saw an opportunity to provide her Door Opener Service® to bank leaders who wanted to capitalize on the shakeup but who were slammed with PPP paperwork, leaving little time for sales outreach. Since Caryn’s company specializes in outreach to C-level executives, this was a perfect fit for banks that wanted more new clients and wanted meetings with those looking for new banks!

“Look at the market a little differently and identify narrow market segments where people have to act, despite uncertain times.” ~ Caryn Kopp, Chief Door Opener®, Kopp Consulting

In another example, Jack’s speaking business was disrupted during the pandemic by travel and COVID restrictions. Onsite keynotes were off the table, and many speakers waved the white flag, canceled gigs, and stopped selling. Jack’s mantra is to always look for the win in a tough situation, so he hired a crew to build a professional video production studio in his home. Three months later, he set the Guinness World Record for 21,261 people tuning in to a virtual Zoom event!

Don’t Sell

In a tough environment, prospects don’t want to be sold. What they want is for you to help them. Prioritizing their need to buy over your need to sell helps prospects make the best decisions for their companies and builds credibility as well as trust. If your solution is a good choice for them, focusing on adding value versus selling will convert more opportunities into deals.

“Make it a win for your client; make it a win for you.” ~ Jack Daly, Professional Sales Coach

Don’t Wear Rose-Colored Glasses

Jim Collins, the author of The Stockdale Paradox, showcases, showcases the power of realistic optimism. In the book, he shares the story of Admiral Stockdale’s experience in a POW camp. To survive, every day, the Admiral told himself, “This day is going to be really tough, but I will live and have great times ahead of me.” Unfortunately, the prisoners with optimistic viewpoints about being rescued did not survive. They weren’t able to face the reality of their situation. The takeaway for sellers and sales teams during tough economic times is to be optimistic about your ability to make it through, be realistic about the challenges ahead, and strive to up your game.

Inspect What You Expect

We all know that things that get measured get done. During uncertain times, staying focused on the right goals helps prevent anxiety and getting distracted by shiny objects that take our eye off the ball. and monitor them closely.

Put in the Time, Do the Work

If you don’t talk to your prospects, your competitors will. Make sure to carve out time for business development. If your sales team needs more prospecting hours to grow the pipeline, consider outsourcing the role to experienced business developers who can get those initial meetings with prospects. Not every great hunter is a great Door Opener. If you need help, ask for it!

There is always opportunity in business. Sales acceleration is achievable with the right attitude, strategy, and dedication to the process!

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