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Selling in a tough market

One of my favourite sales and personal development sites is www.GavinIngham.com - it's packed full of inspirational articles and proven sales strategies. Recently, Gavin has been talking frankly about the state of the economy and how individual salespeople and business owners alike can buck the trend and carry on making sales.

His most recent post is offering a free special report entitled Selling in Tough Markets 7 Strategies for Selling More in an Economic Downturn or Recession - www.gaviningham.com/selling-in-tough-markets . Gavin acknowledges that the market at the moment is tough - there are no sugar coated pills here - but points out that there are things that top salespeople are doing which mean that they will continue to bill and bill successfully.

I asked Gavin if we could reprint a small overview of the article and this is what he had to say...

1. Stay positive!

Your attitude determines your altitude. Your attitude determines your ability to access your skill. Your attitude determines your success or failure. If you don't know that, you should go do something else instead of sales!

Gavin says that salespeople should take responsibility for remaining positive and up for it. After all, who wants to do business with a demotivated salesperson or recruiter.

2. Believe you can!

What you believe about this market is going to determine what you get. There's plenty of negativity out there, don't let you, your team and your business be a victim of this. Find ways to build, support and nurture positive beliefs about your company, sales and success. Make sales meetings positive affairs and celebrate victories, wins and successes rather than focusing on doom and gloom.

3. Prospect! Prospect! Prospect!

Prospecting is the lifeblood of salespeople. No matter how good a salesperson you are, prospecting is critical for your success. The more clients you call, the more chance you have of closing more sales. This is not a case of quantity or quality because quantity and quality are not mutually exclusive.

You need quantity and quality. If your conversion ratio is down, up your activity. If your existing clients are pulling in their belts, ring some more. When everyone else is sitting on their arses, get out there and meet people.

4. Visit more clients!

In the busy times we often neglect some of our clients. Maybe we take on a new piece of business with a client but we don't get chance to meet them as often as we'd like (or at all!). Maybe we have existing clients that we'd like to see but we don't have to, so we do something else instead.

In a downturn clients want reassurance that they are working with the best, that their suppliers are thriving and that their supply lines are rock solid. Take some time out to plan which clients of yours would benefit from a face to face visit, a lunch or a coffee and make that call!

5. Check commitments!

Salespeople who learn to sell in easy markets cut corners. Not because they're lazy but because they don't know any better. Dotting the "I"s and crossing the "t"s is not so essential in booming markets because busy markets are sellers markets. Busy markets pick up the slack. Qualifying properly is still important but it is possible to succeed by doing a reasonable job rather than a perfect job. Tough markets are not like this. In tough markets you need to check commitments. You cannot afford to be working on client opportunities where you end up giving "free consultancy" or where your client is just on a "shopping comparison trip". The key to gaining commitments is asking the right questions and this is something that I teach in both my Close the Deal seminar and my Professional Selling Skills seminar.

6. Ask for referrals!

Few salespeople ever ask for referrals. Fewer still always ask for referrals. Most never ask for referrals. This is because clients can and do say "No" so it is often easier to just not ask than to risk yet another rejection. Asking for referrals should be built into what you do. Asking for referrals should be mandatory for you, your sales colleagues and your sales team. Sure, you'll get some refusals but if you ask at the right time and in the right way you will get some fantastic leads and introductions and you will grow your business with quality prospects.

7. Strengthen relationships!

Most salespeople do not spend enough time thinking about the quality of the relationships that they hold with their clients. There are many aspects of your relationship with your clients and spending time strengthening and improving those relationships will encourage loyalty, openness and partnership in all markets not just tough ones.

Think about the various aspects of your relationships with individual clients (for example the awareness they have your company, how they view your business, how they view you, your personal relationship, your business conversations.) and devise a plan of action for improving and strengthening those. Start with your key target clients now.

I hope that you found this as beneficial as I did. If you want to download the whole of the 14 page special report, and I recommend that you do, you can get it free at www.gaviningham.com/selling-in-tough-markets/ . All you have to do is join Gavin's newsletter on that page and you can download it right away. Once you confirm the newsletter there is also a free podcast Secrets of the Sales Superstars.

Author: Ruella James | Respond to this post

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