RESCILIENCE: THE ART OF WINNING IN SALES DURING HARD TIMES
It takes time, grip and help from people around you, and you are likely to experience setbacks along the way, an unforeseen third SOE extension being an example.
It has been a year since the nation was put in a state of emergency to help curb and mitigate the spread and potential devastation that the COVID-19 pandemic could exact on us as a country. Though harsh on some businesses, this was a welcome development by all for the good of the country.
However, many of us in the private sector did not expect it to exceed the initial six months. But although it was evident how much the private sector was badly impacted by the initial one, the second SOE came and the pill was swallowed. Approaching the end of the second SOE, many of us were hopeful, given all the indicators.We had received the vaccinations and a rollout was in motion, ailing industries that contribute significantly to the country’s economy were given the greenlight to operate and a promising recovery was in sight.
The backlash that came after the announcement of the third SOE is evidence that almost all hope has been eroded and that the little strength and fight that people still had was snatched away, especially from those operating in the SMME space and the informal sector.
In this week’s publication I want to tell you that the warrior in you still has considerable fight left. You have made it through a year of turbulence and unforeseen challenges that you never thought possible. You have fought through, have done your best and as disappointed as you are now, you can dig deeper to carry on.
We are at a point where resilience can get us going and I want to help you build a resilient mind and attitude.
What is this resilience?
Resilience is not jumping on a trampoline where you are down one moment and up the next. Resilience is climbing a hill without a chart. It takes time, grip and help from people around you, and you are likely to experience setbacks along the way, an unforeseen third SOE extension being an example. But eventually you reach the top and look back at how far you have come and are glad you never gave up.
Let’s look at how you can build resilience in these hard times to help you keep your head high and solid so that you win in your sales endeavours, and importantly, build a bulletproof character that can take you through any challenges that life throws at you because COVID-19 is just the beginning.
ADOPT AN OPTIMISTIC VIEW
In life you are going to deal with different characters who hold on various perspectives and idealisms with a vice grip and you cannot break. There will be realists who look at things as they are and say, “Times are hard, so roll with the punches and live for today.’’ You are going to meet pessimists who will say, “Times are hard and everything is going to burn to ashes. So why even bother’’ Then you have the unbreakable and unbendable souls in hard times who look at any situation and say, “This is the opportunity to evolve myself for the next level I never thought I could do.’’
I am not encouraging you to be irrational in your decision-making. What I am saying is that given all the cards dealt to you, and having a full comprehension of what is in front of you, you need to develop a mind that can see victory even in the slimmest of chances. The economy is contracting and buyers are extremely cautious with every purchase they make and the level at which they object any purchase proposition you give them is fortified. They are also making decisions with the pandemic and SOE in mind. They have to protect their territory. Understand your value proposition but let us discuss that further next.
BE SOLD IN YOUR VALUE PROPOSITION FIRST
It starts with you; not your company or any syndicate or third party. Your prospects or customers are humans like you. If you are not sold on the value your products or services, then what do you expect from your customers? You are your brand ambassador and advocate before any influencer or any second or third party. Be sold on the viability and the value that your products or services add to your customers. That is called purpose. Knowing the good that you contribute in the world and the space you are filling on this blue planet. I promise you that you will fight for that sale because you know what benefit it will add to your customer. It won’t be just a sale but value add to someone’s life.
This might be a shock to many in sales because as sales professionals you provide the lifeblood that your business or company needs - the sales/revenue or profits after the expenses are deducted. Take this with full intention. In essence, sales is not a company dealing with a company or a transactional relation in case of a B2C. As a sales professional, you should understand that you are dealing with human beings who have emotions just like you and are affected by the pandemic just like you. Yes, be sold on your value proposition but remember the principles of human psychology. Human beings are emotional beings driven by our emotions that arise from what is happening in our environment. Understand the strains that are imposed on individuals as a collective from the current events of what is happening in your area of locality and internationally if that poses a threat. Now, micro zoom that on your area of operation and by all means try to build a picture of what your customers are also going through. I am not talking your prospects or customer’s domestics because that is invasive and intrusive. I am simply saying be sensitive and understanding of the current impacts that are happening in relation to your prospects or clients.
I am not going to deeply dwell on this because I am sure many have their sources of motivation with this age on abundant information and access to the Internet. However, let your motivation be deeply rooted in the points we that discussed earlier in this article and not a dopamine rush from your Internet guru. Let your source of motivation come from your family, serving your customers and prospects. Be motivated by knowing that your efforts with each and every transaction add a difference to your family and customers.
In today’s social media influenced me, me, me and me culture motivation. Source your information from a perspective that is about contributing and adding value to those around you and those you deal with, especially sales individuals.
HAVE SELF CONTROL
It is important to note that some prospects and customers are making emotion-based decisions because of this pandemic. As a sales professional, these might be from a hard objection perspective or a highly vulnerable one. It is important to emphasise ethics in sales as much as it seems like an eat or get eaten environment due to the pandemic. If you are able to have a customer, be careful not to burden them because you can spread your quota objectives among various prospects or clients to be successful without over-leveraging and displacing one prospect or customer to be successful. Sales is about relationships. The pandemic will pass but your reputation will stain like ink forever. Think far ahead and not a foot ahead!
DEVELOP EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE
I understand that as a sales professional or business owner, sales are your lifeblood. Those you provide for and your business sustainability and this pandemic have taken you to extreme emotional heights. This is the opportunity to assess your emotions in sales, given all the micro and macro environmental factors at our disposal currently and score yourself. Rather score yourself if you were your employee or those you are supervising. Nice, you see, as much as you are expecting eloquence and resilience from them, then embody that as a beacon of leadership and hope.