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Forget the Economy:
Three Ways to Boost Sales Now

By Nathan Jamail

Making 2009 the best year in sales is easier than you may think. Many companies are having a good start and are not choosing to participate in the “recession.” They are not using blind optimism; rather they are choosing to take control of their company’s economy. The economy between your ears will affect you and your company’s success more than the national economy. As soon as people realize what they think and how they act is going to determine their success much more than what the news talks about, then they can experience the same level of confidence and success as those organizations or individuals who are thriving in the “recession.” In business, just like in life, people will get exactly what they are willing to accept. Don’t accept less and commit to getting more, and you and your team will.

There are three areas to focus on in order to make your own economy:

1) Fight the “Power of New”: Fancy marketing programs or sales gimmicks are not going to help companies increase sales in 2009. It’s going to take good ol’ strong sales leadership and coaching. Aggressive marketing campaigns and big promotions may give a company a short-term boost in sales, but it will not sustain the boost in sales unless the company can sustain the decrease in profit. The leaders who are willing to do what they know and fight the “power of new” will truly win by increasing sales. The “power of new” is the thing when the leaders implement a new program and after 60 days the newness of it has worn off and it starts to look like a lot of work. This is when the idea and the implementation fade away and the team goes back to doing what they did before. Fighting the “power of new” takes a strong leader and commitment to keeping the team excited and motivated. Don’t let your sales program go to the black hole of great programs that fade away.

2) Go back to the basics:  The key to success in sales is similar to sports. The trick plays and last minute Hail Mary passes don’t win games; rather it is the execution and focus on the basics of blocking, running and tackling. In sales leadership, the basics are coaching, practicing and accountability.

 Practice Program: Turn your weekly sales meetings into practice sessions. Commit to 45 minutes of practice to a selling skill, not just product information. Fight the temptation to assume that since your sales teams have been selling for years they don’t need to practice. The difference between an amateur and professional is not their tenure but their commitment to practice and getting better! The top reps should practice the most. Implement a daily role-play program, just like a golfer goes to the driving range before every tournament, or professional teams practice before each game.

Coaching: Conduct weekly one–on-one meetings with reps and hold each person accountable to the needed activity level to ensure their success. In professional sports, we hold the superstars to higher standards and expect more from them at games and at practice. In sales we should do the same. Don’t leave your superstars alone because they “know” what they’re doing. Remember, if you aren’t willing to invest in making your top salesperson better, someone else will. The greatest thing a sales leader can do for their sales team is hold them accountable to getting the next level and accept nothing less.

Building the Bench: Start building the bench by conducting weekly to bi-weekly interviews to make sure you have the best players on your team. Focus your teams’ efforts on prospecting for new customers and growing your existing customer base. Ask yourself: “Knowing what I know today, would I re-hire this person for my team?” If the answer is “no,” then do something about it. Help the employee to become the person you would hire, or hire someone you know can help your team. In this recession it’s going to take great leaders to make the tough decisions to build a winning sales team.

3) Focus: Focus can be your greatest advantage. Many company leaders and employees are distracted by the constant bad news of the economy. Use the distraction to your advantage. While other organizations worry about how to hold out until this “economic downturn” is over, the winning companies will focus on how to take advantage of the current economy and will implement their own “economic stimulus package.”  Employees are looking for answers and guidance on how they are going to succeed during these tough times. The leader must show their sales team how to create their own success. Develop and implement a plan that shows your team what they are going to do to increase their sales. Many successful leaders will tell you that you can have more success in a down economy than an up economy. This is determined by the focus of the leaders. Determine your plan for success and explain to your team the why, and the how it will be done.  

The economy can be the greatest excuse for failure or the greatest motivator to succeed.   The choice is yours!

Read other articles and learn more about Nathan Jamail.

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