Business is tough and getting tougher. Only one time in my 30 year business career have I experienced the difficulty in selling that I am now experiencing. Just like in the early 80s – although not as bad – buyers are fearful, cautious and skeptical about parting with their money. If you have been in the profession of selling for less than 20 years you have never experienced an economic climate like the one we are currently in. And I’m afraid this dismal climate will continue for longer and be more protracted and elongated than any of us can comprehend or foresee.
The fallout of this economic climate will be continued high unemployment, stagnant growth, the elimination of tens of thousands of businesses and hundreds of thousands of jobs. Nationwide unemployment has reached 10% and continues to rise with some projections that it may reach 12%. With every 1% increase in unemployment an additional million people become unemployed.
Even if you are fortunate enough to still be employed, this economic calamity has an enormous impact on your ability to extract money from people. Additionally, those who have money are squeezing the penny until Lincoln has tears. Last month, Americans saved 7% of their gross income. Those hundreds of millions of dollars were taken out of the market place and put in mattresses or in a coffee cans buried in the backyard. No matter how good a salesperson you are you’ll not get that money and neither will anyone else. Fact is there is less money to be had than at any time in the last 20 years. The easy money is gone and no amount of pissing and moaning will change that reality.
Avoid Becoming a Victim
If you are to avoid becoming a victim of this economic reality you must step up your game. You must become more skillful, more influential, diligent and resourceful if you are going to survive this economic train wreck. Specifically, you must increase your skills and improve yourself. This is the time to invest more not less in your education and skill enhancement. The shortsighted, cheap, ignorant and lazy salespeople who don’t get it will ignore this advice and will become extinct just as the dinosaurs.
Sales organizations like all organizations will become leaner and will be downsized. Only the productive will be retained. Companies are being forced to do what they should have done all along – face facts and deal with the complacency that exists within their sales organization.
Managers who are unable to build an effective sales organization will be demoted and reassigned or fired along with the nonproductive salespeople. Business owners who are ineffective in building sales organizations will find their revenue stream drying up and their company becoming a skeleton of its former self. Many others will be forced to close their doors and sell their assets for pennies on the dollar.
To put it bluntly all of us are in survival mode and only the strong and competent will survive. Success in today’s climate involves working much harder and being much more effective than ever before. Those who possess the skill, knowledge and talent to survive this current climate will be positioned to make enormous sums of money in the future.
You have a choice to make. You can get better or you will get gone.