Our online sales training clients in Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver are starting 2016 with a very unique way of thinking. They expect the year to be one of the best ever. In light of current commodity prices, many economic experts would say that’s simply foolish thinking. What gives them that enthusiasm?
We all are aware of the state of the economy. Based on the price of oil, the national media has reported the facts and statistics. That’s it’s job. Unfortunately, it leads many of us to expect 2016 to be a challenging year, where any form of profitability will come from cost control.
Your sales perception
You could accept this reality. Many companies will. Or you could do something about it, realizing that how you perceive this year has a major influence on its final outcome. Know that if you choose to be reactive, you will run the risk of your competition strategizing to be proactive and steal market share.
The best time to advance is when your competition least expects it. We will all have to work harder and offer better customer service levels than we did last year. We have to ensure that we provide great value to our clients and stay in touch with their changing needs. We will have to deal with lower client budgets with the demand of lower rates or risk losing the business.
The Man Who Sold Hot Dogs
This story will help you start 2016 in the right frame of mind. It’s called “The Man Who Sold Hot Dogs.” It pre-dates the web and the original author is unknown. It’s a timeless story about self-fulfilling prophecies and the influence your thinking has on your future. As a Sales Manager, I often shared this story with my sales team.
There was a man who loved his business. He sold hot dogs.
He never had the opportunity for a formal education.
He considered himself to be a simple, hardworking person.
He knew one thing – he sold excellent hot dogs and people loved his personality.
He welcomed everyone with a smile and tried to make everyone’s day brighter.
It worked. People liked his hot dogs. They loved the way he made them feel.
And people bought.
He increased his meat and bun orders and bought a beautiful, modern hot dog cart.
His son graduated from college and wanted to help his Dad out.
But then something happened.
His son said, “Dad, haven’t you heard the news?
The economy is not at all in great shape.
These are tough times and we need to be smart.”
Whereupon the father thought, “Well, my son’s been to college, he knows things that I don’t. We need to take action.”
So the father cut down on the quality of his meat and bun orders. He sold his new hot dog cart and started using the old one. This is the time to reduce expenses and expect lower sales. He said, “When the economy comes back, I will be ready for it.”
And his hot dog sales fell almost overnight.
“You’re right, son” the father said to the boy.
“We certainly are having tough times.”
Here’s my personal takeaway…
In every field of business, there are leaders and followers. The unmistakable mark of the leader is the ability to be proactive. The followers tend to be reactive. Waiting for things to get better will do nothing but make you vulnerable.
This is not the time to be idle. Your net profitability, as always, will be based on two factors – top line revenue growth and bottom line cost control.
Be careful not to sacrifice one for the other. Always be aware of your thoughts. Success starts with what happens between your temples. Your perception often times become your reality.
What do you think? I’m always interested in your comments. Please let me know what you think. If you liked this article, share it on your favorite social media platform.
Plan wisely. Have a great 2016!
Dave Warawa – PROSALESGUY
Author of SHUT UP! Stop Talking and Start Making Money
Available on Kindle and paperback.
Click the link for a preview of the book
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Great article and you are spot on. Some of my clients and prospects are talking about “cutting back” and “waiting to see what will happen” and I am talking honestly with them about those decisions. Perception is a big thing right now. We live in an economy where businesses are closing quite rapidly. And when a business stops advertising altogether, it gives off the perception they are closed, like they have fallen victim to hard times. I have a client that at first was going to end all advertising. (on our station anyway) But after speaking with the client, we both agreed that’s not a good plan. As I mentioned to the client, you have been a staple at a certain time frame for a long time. To all of a sudden be gone from our station, that tells listeners you are gone. Do you really want your business to be thought of as “gone”. Now that doesn’t mean the business is glued to that spot for ever, but if it is time to change up the campaign, lets make sure a presence is still there. I also talked to the owner about competitors. I simply asked the client, are you ok with being less aggressive in the market, which is opening doors for your competition. I think you are correct, now is not the time to be reactive, but proactive. Thanks for sharing Dave!
I couldn’t have put in better, Jamie. When a plane reaches its cruising altitude, the pilot doesn’t turn off the engine. Thanks for your comment. Have a great 2016!
Couldn’t agree more. To add my opinion; the more challenging the environment, the greater the need to get back to basics. When things turn (they ALWAYS do), the dividends will be huge!
All the best in the New Year Dave!
Thanks for you comment, Rick. The professionals in every industry know that their thought pattern has an uncanny influence on the outcome of their activities. The story of Roger Bannister and the four minute mile is a classic. Best in the New Year to you!