“Selling Yourself in Today’s Competitive Marketplace.”
Everything seems eerily different now, as we slowly come to grips with the reality that the field on which we work and play has changed dramatically. Even those of us who were minding our own business when the downturn began breathed a collective gasp as the era of unabated prosperity that our economy has enjoyed for the last thirty years seemed to collapse overnight.
Not since the nineteen thirties have we experienced a scenario that could so widely impact the financial, political, and social fabric of our country, where the changing economic landscape will inevitably impact everyone at some point, if it hasn’t affected you already.
We have essentially been ‘snow-globed;’ turned upside down and shaken to the point where the tranquil scenes of our daily existence have been shrouded by a flurry of uncertainty that has suddenly clouded our view, and little pieces of reality now seem to be raining down in all directions.
This increased pressure in the marketplace comes with an ironic upside, however, one that has sparked a renewed sense of desire within companies, and, I dare say, throughout the entire sales profession. It turns out that the same people who are hungry for business are also eager for a new perspective and creative ideas about what they can and should do differently.
Never before have sellers been so willing to put their egos aside and adjust their approach to make themselves invaluable to their customers, colleagues, partners and company. I remember a time not so long ago when salespeople would come to my class without a pencil, fold their arms, and hope the clock would soon roll ahead to the end of day so they could head to the gym. Things are different now, as most people realize that some adjustments are in order with regard to how we deal with clients, as it appears that our best opportunity to emerge from the current predicament is going to be to sell our way out.
What happened to the glory days of selling, where new prospect opportunities were abundant, dot-com companies were spending money in all directions, and sales organizations exceeded their revenue targets by two, and sometimes, three-fold?
Well, guess what? Economic conditions have changed. With the threat of recession looming on the horizon, new prospects have all but disappeared, existing customers have tightened their budgets, and most of the “low hanging fruit” has already been picked.
Where does that leave sales organizations?
The natural tendency is to panic. With the bottom line in jeopardy, many companies are now scrambling to reduce headcount and cut back on expenses. As a result, edicts have gone out stating that there will be no more off-site meetings, salespeople can only travel when absolutely necessary, and some companies have even put a moratorium on logo golf shirts.