In 1959, John F. Kennedy referred to the word “Crisis” as spelled in Chinese as the combination of two syllables represented by the symbols Danger and Crucial Point. I believe that Kennedy presented this interpretation to remind us that when faced with a crisis, we are not necessarily helpless and that the impact it may have is based on our response and what we make of such situation.
As I speak to many sales professionals, when asked how things are going, it is often that I hear the words “tough market.” Many of them feeling helpless, overwhelmed and somewhat paralyzed in their sales efforts. This is, in many cases, caused by the attachment of the salesperson to a particular process or approach. When the markets makeup changes or shifts, the salesperson either does not know how to respond or plainly believes that there is no market and thus the paralysis.
If you believe that there is no market, you will not see it when it’s in front of you.
Consider this, the market is not “tough,” it’s different, requiring a new approach with new value propositions, new protocols of selling. It may call upon the sales person to awaken the ability to adapt, change or flow into new behaviors or responses to a situation that at first glance may be perceived as overwhelming and untenable. Clearly the economic environment and interest rates may have a direct impact on the purchase habits of a client market, however, there are other approaches that can be employed to “adapt” to the new market. Here are some tips to consider;
- — Recognize that there will always be a market – people still buy goods, still purchase homes or refinance their homes, it’s a matter of finding the point of suffering or pain or vision want of the client by asking questions and providing the solutions. You will discover new ways to provide your service product to your client base. It’s a matter of “asking open-ended questions.”
- — Seek to understand the opportunity or crucial point in the market. A good example is the mortgage market. Although a recent increase in interest rates may have slowed the purchase or refinance demand, on the other side of the coin property values have increased significantly. This may be the point where homeowners may leverage the newly acquired equity to either offset higher interest rate debt, e.g. Home lines of credit or offset debt, consolidate etc. it is a matter of approaching the refinance opportunity from a different point of view.
- — Be Present – Keep contact with your clients. I find many sales professionals not maintaining contact with their client database and in the process becoming “invisible” and losing sales opportunities. I know of a salesperson reached out to one of his clients after not having made contact for 18 months, and was greeted with “where are your ears burning yesterday?” The client had been unsuccessfully looking for the salesperson contact information for the last several days and was ready to go to another company for a fairly big purchase, all because the salesperson had gone AWOL.
- — See yourself as a trusted advisor – As a sales professional a key is to become a source of solutions in the eyes of your customer. As a result, your clients will see in you a high-value source of solutions that more often than not can be addressed with your service or product, in doing so, you will develop a strong a loyal following.
In the book Art of War, Sun Tzu explained it this way
“It does not take sharp eyes to see the sun and the moon,
nor does it take sharp ears to hear the thunderclap.
Wisdom is not obvious.
You must see the subtle and notice the hidden to be victorious.”
Crisis or opportunity, what would you like to make of this ever-fluctuating market?