You have no leads. Your company doesn't provide you with any leads. Your vendors rarely ever send any quality leads your way. Yes, your numbers are slowly and steadily declining, but what do they expect from you? It’s not your fault!
Well, to be more precise, it’s not your fault that sales is a tough business. It’s not your fault that the economy isn’t currently in an upswing. Nor is it your fault that your boss has a business to run and probably a big fat mortgage hanging over his head. But facts are facts; there is business out there. There are people turning prospects into clients – you’re just not one of them at the moment.
When you first thought about going into sales you probably thought it would be a good job for you because you like to talk to people. Everybody relaxes when they’re enjoying a good conversation. Now that both you’re career and financial success are attached to your ability to talk to people though, getting that good conversation rolling might not be coming quite so naturally. One quick way to decide if this has anything to do with what’s been going on is to review your elevator speech. Regardless of whether it’s delivered face-to-face, over the phone, or with an email, take a hard look at it. Make sure your need for a sale isn’t hidden between the lines.
When you were getting ready to make those first few sales calls you probably had confidence in your ability to get along with people too. That confidence made it easier to strike up the conversation and keep it going all the way to a signature on the dotted line. Confidence is a good thing, but like anything else we build or create within ourselves, it needs to be maintained or else it will just start slipping away when a client doesn’t sign – or worse – signs with someone else.
One way to build your confidence back up is to invest some time into researching your industry. What short-term and long-term trends are currently influencing your industry? While you’re researching that, research your clients (as well as your prospects) to see what effects those trends might be having on them. What new challenges or advantages will they need to adjust to? What innovations are being offered by your company that you are excited to share? Knowing the answers to these questions will provide the confidence you need to comfortably step into knowledgeable and relevant business conversations that get the ball rolling in the right direction.
A great smile and an excellent business manner will help you throughout your career in sales. But building and maintaining long-term relationships takes more. If you want to do more than survive your sales career, there’s no escaping the fact that you have to do more.