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I was speaking to a valued contact just this week who shared with me he is starting to doubt his sales ability.

When I asked why, he explained that most sales opportunities he has been working on have either been put on hold or literally evaporated. Not used to a skinny sales pipeline, this was unfamiliar territory and, understandably, causing him some concern.

Keep in mind that this individual is a very experienced and very successful salesperson. Given the current economic headwinds, if he is feeling that way, then I wonder how those less experienced or relatively new to sales are feeling at the moment? Similarly, sales leaders who have worked hard to maintain, or even increase, their market share, but right now are seeing diminishing revenue results.

So, I am writing this article in support of the many Salespeople and Sales Leaders who are under real pressure right now. Over recent years, the centre of attention (pressure point) for many businesses has been logistics, operations, supply chains and finance. But, it is clear that the real pressure point right now is sales - and lack of them for some. Companies rely heavily on maintaining top line revenue to weather the storm.

We all react differently when under pressure. My hope is that salespeople stay open to opportunity that times like this can also present.

But, in order to see this as a time of opportunity there are some key things to remember.

Firstly, if you haven’t been through an economic cycle like this before it’s important to remember that tough times never last but great companies and great people do. When things are going well it can be easy to feel like it will last forever and when things are hard it can feel like that too. it I can confidently reassure you neither are true.

Slow periods, while challenging, can also provide salespeople and sales leaders with the time to reflect, refine, and re-strategise. By focusing on relationship building, skill enhancement, strategic planning, and self-care, sales professionals can not only survive slow times but emerge stronger, more skilled, and better prepared for future sales challenges. Remember, resilience and adaptability are key traits of successful salespeople.

Sales leaders - the spotlight is on you to demonstrate your leadership qualities at this time Our encouragement is to use this time as a great opportunity to advance, rather than retreat. If you are reporting into a manager, a director or a business owner then what they want to see is that you are taking ownership, that you are opening clear lines of communication and that you are doing your job to the best of your ability. An “I’ve got this, and this is my plan” attitude is needed.

For salespeople, your sales manager will also, no doubt, want to see the same. They want to see a salesperson who is not sitting on their hands waiting for the phone to ring or market conditions to be more favourable. They want you to be focussed on doing your job to the best of your ability and putting in the hard work to drive results. Actually, the biggest question we are getting right now is how do we turn our sales team from being ‘reactive to proactive’.

At our most recent Indicator ‘Expert Series’ event I was reminded of the importance of having a good community around you. We focused on two key areas, resilience, and mindset with Chelsea Pottenger, and “the coaching model that rules them all” with Dean Mannix. I have to say both were excellent and the timing was spot on. We started the session by asking the hundred or so Salespeople and Sales Leaders on the webinar, “how was your first quarter?”

The overwhelming response was, “it was hard”.

However, when we asked, “how are you feeling about the remainder of 2024?”, almost all without exception highlighted that they were very optimistic. I think everyone on that call loved the responses for two reasons. One is they got to see first-hand that they are not alone in finding the market tough right now, and also that, as a group, we know things will get better.

Our encouragement to you is build a community around you (or better yet, become part of ours). Peer communities are excellent for sharing the challenges but also accentuating the positives. They’re a huge opportunity for learning and networking. I know certainly for us, the value of our Indicator community is really proving itself right now - thanks to everyone who is a part of it.

We’ve ridden out rocky times before - and no doubt we’ll do it again. As experienced salespeople - we understand the cyclical nature of the market. So let’s use this time to show the value of strong sales leadership to ride out the storm!

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