The story is told of a businessman who spent several days each week traveling around the country visiting various clients.
Spending so many days away from home, he became somewhat weary at mealtime. Restaurant food had become so routine he always looked for something different, or at least better, than his previous meal. One afternoon he entered a local restaurant and sat down at a table. He perused the typical offerings and was about to settle for the same old fare he had been eating for weeks.
About that time, the waitress came by and asked if he had decided. He asked, “What would you recommend?” Immediately her demeanor changed. She lit up like a Christmas tree and began telling the businessman about the most wonderful stew, a signature item of the restaurant. She was almost giddy as she described the meat and vegetables, the thick gravy and heavenly taste. She said it was her favorite of all the items on the menu, and a favorite of all the locals. She told the businessman how the stew was prepared and how the vegetables were fresh and cooked to perfection. The waitress went on and on for several minutes, bubbling with emotion as she described the wonderful stew to the businessman. When she finally concluded her most enthusiastic presentation, the businessman said, “I’ll have a large bowl of your ENTHUSIASTIC STEW.”
Enthusiasm is contagious and refreshing. It is also a secret weapon that every sales person can use to sell his or her products and services. Enthusiasm might very well be the difference between making a sale and losing a sale. In the story of the businessman and the stew, I’m not so certain the waitress really cared if the man ordered the stew or something else on the menu. But, her enthusiasm and excitement for the stew became contagious, and was a main consideration for the man making his decision. A recommendation for a product and service can be made with the words we say, but an even more powerful recommendation is found in the emotion or enthusiasm we have for the product.
On Monday, December 8, 2008, the government officially declared that the nation was in the midst of an economic recession. What did that mean? Simply stated, growth in gross national product was either neutral or declining. Most businesses anticipated their sales would decrease. For a few, they realized that even though times were more difficult, there would still be purchases made, and opportunities would still be there. Sales people just needed to work smarter, harder, and do things they had not done in the past. One thing that improved performance during those challenging times was to be enthusiastic. Salespeople needed to show enthusiasm for their products and services. They demonstrated enthusiasm for the market and for their company. They were enthusiastic for the privilege of being a salesperson.
Their competitors had already made a fatal mental error by conceding that due to a challenging economy, sales would be down. With that mentality they believed their lack of performance couldn’t be faulted, and their subsequent lack of effort was not the reason sales were down. Those salespeople believed the market was at fault. Nothing could have been further from the truth. Sales will always be down for those who believe the market is down. For the rest of us, sales can be as good or better than before a government declared recession. Here are five suggestions that will allow you to succeed during difficult and challenging times:
- Be Enthusiastic.
- Manage your time – plan and schedule every day.
- Spend eight hours each day selling, not just doing “stuff”.
- Get out and see the people.
- Use your existing customer base for additional sales and referrals.
Sales will never be easy, but during difficult economic times, they can still be great!