Sales Challenges In A Competitive Economy

Tim Connor

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Salespeople face a variety of challenges in their career. Selling is like no other profession in that it requires exceptional people skills as well as the mastery of a great number of specific sales competencies and attitudes that are not generally found in other careers.

For you sales veterans, please don’t stop reading now, as I believe that many well established sales professionals often struggle with these same three challenges.

There are obviously more than three challenges that new salespeople must deal with on a daily basis, so how did I single out the following three as the most critical? You can survive in a sales career without many of the others that are not mentioned here, but if you can’t overcome or deal with these three your successful future career in sales my be in doubt.

Here are the three.

1) The ability to control your attitudes no matter what is going on around you.

In sales you will be bombarded daily with economic issues, customer challenges and organizational problems that will never go away. Sure, many of them will subside from time to time, while other new ones will surface. But, you will soon discover that your success can’t be subject to the ebb and flow of these external issues, many of which you have no control over.

What can you do?

- Recognize that your ultimate success is ultimately in your hands and not the control of the government, your organization or your competitors.
- Accept the fact that a positive attitude is one of your greatest allies in a successful career.
- Don’t ever give up control of your ability to control your attitudes.
- Read self-help materials with a vengeance.

2) The ability to manage your time and resources.

The single common denominator in all salespeople whether they are just starting out or are making significant 6 figure incomes is – time. People who fail and people who succeed all have the same 24 hours to work with. Some may have a better education while others may be endowed with a great family heritage, but in the end everyone gets only 24 hours a day to use as they will.

What can you do?

- Develop an – early start concept. Start your day, your planning, your goalsetting – your

everything – while everyone else is still thinking about ‘getting started’.

- Whatever time a task or activity takes, get in the habit of cutting the time you have available for it in half.

- Make focus, concentration your mantra. Don’t let distractions and interruptions rule your day or your life.

- Spend ten percent of your time in planning and goalsetting activities.

- Develop a ruthless attitude about self-evaluation of your activities and results. Keep asking yourself – why, why not, how could I be doing – anything – better.

3) The ability to handle failure, rejection and discouragement.

Failure and rejection come with the territory on a fairly routine basis in sales. No one is immune to a lost sale after a significant amount of time and resources were invested. No one sells everyone all the time. The resiliency to overcome disappointment, rejection and yes, even failure, is a critical part of the successful salesperson’s psyche.

What can you do?

- Accept the simple premise that not everyone you meet is going to like you or buy from you. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try.

-Learn to learn from your failures. See failure as a stepping stone to being better.

-Fail often so you can succeed sooner.

-Spend routine time in self-evaluation (I have two great tools that can help you. My book, Life Questions and my manual, Sales Competence and Evaluation. See my website to order them both. )

The rest is up to you. You can settle for being average or even mediocre or you can decide that your future is up to you and no one or nothing else is going to stop you, ever.

Tim Connor, CSP is an internationally renowned sales, management and leadership speaker, trainer and best selling author. Since 1981 he has given over 3500 presentations in 21 countries on a variety of sales, management, leadership and relationship topics. He is the best selling author of over 60 books including; Soft Sell, That’s Life, Peace Of Mind, 91 Challenges Managers Face Today and Your First Year In Sales. He can be reached at , 704-895-1230 or visit his website at .


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