I’ve had some long chats this week with a couple of clients who were feeling pretty down. They are absolutely not alone. The current situation has seen otherwise fantastic businesses see their revenue just stop overnight. People have seen their carefully constructed plans put in place over months or years go south in a few days. Strong relationships are developing cracks seemingly out of nowhere.
And all of this is out of our control. It’s not our fault.
That in itself can be incredibly frustrating and can cause a lot of people to hit a real low and feel they are stuck in a rut.
If that sounds like you, then I want to try and help.
But a word of warning – I’m not going to give you many verbal cuddles and try to make you feel a little better about things. That’s not my style. I’m going to try and help you get out of the rut, and that might involve a bit of blunt-talking and some arse-kicking.
Trust me; it’s what most of us need if we’re feeling like there’s no way forward.
Eat or be eaten
I’ve always lived by the mantra of “Eat or Be Eaten”. That sounds like it could be some aggressive, macho, arrogant nonsense, but that’s not what I mean.
I mean that if I want or need something, and I don’t go for it, someone else will. In other words, I need to look after myself and my family, sort myself out, get it done. Because if I don’t, no one else will.
Don’t get me wrong; I’ve got a great support network – family, friends, trusted colleagues – but they can’t do it all for me. When the chips are down, it’s down to me.
We’ve all got a lot more of a choice than many of us think. We have a choice in how we feel, how we behave, what we do. Sometimes we just need reminding of that.
One of the people I spoke to this week has seen their business levels fall off a cliff. To add to that, she was also facing some challenges at home. This is a recipe for life to feel pretty crappy. She felt like everything she had was crumbling away in front of her.
I asked her to tell me exactly how she was feeling. We had quickly built a trusting relationship, and so she was very open with me. I asked her if she wanted to continue to feel this way. Funnily enough, she didn’t!
This is the starting point to getting back on track. The fact that she – and you – are still here, still able to talk about the negative feelings, still able to vocalise what she is going through… all that means that you have actually come to a point where you can deal with the problems, address them directly, and overcome them.
Here’s some of the advice I suggested to my new client, and I hope you find it useful, too. These are ideas and tools that I use myself all the time. They work.
Be honest with yourself
Look yourself in the mirror (I mean really do it – it actually hammers it home) and admit there’s an issue. However, don’t overdo this. If you’re having minor problems, then treat them like that – they’re only minor. Don’t overblow them in the scheme of things. However, if it is a big issue, don’t downplay it. Own the severity of it but be realistic.
Now tell yourself what you have let happen to you, and what have you made happen to you?
Knowing what makes you tick – mentally, physically, emotionally – is key to turning things around. For example, I know that I am a morning person. I think better, work better, get more done in the mornings than after lunch. Evenings? Forget it! Waste of time. I skew my day to get up earlier and finish earlier because that’s going to be most productive for me.
Know where you are strong and where you are weak. Where you are weak, look for ways in which you can improve. Remember, accountability is one of those.
Refocus on your purpose
This won’t be a surprise to my clients or regular readers. This is a key tool that I use all the time, whenever I need to push harder, do a little more, or start a task I’m not looking forward to (I’m looking at you, prospecting).
Ask yourself –
- why are you doing what you are doing?
- Why is this your passion?
- Why does doing this usually make you feel good?
- What is the reason behind why you do what you do?
Start a journey with a single step
I know that sounds a bit new age, but it really works. Break a cycle of failure or kill off a series of negative events by doing one positive thing, no matter how small. Set yourself a positive goal, diarise the time for it, do it.
Ten minutes of cold calling? Running through your sales script? Drafting a new bit of sales content? Doing some social media? Drafting a letter to your existing customers? Whatever it is, put it in the diary and DO IT. That’s the single step – congratulations, you’re on the way!
Then you need to build a chain of positivity and carry that journey on. Do it again the next day. And the next. Block out that time every day. Then you can start to think about other things that can support your journey. Add diary time in for those. Keep moving forward.
Reach out and get some support
You don’t have to do this alone. The lady I spoke to this week recognised she needed help and support so she asked for it. We talked – very honestly – and came up with a plan. She immediately felt better as a result. That was the start of the framework she needed.
Next, we are going to build a new plan that will allow her to move away from where she is at the moment and move forward in a positive direction.
Often, it’s difficult to see the wood for the trees, and sometimes the best investment you can make is knowledge and an objective viewpoint. If you keep doing what you’re doing, you’ll keep getting what you’re getting, but it can be difficult to see above the surface of the quicksand…
Stop struggling and get help and support if you’re not moving forward.
If you’d like to chat about any aspects of how I might be able to help or support you, drop me a line at email@example.com. You can also get in touch via all the usual social channels – including Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter – by searching for “jameswhitesales”.
Have a positive week, and put yourself in control of your situation and business!
James White is a Sales Trainer and Mentor and is the UK’s leading prospect conversion expert. James is the founder of James White Sales Success and Co-Author of Amazon #1 selling book, The Sales Genius. James delivers a wide range of sales content and resources which can be found at his website, or search for him on any social channel with ‘jameswhitesales’.