Recently I was contacted by a salesperson looking for tips on selling in a difficult environment.  Regardless of your industry, every salesperson at times encounters challenging stretches where making a sale takes tremendous effort.  These could be the result of changes in your industry, overall downturns in the economy, unhealthy office dynamics or other factors beyond your control.  Below are some tips on staying on track during these tough times:

1.       No one can be successful in a difficult environment if they don’t first take care of themselves. This means keeping your own level of sales motivation high.   To do this I suggest setting a weekly goal you know you can achieve and congratulating yourself each time you achieve it.  Second, wipe out the negative voices you’re hearing.  If you hang out with other salespeople who are negative, the only thing they’ll do is drag you down. You may not be able to completely remove yourself from contact with them, but do all you can to keep them at a distance. Likewise, seek out positive people who will offer wise insights and encouragement.

2.       Keep a list of the reasons customers give you as to why they do buy from you. Keep the list as a reference tool you can use to get a discussion going with a new customer, as well as a reminder as to what it is you do well.

3.       Develop more questions, and spend more time asking your customers questions. Let them tell you what they’re looking for and use their feedback to help shape how you leverage the sales call. The information they provide also will help you think long-term about things you may want to alter in your sales offering.

4.       Stay in contact with your current customers. They obviously can be a source of more business, but also a source of ideas on how to deal with other customers.  Don’t assume that your current customers don’t want to buy more.

5.       Always remember that times do change. Difficult times will typically subside, and looking back you’ll be able to see how much you learned and how much better of a salesperson you’ve become.

6.       Finally, remain positive at all times with your customers. No customer wants to deal with a negative person. This is especially true if they are also being impacted by the same difficult circumstances that are impacting you. Be the positive influence for them so that they can see you as someone who is truly helping them succeed.

Copyright 2011, Mark Hunter “The Sales Hunter.” Sales Motivation Blog.

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