Sales are down. I am down. People will not decide.

August 6, 2007
I get a ton of emails that start out something like, “My sales are off,” or “The market is down,” or “I just can’t get motivated like I used to.”

Times are a bit tough. What’s your point?

Well, as much as I’d love to tell you to quit whining and get to work, I’d rather not sound like your boss.

HOPE: There’s business out there. Just not as much of it.
REALITY: People will still be buying. Even if the quantity is lower. The question is, will they be buying from you?

When things aren’t going well, you have 2.5 options:
1. Do something about it.
2. Do nothing about it.
2.5 Complain about it.

Lack of sales is NOT a problem. People’s indecision is NOT a problem. Lack of motivation is NOT a problem. All three are SYMPTOMS. If you’re looking to cure your ills, you’d better look deeper than complaining.

Here’s where to start – look for the clues:
CLUE ONE: Plan less. Act more.
CLUE TWO: Plan for today the night before.
CLUE THREE: Plan for the week on Sunday.
CLUE FOUR: Plan six valuable or money meetings.
CLUE FIVE: Plan actions and activities that lead to completion.
CLUE SIX: Plan successes, not just actions.
CLUE SIX POINT FIVE: Now is the time. You know the old expression, “There’s no time like the present.” I say, “There is only the present.”

ATTITUDE CLUE: If your drama factor exceeds your sales results, it’s time for an extreme attitude makeover.

When sales are slow, big companies “cut” rather than “invest.” They say, “I’ll advertise after the recovery, I’ll market after the recovery, I’ll train more after the recovery” — wondering all the while why things aren’t improving, as they whip their salespeople.

They “react” rather than “proact.” Sales drop even further, morale drops, and key people quit. And as a result, recovery takes longer.

As a salesperson, here’s what to do. Look at who you are AND how you engage:

  • Help your customers. If your business is down, it means that others are down. Give them business-building ideas or sales leads. Send an idea a week. They will remember your help after they recover.
  • Get closer to your customers. Work there for a day. Get to understand WHY things are slower, and what it will take to make them better.
  • Position yourself as a resource, not just a salesperson. I use an email magazine, Sales Caffeine, to communicate a value message to my customers every week.  
  • Get endorsements from your most loyal customers, and use them in a testimonial ad campaign. It authenticates all your claims. Your prospects will be more likely to believe you. Your customers will love you, and tell others. And your competition (who has your best customers on their “hot” list), will HATE you. Rock!
  • Rededicate yourself to the present. Your ability to win is in direct proportion to your desire to remain a student and the intensity of your attitude and enthusiasm – TODAY.

And if you’re a CEO or sales leader, here’s what to do:
Invest in your people. Double your soft-skills training budget. Teach them attitude, goals, presentation skills, creativity, and selling skills. Now is the time for coaching, encouragement, and leadership by example.
Invest in your PRESENT customers. Market with customer testimonials and endorsements, not self-serving brags. Don’t just say it. Prove it.
Improve service. I’ll never understand why empty restaurants have lousy service. Now is the time to get the business community, or the community in which you live, to begin talking about you in a good way. Word-of-mouth advertising will bring more customers than traditional advertising.

CAUTION: It’s not ONE thing. To get back in the game, it’s a bit of all these elements. There is no pill you can swallow that will make the market better, you better, or the customer buy faster – much less make the customer buy from you, rather than the competition.

The good news is that you control your destiny. That’s why you got into sales in the first place.

If you need a bit more encouragement, go to, register if you’re a first-time visitor, and enter the words DON’T QUIT in the GitBit box.

Jeffrey Gitomer is the author of The Little Red Book of Selling and The Little Red Book of Sales Answers. President of Charlotte-based Buy Gitomer, he gives seminars, runs annual sales meetings, and conducts Internet training programs on sales and customer service at He can be reached at 704/333-1112 or e-mail to [email protected] 

© 2007 All Rights Reserved – Don’t even think about reproducing this document without written permission from Jeffrey H. Gitomer and Buy Gitomer . 704/333-1112