Think about this, most things that can impact your sales success today are outside of your control. For example, new competitors entering the market, advancements in technology or even the fluctuations of the market. Anyone shift or change of direction with any of those and your sales strategy can be greatly impacted – positively or negatively.
So as a sales professional you need to be adaptable. You need to be open to trying new things, resilient in the face of challenges, and even be willing to change up your strategy now and then. The one guarantee you have with sales is that change is constant, and it is those sale professionals who can embrace change and go with it, will be most successful.
Recently, I was working with a client who was one year into a three-year sales strategy. One that they had been consistent in using and were quite successful with when all of a sudden their top competitor went bankrupt. Out-of-no-where they announced they were going out of business.
At the time, my client had thirty-one percent of the market share, and this competitor that was going under had close to forty-percent. For my client, this was a major opportunity.
She quickly went to her sales team and asked them to change their strategy immediately to focus on their failing competitor’s clients. Great idea right? Accept that her sales manager was not adaptable, he was struggling with why he should walk away from a strategy that is working, one his sale team was succeeding with, and change direction to take advantage of the opportunity.
Sounds crazy right? Why wouldn’t you immediately drop everything to take advantage of a situation like this? Because often change can be hard, and as sales professionals, we are creatures of habit, we know what works and pushing out of our comfort zone can be difficult.
However, the one thing I can guarantee you have with sales is that everything changes. New products come out, better technology, new competitors and even periods of financial challenge. Your ability to embrace those changes, to take advantage of them and remain positive will greatly contribute to your sales success.
Change for most of us is hard, and just going with the flow can be easier said than done. Here are a few strategies to help you be more adaptable.
- Stop Whining – it is a waste of time and precious energy – energy that you are going to need to adapt. I get it, whining is fun, but the problem with it is that when you are finished whining nothing has changed. You still have to deal with the change, even having to adjust, and you have solved nothing. So stop!
- Shift Your Paradigm – we tend to think of change as something that is being done to us. You need to shift your paradigm and start to think about change as a good thing. Change is progress, and if your company and your customers are not asking you to change, then there is a good chance you are going to be left behind. So, shift your paradigm, how you see change, embrace it as a sign of progress rather than an obstacle.
- Get Your Head Out – of your office that is! You can get so focused on the day-to-day things we have to do, what is happening in your own world that you don’t see the need for change or the changes coming. If you get your head out and think about what is happening with customers, competition or even the economy, you will see the need to change and see the changes coming. If you see change coming it presents an opportunity; if you don’t see it coming, it can be a significant threat. So get your head out now and then, look around and see what is happening in the world and your marketplace.
- Have Plan B – change is unpredictable and knowing what is going to work and what won’t is less than an exact science. So, having a plan and using a strategy is essential, but so is having a backup plan. To be adaptable, you must be willing to get back up and try again when things don’t work. You have to see failure as just another opportunity, and you need to be full of lots of ideas and strategies of what to try next. You need a plan B.
No one can predict what is going to happen in today’s marketplace. How many new competitors will enter your market, what interest rates will do, and what new technology will completely change how you and your customers do your jobs. However, we can predict that everything about the way you sell today, will be different tomorrow, and to succeed you will need to adapt!