Slowly we're beginning to hear about an improved bit of economic news here, a better than expected economic thing there. Some of the sellers and sales leaders I'm speaking to are asking about when I think the markets will really pick up and what are other clients saying about their sales and what they see on the horizon. The feeling of deep gloom is beginning to get edged out by a feeling of at least a modicum of hope.
That slight feeling that the weight of the past year may be easing brings a bit of a sense of relief and in many cases a good deal of hope and joy.
Don't get carried away.
No celebrations are in order.
The fatted calf gets to live another day-or another week, month, or maybe even for another year before being slaughtered for the great celebration of the return of good economic times.
We sellers can't allow ourselves to let up in the least. As most of us know, contracts are still elusive and hard to nail down; competitors are still willing to cut profit margins to the bone; management is still fretting and in many cases micromanaging to their and our determent.
Having had the advantage of living and selling through previous recessions, I'm well aware of false bottoms; of long, slow, hard recoveries; of the sometimes almost irresistible urge to take a breath, to come up for a bit of a break after an exhausting run.
We see a bit of light.
The air begins to smell a little bit fresher.
The days begin to have the hint of spring after a long, hard winter.
A break seems to be not only in order, but very well deserved.
We lose momentum, and once we've lost momentum, we may find it almost impossible to regain it.
We've all gone for a year, many of us for almost two years, fighting tooth and nail for even the smallest of sales.
We want a break.
We need a break.
Our body and our mind are demanding a break.
Don't buy into it.
Most of us won't see an uptick in business for some time to come. Others may already be seeing signs of increased business. Either way, now is not the time to relax.
Those of us whose markets aren't in the process of turning-that's most of us-must continue to aggressively work to generate business. Our survival depends on it. We are still in survival mode. If we let up, we risk more than just losing ground, we risk putting ourselves in a position where we cannot recover.
Those lucky few of us whose markets already appear to be in recovery cannot afford to relax either. Now is the time to continue to push. Your competitors are feeling the same urge to take a bit of a break after a hard run. They also feel that they deserve-and need-some down time. Let them have it while you aggressively go after the little bit of new business that is coming into your market. Take this time to expand your sales business while your competitors are sitting back congratulating themselves for having survived.
Whether we're still in the midst of a bleak market but are beginning to feel a bit better based on some of the economic news we're hearing or we are in a market where we actually see some relief from the past downturn, our focus must be on charging ahead.
Yet, we can all take heart knowing this won't last forever. Those of us who lived through the terrible Ford/Carter years of the 70's and the Savings and Loan debacle of the 80's can attest that no matter how bleak things may appear-and, boy, 18% interest rates and seemingly every S&L executive in the country going to prison made things look awfully bleak-the light does eventually shine through.
Don't let your guard down but don't despair either. You can get through this. The demands of slogging through this recession and then taking aggressive advantage of an improving market won't last a lifetime (although it may seem that way now). You've come a long way in the past year or so. You've done what so many haven't-survived a terrible recession.
No, it isn't over.
No, you can't let up.
But you're winning the battle and when the economy does recover, you'll be in a position to expand your sales business-and your income.
Take five minutes to congratulate yourself for your endurance, your determination and commitment to succeed.
OK, now back to work.
Link to original post