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Life Health > Running Your Business

Down, not out

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When I get calls from readers, they generally fall into one of two categories:

1. They have a pitch for me.
2. They have a comment about a recent story.

But a call I received recently was unlike any other I’ve answered here. It was from an advisor who’s logged 35 years in the business and could sell ice cream during a blizzard, but he was having a tough time. In those 35 years, he’s ridden the wave of various business cycles. He’s seen it all. The bad news in the economy didn’t catch him off guard as much as it took the wind out of his sails.

We talked for a long time. About the economy, sales, marketing. You name it, we covered it. Every few minutes or so, as he was relaying his current sales situation, he’d catch himself, chuckle about how he’d gone on, and say, “Oh, I’m just crying in my beer” or “I’m just feeling sorry for myself.”

We’d laugh about that for a moment, then get back to the heart of the problem — what’s going on, what’s got him worried?

He narrowed the list of worries down to prospecting, and, while that certainly seemed to be an issue, and a major one, it wasn’t the real problem.

The gist of it was, he’d lost his mojo, that special something he had that made him a super salesman in the first place.

He hadn’t forgotten how to sell; he’d forgotten that he could do it.

And he can.

And you can, too.

There’s no reason to dance around the subject–2009 is not going to be easy, for anyone. Not in this industry or any industry. And, depending on which economists you talk to, 2010 might not be any better.

But it doesn’t mean you can’t weather the storm; it doesn’t mean you can’t dig and scratch and claw and market and mail and make that extra call and attend that annoying networking event that you’ve been dreading, but might be just the jumpstart you need.

I’m hearing buzz from some industry people that it’s time to get “back to basics.” And that’s what I told the advisor who was down, but not out.

“You know this stuff,” I said. “You know what to do, you’re just going to have to get out there and do it. You have to call and mail and network and build alliances.”

By the end of our conversation, he wasn’t doing cartwheels or handstands, but there was a different tone in his voice. He’d needed a boost, a reminder that he wasn’t alone and that he knows how to sell.

The rest is up to him.


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