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My clients have been complaining about the health of the global economy. While the United States is booming, Europe is struggling. Canada is edging up slightly and Asia is in flux.

Like international markets, some companies are exceeding their goals while others are crying poor and blaming external factors for their failures.

I see it every day: Having missed their targets, companies look for advice on how to sell in a confusing market. My first comment is this: "If your market has changed and you haven't changed with it, you will soon be out of business. So tell me: what have you done to change your activities this year?"

The question is usually met with silence. Most companies give up when the markets slow down. They resign themselves to the fact it's going to be a bad year and they don't even try. Simply put, they refuse to change.

Some, on the other hand, refuse to wave the white flag. These top performers attack their markets with vigour, and they approach their prospects with new and increased sales activities. They are the few representatives who manage to thrive in the face of an inhospitable economic climate.

I recently met with one of these survivor types. Mike owns a manufacturing company selling to home builders, renovators and consumers. His sales are up 200 per cent this year as a result of "embracing the changes in my market and out-hustling my competition."

So before you complain about the economy hurting your business, are you taking any of the following actions?

  • Reaching out to your current client data base at least twice a month with a value-based, content rich newsletter, whether it be paper-based or e-mail.
  • Attending at least one networking event a week.
  • Asking for referrals at least once a day.
  • Having your team follow up on your leads at least seven times by e-mail and seven times by phone before you give up.
  • Identifying new target markets.
  • Attending trade shows and following up on leads within 24 hours.
  • Implementing a reactivation campaign to win back lost customers.
  • Changing your presentation to place a customer’s values first and your corporate marketing messages last.
  • Talking to your five best customers. Ask them to evaluate your situation and make suggestions for new markets.
  • Getting a coach or a mentor. Investing in a live training program and networking with other professionals for a new perspective.
  • Staying away from the complainers. Don’t make your sales worse by hanging around the life suckers and underachievers.
  • Each night before you go to bed, making a list of 20 things that happened that day that you are excited about or proud of.
  • Spending 15 minutes before you start work reading materials that focus on developing your positive attitude. Searching for blogs or online sources, or starting a classic book from Napoleon Hill. Skip the newspaper.
  • Riding along with the best salesperson in your office and watching how he or she communicates with clients. Implementing what that person is doing into your sales process.
  • Recording calls and listening to them. Would you buy from your team?
  • Tweeting, blogging or updating your social media status with a value message or inspirational message daily.

You can change your results in any economy. Just look at Mike. Believe in yourself.

Sales expert Colleen Francis is founder and president of Engage Selling Solutions. Ms. Francis ensures clients realize immediate results, achieve lasting success and permanently raise their bottom line.

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