Fight night at the Budokan, industry-regulated ring size, judges take their seats, ring ladies and coaches ringside, announcer grabs the microphone to announce the fighters.
You did your roadwork, worked with your coach, it’s your 10th fight, you feel ready as you step onto the canvas. You squeeze your fists under your gloves; swallowing your fear, you ready yourself.
Then all the lights go out in the entire arena, and all you hear is screaming and yelling. After a tense moment, the lights go back on and the whole place is brawling, throwing chairs, beer bottles and making their way into the ring at you and everyone else.
Question: In that situation, would you keep your gloves on? “Of course not!” is the common answer.
Switching examples, ask your sales manager about his sales people. Are they trying to do business the same way they did back in August 2008 before the lights went out?
Honestly, look at what everyone is doing everyday in the office. Are they trying to fit their model to adapt to the market, or are they running around trying to find people wanting to do business like the “good old days?”
Blaming poor results on the “market” is like blaming the mob for not coming at you one at a time. Here are some tips for dealing with the mob (market) as it comes at you.
Take your gloves off and stop fighting like a ring fighter. The rules have changed, and this ain't a one-on-one fight anymore.
Opportunities from now on will be fewer and farther between; therefore prepare yourself for more smaller deals that require more leg work.
“Unbundle” your big service packages and stop throwing the damn kitchen sink at everyone with your proposals. The point is to close business now and get more work in the future with this client.
Stop saying “we don’t want to dilute our brand” and reject projects/simple requests, or I will hit you with a beer bottle myself. I heard that for months after the crash. Then these same people started calling me, asking to borrow money.
Close deals, get smaller projects rolling, worry about your “artistic expression” and “unique market leverage” next year in Q3, after all the cowboys have packed up and moved out of Dodge.
Focus your activities and offerings on what HELPS your client’s situation in the short to mid-term, if that’s what they are asking for. As a business partner, you must focus on HELPING and not being “right.”
- Reduce entertainment and all client expenses across the board. We all saw just how “loyal” many of our clients where when they were about to lose their jobs! Buy them a doughnut, no more fancy dinners! Just do business in good faith, that’s enough for anyone.
Next, ask yourself these questions before you start your day:
-- How can I help my client’s situation with my products/services? (Knowing those needs may have changed recently)
-- Which person has the pen to sign this contract?
-- What do I need to do, to get a meeting with that person?
Everyone is focusing on results; make sure in this new environment, you are too.
The writer is managing director of Smart Partners KK, a company that offers sales training, consulting, business strategy and financial planning advice.© Japan Today