by Lucy Blomfield
Anyone in business in the U.S. – especially traveling salespeople – should read and listen to the media to know the current economic situation.
So, after listening to the news at the end of last year, as a salesman, I thought, “Why bother to call any of my customers. They won’t need to see me.”
The headlines were memorable:
The Worst Financial Situation Since the Great Depression
Unemployment Figures Hit Double Digit s
US Carmakers in Detroit Seek Bailout
Disappointing Retail Christmas Sales
Despite the discouraging news, I began to call for appointments. Some customers said they would have to order later in the year. However, a surprising number were able to see me.
I began my sales trip, and began to call customers – retail store owners. I took orders. GOOD orders. “Wait a minute,” I thought, “What is going on? I’m supposed to be in an economic disaster.” I asked customers, at the end of the appointments, how things were going. Here are some of their responses:
“Our Christmas sales were up on last year. We had lower price points, but more customers.”
“We are three percent down on last year.”
“We are three percent up on last year.”
“I’m aggressively advertising now. Spots on three radio stations. It’s really working!”
“WE will decide when we will retire. The Recession will not decide for us.”
“We’ll just ride this one out.”
These responses were not what most of the media was reporting.
The customers, the ones who could not see me - what were their comments?
“There is no business.”
“I’ve been in business for 20 years, and I’ve never seen it this bad.”
“We make excellent sales presentations. In the past, 90 percent of these presentations would convert to sales. Now it is 10 percent. We don’t know what to do.”
We’re closing an extra day each week.
It almost seems like the first group of customers live on a different planet from the second, even though they live in the same state in the U.S. The second group is afraid. The Recession seems to have gotten to them. They are under it, almost paralyzed by their day to day negative experiences.
These disparate views of the two groups seem more profound than that the cup is half empty or half full. What if the cup is actually abundantly full, despite the current news? What if, in some mysterious way, the first group “sees” this, and is then able to appropriate this abundance into their everyday business?
The Mainstream media may not often report these stories, but these courageous business people will succeed in these days, and ask, “Where is the Recession?”
Return to Table of Contents