If there is one expression that truly embraces the spirit of optimism, it has to be this one:

“when life gives you lemons, make lemonade”

All over the developed world – from Greece to the US to my country of residence, Hungary, the lemon-du-jour is the economic crisis.  It is not small thing.  People are losing jobs, even houses, and there is great uncertainty about what the future will bring….

…a very big bucket of very sour lemons.

So what can the optimist do?  Well, if you are lucky enough to still be running a business or a division of a business, I have good news for you.  There is plenty of lemonade to be had for you.  Let me illustrate the point.

In my own sales consulting practice, I have always done three primary things:  Training, consulting and recruiting.  Recently, I began doing more recruiting and have been amazed at the number of highly qualified, motivated, strong salespeople that are available on the market today, because of nothing other than the crisis.

Many companies are closing offices in Hungary.  Every week I speak to great salespeople who are looking for work because their former employer decided to move out of the country due to changing legislation; or to close the local branch office due to changing market conditions; or to close the local office to consolidate at a regional level.

We normally receive this news with fear, sadness and uncertainty about the future.  What will it mean for our economy, and even our own future if this trend continues?  It is a reasonable and often a scary question to consider.

So what should we do?  One could choose to freeze – to lie still like a hunted animal that doesn’t want to attract the attention of a passing carnivore.  Many business owners I see do just this.  It may an understandable response to fear, but it is far from logical.

Logic would dictate that – at the most simple level – things will either get better or not.  Let’s consider both.

If things are destined to never get better, then in many senses, it just doesn’t matter what you do.  Your boat will sink with the lowering tide no matter how hard you paddle.  If this is your prediction, then you can choose: do you want to go down fighting or whimpering?

If things do get better, however, then the things that you choose to do in order to remain strong while they get there could make a big difference in your success, or even help you to reach this coming better time while others who wait it out doing nothing die of starvation along the way.

As far as I am concerned, people will always need stuff.  With the exception of a bleak, post-apocalyptic future as one might see in movies like Mad Max, The Book of Eli or The Road, people will shop for food, phones, cars, etc.  They might not shop for as many of them when the economy is bad, but go to the mall and look around.  There are people in the shops, and they do pull out their wallets.

The shops that sell these things that people are buying need services.  Insurance, IT, light bulbs, and coffee for the break room.  The vendors who sell those things need…..

You get the idea.

In this current economic crisis, there is a great opportunity to take advantage of the changes to position yourself better for the future – the immediate future and the long term future, whatever it is and however long it takes to get there.  Consider this:  If you believe that X% of companies in your market will fail, then what can you do to make sure that of that X%, you are not only one who survives, but one who thrives.

Take this opportunity to upgrade your talent, in product development, administration or sales.  Make your products better, run your business better, or sell more stuff.  Your competitor may go out of business soon.  Go get their customers.  Have some lemonade.

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Authors note (AKA shameless plugs)

So, this 7-step sales process and associated topics…. Yup, I write about that a lot. I’ve been working with it since I developed it about 25 years ago – in my own diverse work experiences, with my teams when I had them, and with clients ever since.

If you would like to develop you own personalized and customized, highly effective and efficient B2B selling system, here are some further steps you can take:

The Salesman’s Guide to Dating is a free or very cheap (depending on Amazon) Kindle book that walks you through the sales process using the familiar analogy of dating. It’s a good, fun and quick way to get your mind around the whole process and how the pieces fit together.

Building Your Sales Process (BYSP) is a free and very thorough exploration of the same 7-step process that will walk you through the development of your own customized, personal B2B selling system. When you are done, you will know exactly what to do to get new business.

The Momentum Selling System® is an inexpensive but very robust online sales training course that is similar to BYSP, but goes deeper into the concepts behind each of the steps, and also helps you develop a plan not only for the 7-step process but also addresses mindset, repeat business and client base management.

If none of that sounds right, I do personal coaching and offer a free 30-minute intake session so that we can both learn if it makes sense to work together 1-on-1. If this sounds interesting, click over to the coaching page on this site and sign up for the free session.

Here’s to your success!

-David