Monday, 26 September 2011


It’s easy to talk oneself into a state of despondency. Read any economist today on sovereign debt and you’ll reduce your forecasts and plan to dine on gruel two nights a week.  Lose your confidence and your expectation of success reduces too. Barack Obama said “always act confident”. If we acted on what we are reading currently we’d all be doomed.

But there is a side effect of the prognoses these economic gurus are having. They are dispiriting most of our competitors and giving the rest of us huge opportunities. Strategically we should be embarked upon a share-gain plan, ruthlessly selling the benefits of our products and services at the expense of our more pessimistic competitors.

This is the age of the salesman…they crop up every decade or so …where confidence, can-do and enthusiasm will win friends and sales.

The world has changed. Countries like Greece and Portugal, we’re told, are structurally doomed and being targeted by those who make their money by selling things short. But none of this makes a scrap of difference to someone selling industrial flooring, pesto sauce or who’s running a restaurant. We may live in a global economy but on a day to day basis we live in our own worlds, world’s a lot simpler and more driven by practical needs than those of macro-economists.

In planning for 2012 you’ll be told to expect downturn to which your answer must be “not necessarily”.
The answer to most things will be to retain good, cheerful, smart people in the front line, to focus on existing customers encouraging and incentivising them to do more with you, to invest in programmes of positive coaching for all your sales people and to be much more creative in your presentations and your solutions to problems.

This is the age of creative confidence when ingenuity and the ability to talk things up rather than be down in the mouth will pay dividends.

And in the end with low interest rates and an increasing pressure on people to work harder 2012 could be quite spectacular in terms of share growth and productivity for some of us.

To put it in perspective here’s what one-time US President Calvin Coolidge said about the prospects of doom:

“If you see ten troubles coming down the road, you can be sure that nine will run into the ditch before they reach you.”

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