First, excuse the language, if it’s not the wording you’d use.
But perhaps you’ve said something like that? “Sales are so bad.” Even if it’s just in your head, if you’ve repeated a phrase similar to this more than three times, we need to talk.
I’ve heard it hundreds – if not thousands – of times from clients who are pretty low on energy, looking for a magic answer or at least some kind of good news. And, truthfully, I’ve been there, too.
I’m not one to sugar-coat things. I don’t like spiritual bypassing or anything similar. (“It’s not that bad! Just look on the bright side!” No, thanks.)
But this is where self-discovery and self-development are incredibly useful. Using awareness of what’s going on in our brains, we can change the story, and change the situation.
Here’s what I mean:
You’ve looked at a number, or several numbers, and something in your brain has said, “Sales are shit.” It’s such a clear and powerful message that you may have questioned it briefly, but it’s basically taken hold.
Then, because it’s not a great feeling, you’ve told someone else. “Sales are kind of shit.” And this person tells you they’re sorry to hear it, or that they’re in a similar position, and you feel not alone. Which feels better than sales-are-shit-and-I’m-all-alone.
So the mantra takes further hold.
And then when you sit down to write a to-do list or you’re thinking about your business, your brain is thinking from this “sales are shit” place. You feel desperate, or uninspired – both sides of the same coin. Maybe you have that frantic energy: you’re getting a lot done, but it’s not really changing sales or changing your mind. Or maybe you just… don’t do very much, because it all feels overwhelming and out of your control.
This story – one that you decided on in the blink of an eye based on something that isn’t the full picture – has become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Want to get out of the downward spiral? There are three essential things to do.
Check the numbers you’re looking at.
If you decided sales are shit based on a two-second glance at a dashboard that doesn’t take your entire business into account, you absolutely need to dive a bit deeper.
If sales are down, you’re likely to be looking at turnover, rather than profit. Which is a false success metric, and is definitely going to give you misinformation about your business and your efforts. Track and look at profit as a marker of where you are, rather than assuming turnover is the same – broadly – as profit. (My business is way down on turnover compared to a couple of years ago, but my profit is significantly higher.)
Check the language you use. Clarity is power.
Okay, so as I said, I’m not one to sugar-coat the truth. Telling yourself things are fine when they’re not won’t help you to improve your business or your situation. We need truth. We need clarity.
But there are ways to phrase things that honour the truth without getting stuck in a story.
First, let’s get the facts. If you’ve looked at the numbers, you’ll hopefully be able to say something like, “My turnover is 30% down on last year.” Or, “My profit has dropped.”
Then there’s something to add…
“My profit has dropped, and I’d like to change that.”
“My turnover is 30% down on last year, and my profit is, too. I’m ready to improve my profit.”
Sticking with true statements, we want one that expresses something true about the situation. You’ve got a fact statement about the numbers, and then it’s best to add something that shares what you want to change. In a positive way, of course!
Get a new game plan.
With a more positive mantra, like, “I’m ready to improve my profit,” you can start to put together a more proactive game plan.
The thing about the “sales are shit” mantra is that it keeps you stuck. You can also get stuck with a positive mantra (even if it’s amazing), if there’s no action that relates to it.
So if you truly are ready to change your profit levels or improve your enjoyment levels, it’s time to get creative about how you want to do that.
I’m pretty clear on something: most business women I know can come up with 3-10 great actions to take if they have half an hour and a positive environment to picture possibilities.
Maybe it’s creative ways to reduce your costs and streamline things. Maybe you can create a more efficient way of fulfilling orders. Maybe (and I say this with many years of experience) you need to put your prices up.
You don’t have to change your entire business overnight. But find a starting place. The second part of your new mantra should encapsulate the way you want to feel, say, a year from now.
When you write your next to do list, include something that is linked to how you want to feel.
What do you think? Does this method resonate with you?