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Strategies for Survival in Tough Times
by Michael Beck

Work on your energy! In times of stress and anxiety, it's even more critical to eat right, exercise, and get the proper amount of sleep (generally 6-8 hours a night). By taking care of yourself properly you maximize your ability to be highly productive throughout the day -- every day. Know how to avoid that mid-afternoon "crash"? Eat 5-6 smaller meals a day instead of the typical 2-3 large meals a day.

This is a nice lead-in to my second strategy for success in tough times. Don't be too hard on yourself or on others. Each one of us is doing the best we can given where we are, what we have to work with, and what we're going through at the time. Most of us make mistakes. Most of us could do things "better". Most of us are feeling the pressure of the world right now. So strive to be more understanding of others. And as hard as it can sometimes be, cut yourself some slack. Staying positive and solution-focused will always produce better results than beating up on yourself, and focusing on mistakes and weaknesses.

Once your attitude and energy levels are good (physical, emotional, mental & inspirational), then you need work on the next success strategy - building relationships with current clients, prospects, and centers of influence. (If you try to do this while your attitude and energy levels are low, you'll only succeed in driving people off at a faster pace.) Especially in difficult times, you can't "hard-sell" people. You can only set things up so that when someone decides to buy, they buy from you.

The key to finding prospects, getting referrals, and making sales in challenging times is relationship building. Make a greater effort to stay in touch with people. Find ways to add more value to existing clients and take an interest in them. It will not only create "brand" loyalty to you, but will encourage the flow of referrals to you. Don't "hunker down" in your office. Get out and meet people. Meet people in coffee shops, in elevators, at networking events and at parties. Start a practice of taking your Centers of Influence to lunch on a regular basis. While it's true that the economy is challenging right now and people are uncertain about their future, it's still just as true that life goes on. People still buy things, do things, sell things, go places and want to enjoy their lives. It's up to us to be available to people, build relationships, and offer solutions. If your focus is simply to "sell" things, you'll find it to be a long, hard, frustrating effort. Invest in systems that "touch" people. Systems that help you stay in people's minds. Systems that let folks know you're thinking of them. (Obviously, the more automated your system is the better, but you have to be willing to do whatever it takes to succeed.)

To sum things up, the best strategies for surviving (or maybe even thriving) in tough times are 1) not to take things too seriously, 2) attain and maintain a positive attitude, 3) eat, exercise and sleep for high productivity, 4) don't be too hard on yourself and others, and 5) create sales through relationship building rather than by hard-selling. These, of course, are the best strategies for success all the time, but are especially important in challenging times when less effective solutions don't work.

Written by Michael Beck, "Head Zookeeper" at , a marketing strategies website dedicated to getting more clients, making more money, and having more fun! Receive a FREE program on recruiting & prospecting success at:

Michael Beck is an executive coach, speaker & trainer. He is the nation's leading expert on recruiting independent sales representatives, and helps executives and managers build and lead productive sales teams. For more information, and to receive his program: "Smart Recruiting Strategies in a Tough Market!" for FREE, please visit: © 2008 Exceptional Leadership, Inc. Michael Beck may be contacted at or


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