Mercuri Mail

The India Journal of Mercuri International Jul - Sep 2019

Win back your Sales Mojo

Developing Resilience to beat a sales slowdown: Times have changed, methods haven’t
Must Read
How to get, keep and win back your Mojo (Sales included)
How you can take your sales from weak to booming with this simple mindset change


Developing Resilience to beat a sales slowdown: Times have changed, methods haven’t

30 years ago, in times that weren’t very different from today, when markets were becoming tougher and selling was a discouraging job, the October 1989 issue of Mercuri Mail carried a feature on How to Be More Resilient. Adapted from “Getting Things Done” by Roger Black, the article speaks in a timeless voice that offers a motivational potion for today’s sales challenges.

Armed with resilience, you can get vault over the wall of external obstacles to hit your sales numbers. Impactful excerpts below:

However trained or lucky a person may be, if we look beyond these qualities, we will find he has gone through some troubles in his life. Success and setbacks are fundamental aspects of life. The question is how many of us have the necessary resilience to carry us through.

The real talent lies in overcoming the depression that a setback induces and the capacity to go out with the same enthusiasm with which we started work …

The ability to overcome setbacks is as essential to top achievers as drive, competence, salesmanship or other business skills. We do not deserve success until we can overcome setbacks.

The most difficult part of a setback is that it can be very surprising. Once we understand that setbacks can happen any time and we constantly remind ourselves of this, we will find it easier to overcome setbacks. There are a few qualities we need to develop to have more resilience.

Don’t brood – We should do something tangible so that the constant problem in our mind can be forgotten at least temporarily

The past is past – Anger or frustration is a waste of time. It is better to start something immediately so that at least we do not waste any further time

Separate fact from fiction – There is no point in trying to imagine further worse consequence. We should use less thought and more action

Expect and anticipate setbacks – A setback is a shock when it happens and it will always be so, but to an extent the keen edge of disappointment can be blunted by an awareness that a setback is possible at any time

Don’t feel sorry for yourself – This is dangerous and does not improve our condition in any way

Don’t seek or accept too much sympathy from others – The risk is that it can make us feel sorry for ourselves, and inhibit us from being productive

Stop looking for excuses – It is a waste of time. Ultimately, it is the right efforts and right results that count

Never have objectives, not thoroughly thought-out and planned – It is essential that the objective we have is achievable., likeable and believable. We must be fully convinced of that

Know your natural strengths and weaknesses – This will help us overcome setbacks, and to a certain extent minimize the setbacks we can anticipate

You can access more issues of Mercuri Mail with such perennial sales wisdom here. 


How you can take your sales from weak to booming with this simple mindset change

A mindset to conquer the tough world of sales

‘Easy’ doesn’t work in Sales. Ever. Sales can be insanely tough. Especially when markets aren’t favourable. Author Jeb Blount points out – Average salespersons handle more rejections by 9 am every day than most other professions do in a year. That’s how tough it gets. Does that make sales a pie in the sky? No, not if you develop a prospecting mindset that’s fanatical. Once you adopt it, there’s a lot you can accomplish

With fanatical prospecting, you can (i) Open productive sales conversations, (ii) Fill your pipeline faster and (iii) Leverage your phone, mail, text, cold calls and social selling.. all for more sales says Jeb Blount in his bestselling book Fanatical Prospecting . What is Fanatical Prospecting?

Enduring mantra – “One more call”

Sales results are never under your control. You can however determine the quantity, quality and direction of your sales efforts. Even when working in a sluggish market, you can make a big impact if you overcome your fears of rejection and simply make more prospecting calls. According to Blount, prospecting like a fanatic demands 3 requisites – 1. Dedication 2. ‘Can Do’ attitude and 3. Thick skin. With these qualities, rejection no longer scares you. You adopt the fanatical prospector’s winning mantra – “One more call’. Does that include phone selling?

To hit your targets with fanatical prospecting, start with your phone buttons

Phone selling is passé. Social is in. Correct? Blount doesn’t agree. Pointing to how phone contact rates have improved since the ‘90s, Blount lists some fascinating factors behind this trend -  |Today’s phones are tied to people and not to desks | With so much happening online, callers stand out | Personal touch of hearing a human voice | Face to face is time consuming | Phone prospecting is more efficient. So, Blount’s suggestion? To hit your targets, start by hitting your phone buttons. What about social media then?

Leverage the social media too

In Blount’s view, social media isn’t the best fit for a sales pitch. It turns off Customers. But social media has helped create unparalleled familiarity. It also offers rich contextual data on prospect behaviour, desires and preferences. So, you could use it to drive some great prospecting. For this you must get into social channels frequented by your prospects. You can then reach out to a wider audience and lay the groundwork for future sales. Clearly, no single medium can guarantee complete success

Develop a blended approach for success

Adopting a mixed prospecting methodology can be the recipe for success. Blount offers tips on making the blended approach work:

  • Divide prospecting time & efforts between | phone | mail | personal contact | text | social media | networking |cold calling
  • Check what works best in your industry
  • Pick the platform appropriate to the Customer type – Ex: Consulting (LinkedIn) Manufacturing (Phone/Mail/Face to face)
  • To get more pointers for success you can check what are sales stars in your space doing? That will give you valuable clues

The 3 Laws of Prospecting for a full pipeline

  1. Universal Law of Need – Don’t allow yourself to get desperate. Desperation clouds judgment, leads to bad calls, raises failure chances & turns off Customers
  2. Law of the 30-Day Rule – Deals you close in a 90-day window are the fruit of prospecting done 30 days prior to that
  3. Law of replacement – Replace closed leads with fresh ones as per your strike rate. With a 10% closure rate, if you close a lead from a pipeline of 30, you need 10 more fresh leads and not just 1 more!

To become a truly fanatical prospector, slay the 3 ‘P’ Dragons

  • Procrastination – Don’t miss those small, daily steps that carry you to your ultimate goal
  • Perfectionism – Don’t be so obsessed about getting it right, you’ll get nothing done. Messy success always beats perfectionism
  • Paralysis – Don’t let ‘What ifs’ paralyze you into inaction

“Just pick up the phone and make the call. Let the ‘what if’s’ take care of themselves” urges Blount. Get out there and get fanatical on prospecting. You could be just one tiny step away from the sales treasure you are mining for

Must Read

How to get, keep and win back your Mojo (Sales included)

What is Mojo

The CEO’s handshake was warm. You could see pride and happiness in his eyes. The applause from your colleagues was deafening. Every mobile in the hall seemed to be clicking as the CEO presented the RM of the Year trophy to you. You couldn’t stop smiling. The party that followed in the evening was one of your wildest. Marshall Goldsmith would have called it your Mojo moment - “when we do something that’s purposeful, powerful, and positive, and the rest of the world recognises it”

Professional and Personal Mojo

Mojo occupies a vital place in our quest for meaning and happiness as it involves loving what we do and letting it show in our achievements. Marshall Goldsmith, prized world over for his executive coaching skills, sets out this simple 10- point score card to take stock of your professional and personal Mojo:

Professional Mojo or What I Bring to this Activity

  • Motivation (You really want to do a great job. If you are in sales, it’s because you truly feel driven to do it)
  • Knowledge
  • Ability
  • Confidence
  • Authenticity (Genuineness of your enthusiasm. For example, do you really love sales or you’re just ‘faking it’ because it pays you well for now)

Personal Mojo or What This Activity Brings to Me

  • Happiness (The joy that sales activity brings you if you are in a sales career)
  • Reward
  • Meaning (Example: Results like winning deals are really meaningful for you)
  • Learning (Are you learning and growing?)
  • Gratitude

4 Building Blocks of Mojo

Marshall Goldsmith picks out 4 building blocks that go into creating Mojo –

  1. Identity, - Who do you think you are?
  2. Achievement, - What have you done lately? Curiously, Goldsmith illustrates this with an example drawn from sales – “People selling cars answer the question based on how many cars they’ve sold in the recent quarter (and chances are there’s a scoreboard in the manager’s office that shows just how well those salespeople are performing vis-à-vis their peers at the dealership)”
  3. Reputation – Who do people think you are?
  4. Acceptance – What can you let go?

6 Major Mojo Killers

The book lists 6 major Mojo Killers:

| Over-committing | Waiting for the facts to change | Looking for the logic in all the wrong places | Bashing the boss | Refusing to change because of “Sunk Costs” (Are your decisions based on what you might lose and not on what you have to gain? Then you are devoted to sunk costs) | Confusing the mode you’re in (Mistaking relaxed mode for professional mode. What’s non-professional shouldn’t be entertained even in the relaxed mode)

4 Pointless Arguments

Says Goldsmith – “Unlike the global economy, our proclivity to get into pointless arguments is something that we can control. Arguing can put our Mojo at risk by needlessly creating enemies that could have been allies … At work, and even more so at home, even the arguments that we “win’ can be pyrrhic victories that are not worth the cost of engagement”. The dreadful 4 are:

  • Let me keep talking
  • I had it rougher than you
  • Why did you do that?
  • It’s not fair

“These four ‘losing’ arguments all have the same end result. We don’t change the outcome … We only lower our Mojo” Goldsmith points out

A 14 Point Toolkit to help you to get, keep and win back your Mojo (if ever you lose it)  

  1. Establish criteria that matter to you – Set your ground rules for your life
  2. Find out where you are living – Check how balanced is the short-term satisfaction against long term benefit at work and at home
  3. Be the optimist in the room – There’s power in “going for it”
  4. Take away one thing – Ask: how would your life change if you took away something big from your daily schedule?
  5. Rebuild one brick at a time - Work away on building your Mojo
  6. Live your mission in the small moments too – They make big statements about who we are
  7. Swim in the blue water – Changing the game can be a new way to win
  8. When to stay, when to go – Better to jump than be pushed
  9. Hello, good bye – Prepare for both
  10. Adopt a metrics system – Create your own metrics to assess your mojo and growth
  11. Reduce this number – Bring down the time spent on boasting or criticizing
  12. Influence up as well as down – Turn important decision makers into your best Customers (This can make a world of difference in sales)
  13. Name it, frame it, claim it – Naming what we do can help us enhance how we do it (How would you name your sales role? Do you see a higher purpose there?)
  14. Give your friends a lifetime pass – Give your friends a break


Applying these tools to business can help you win back your Sales Mojo in challenging times

Ravi's Corner

  • A Dark Place
  • Is it really?
  • Are you buried?
  • Or
  • Are you “planted”
  • From brown to golden green
  • Rediscover your Mojo
  • Navigate the Stony Path
  • With A Resolute heart
  • That says- I will not ride into the sunset
  • For I have enjoyed my sunshine
  • I did not ask why
  • Now the stems are cut
  • The flower buds absent
  • Nourish the roots
  • A tender shoot begins to breathe
  • As your effort steadies and spirit boldens
  • Don’t you trip over something behind you
  • “The Comeback is always stronger than the Setback”


  1. “Don’t wish it was easier, wish you were better. Don’t wish for fewer problems, wish for more skills. Don’t wish for fewer challenges, wish for more wisdom. For things to change, you have to change.’ ― Jim Rohn
  1. "When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hold on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn." --Harriet Beecher Stowe
  1. Turnaround or growth, it's getting your people focused on the goal that is still the job of leadership - Anne M. Mulcahy
  1. When you're in a turnaround situation, you cannot incrementalize your way out of it - Steve Easterbrook
  1. Success is walking from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.” – Winston Churchill
  1. “In the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity.” – Albert Einstein
  1. “When you want to succeed as bad as you want to breathe, only then you’ll be successful.” – Eric Thomas
  1. “For every sale, you miss because you’re too enthusiastic, you will miss a hundred because you’re not enthusiastic enough.” – Zig Ziglar
  1. “There are two primary choices in life; to accept conditions as they exist, or to accept the responsibility for changing them.” – Dennis Waitely
  1. “Be miserable. Or motivate yourself. Whatever has to be done, it’s always your choice.” – Wayne Dyer


To strike gold in a season of slow sales, look for the lipstick effect

Skidding demand, unwilling consumers, uncertain sales. Anxieties of a slowdown are evident even with growth putting out tiny green shoots. This is largely true of most businesses regardless of category. Can sales still be growth? Yes, provided you look for them at the right places says Harish Bhatt, Brand Custodian of the Tata’s group. He explains how, in a recent article carried by Business Line. Excerpts below offer a strategy:

Lipstick effect

There is a slowdown buzz around us, in India. Falling sales in sectors such as automobile and real estate are making headlines virtually every day. Consumer goods companies are reporting slower growth. In the latest quarter, non-oil, non-gold imports are down — indicating that Indians are buying less of imported goods too.

On the other hand, the movie business is doing very well, with the latest Akshay Kumar release, Mission Mangal, having struck gold at the box office. And restaurants in Mumbai, where I live, have been running to their usual packed capacity. No slowdown visible in these quarters, for sure. So, are we seeing schizophrenic consumer behaviour in these challenging times?

Perhaps the answer to this question lies in the Great Depression of the 1930s, which is the most severe economic downturn we have witnessed in the past century. It started in 1929 and lasted until the late 1930s, nearly an entire decade. While stock markets collapsed, and consumer demand for most products plunged, marketers and economists stumbled across one interesting observation — demand for lipstick went up significantly. So, why were women scrambling to buy lipstick during a downturn?

Small joys, big appeal

The reason, it turned out, lay in a simple insight into consumer behaviour. When people do not have enough money to spend on big-ticket items, such as cars or houses, they will still find the cash for small luxury items, which help them feel good in relatively miserable times. Cash-strapped customers want to treat themselves to the small joys of life, such as lipstick, which make them feel and look good — because these small luxuries, which they can afford, help them forget their larger financial woes.

For the same reason, small indulgences will continue to do well during the current slowdown.

 Moving away from lipsticks and movies, yet another space where Indian consumers are unlikely to cut back on spending during a downturn is our big, fat weddings and the equally huge festive seasons of Dussehra and Diwali.

Day to day products and the constant quest for higher value

While the above observations pertain primarily to discretionary and infrequent purchases such as consumer durables and jewellery, a different sort of behaviour is likely to manifest itself during slowdowns, in day-to-day products such as toothpaste, soap and tea. Here, the consumer will not stop using these essential products. However, her monthly budget will be pinched by lower salary increases, or reduced business earnings, or even job losses, which are likely to be stark realities during a slowdown.

As a combined result of all these factors, we should expect financially stressed consumers to consciously seek higher value in their daily purchases.

All these aspects of consumer behaviour highlight an imperative for marketers during these slowdown times. They should focus on seeking out pockets of opportunity and growth for their respective products or services, based on sharp insights into consumer behaviour that are most relevant to their industry sectors. In other words, search for the lipstick effects in your respective categories. That’s where you are likely to strike gold.

The logic is no different in the B2B space. Read the full story of the Lipstick Effect  here


Mercuri Mail is a thoughtful compilation of meaningful articles drawn from Mercuri India archives, and from timeless management literature. Edited by Jaishankar Balasubramaniam & Sridhar Srinivasan of Mercuri Goldmann (India) Pvt. Ltd. This publication is for private circulation only.; |

We look forward to hearing from you

Explore your Knowledge centre

Sales Excellence Survey

The world’s largest sales performance consultancy, Mercuri International, has published its latest global survey – Sales Excellence 2017.

Read more

Mercury Mail

Mercuri Mail is a thoughtful compilation of meaningful articles drawn from Mercuri India archives, and from timeless management literature.

Read more

In Essence

In Essence documents are annotations of insightful publications in academic journals of repute, fostering sales excellence.

Read more

Selling is Beautiful

Whatever the size of the quota, your sales team can crush it, with these Sales Tarot cards, lived one at a time.

Read more

Build Your Library

Extreme Money: The Masters of The Universe and The Cult of Risk - Satyajit Das

Read more

Beyond Sales

“If banks cannot be truly Customer intimate, they are doomed to be just dumb commodities, acting behind the scenes, like utilities” – J P Nicols

Read more

MI Quest

How can the Sales Training Professionals of today design learning experiences that engage and inspire sustainable excellence in their audience?

Read more


In this series "100 Ways to Sales Resilience" we share simple yet powerful ideas that you and your sales people can use to overcome sales challenges ahead.

Read more