How can we control our sales destiny in uncertain times?

How can we control our sales destiny in uncertain times?

Salespeople deal with market ups and downs, political influence, people’s (customers, influencers, internal stakeholders, bosses, etc) changing mindset and goals on a daily basis. Sales can be like herding cats on the best of days.

These factors and others can cause even the best of salespeople to be concerned because they are mostly outside the salesperson’s direct control yet we still have to meet our sales targets. So it’s not easy being a salesperson, especially in tougher markets. However, highly effective salespeople will tell you that while tough markets can be a real challenge, they can be a fantastic learning ground forcing them to find new ways to operate, new markets to sell into and new ways to do business.

These highly effective salespeople know that the trick is working out what you can control, what (and who) you can influence and what (and who) you cannot control. Once you have worked out these things you can then devote your time, energy and attention to the things you can control and influence on a daily basis. 

What we can control:

  • Our own behaviours and attitudes
  • Our intention
  • Our purpose and goals
  • Our capabilities and approach  
  • Our wellbeing

What (and who) we can influence:

  • Be interested in other people
  • Ask questions and listen
  • Offer choice
  • Be clear about your message

What (and who) we cannot control

Let’s face it, we operate in a complex world where many things are outside our direct control and influence, yet these very things can influence and affect ourselves, our clients, markets, and communities. There are some very interesting frameworks that can help us separate out a range of factors that affect our market places, communities, and countries. For example, the PEST model and the STEER analysis

You only have to think of the impact of the recent federal budget to see how easily people can be affected by these factors and how it can change their decision-making processes.

Salespeople and sales leadership team have to contend with these PEST and/or STEER influences on a daily basis and still work out what they can control and influence so they can drive sales growth and opportunity.

The challenge is how do we factor these things into our own world and not get swept away by them in torrents of worry and concern because we cannot control them directly. 

How can we still control our sales destiny in a manner that accommodates uncertainty?

First, we need to prioritise and focus on those things we have direct control over and learn not to focus too heavily on things that we have indirect control over.

Secondly, we need to completely let go of the concerns we have around things that we have no control over. This is not so easy if you are worried about big things like the state of the economy, environment, world peace, etc. In this instance, we have to tell ourselves that one person alone cannot fix all these things. But you are not without power here.

Go local

What we can do instead is go ‘local’ and look at what we can do on a smaller scale, which brings us back to what we can control and influence. So you do not have to abandon your goals and desires to save the whales, clean up the environment, help the poor, etc. You can always do something ‘local’ every day and affect change.

The same with your sales world: You can always affect change if you wish to do so. The idea is to affect positive change that helps people and makes things better. That tends to draw more good things than bad.

In other words, even in times of uncertainty there are many things we can still control and influence. By helping ourselves to increase our circle of ‘local’ control and influence we can in turn reduce the circle of concern and worry that often lies outside of our control. 

You are never without power to do something good for yourself and others. It’s up to you to choose what and when.

Remember, everybody lives by selling something.

Sue Barrett is founder and CEO of and and has written 21 e-books and 500+ articles on the world of 21st century selling.


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