The ups and downs of selling are a little like the ups and downs on Wall Street.

The headline in last Friday's Wall Street Journal said "Market's 7-Day Rout Leaves U.S. Reeling."

What a difference a weekend can make. Today's Wall Street Journal front-page article said "Dow Takes Giant Leap As Bailouts Snap Gloom." As a matter of fact the Dow did take a giant leap going up a record-breaking 936 points in one day.

Here's the way I see it. What goes up usually goes down. What goes down usually goes up. And that's because history does tend to repeat itself. The same holds true for the ups and downs of selling.

These are not the easiest days for people in the selling profession. Doom and gloom! It's one huge pity party. Everyone's drinking from the same cup. Well, it doesn't have to be that way. You have a choice - you really do. You don't have to buy into the ups and downs of selling - you can choose to stay focused exclusively on the upside of selling.

I live in Lakewood Ranch Florida. And just a few short years ago the Sarasota/Bradenton area boasted one of the hottest real estate markets in the United States. Everybody's aunt Harriet became a real estate sales agent. My own home, in three short years appreciated by a factor of 2.5. Everybody was buying houses hoping to flip them for a quick and easy profit.

It was like going fishing and watching the fish jump onto your boat - it was that easy. There was a buying and selling frenzy and needless to say it didn't require much in the way of selling skills if you were a real estate salesperson.

A realtor friend of mine told me 75% of the real estate salespeople hung up their spurs and left the business. Why I wondered - could that be? Well what was easy became more difficult - maybe even impossible.

What once required zero selling skills now required a Masters in the art of selling. In this case, the ups and downs of selling clearly separated the winners from the whiners.

Yesterday I was reading a chapter from one of my favorite books, "Light From Many Lamps" by Lillian Eichler Watson. In one chapter she talked about A.J. Cronin's attempt at writing his first novel.

He came to the point of almost giving up. In fact, he threw his work in progress into a trashcan.

The book he finally completed was Hatter's Castle. "The novel he'd almost given up on was chosen by the Book Society, dramatized and serialized, translated into 19 languages, bought by Hollywood and has sold over 3 million copies."

Here's an excerpt. "What is the use . . . to work . . . to save . . . to go on living . . . with Armageddon around the corner? I am glad to recollect. In this present chaos, with no shining vision to sustain us, the door wide open to darkness and despair is.

The way to close that door is to stick to the job that we are doing, not how insignificant that job may be, to go on doing it and finish it."

These are challenging times for professional salespeople. These times are equally challenging for your sales prospects and customers and probably just as challenging for your competitors. You see, everyone is susceptible to the ups and downs of selling.

Don't give up - get going and start doing more! The ups and downs of selling don't have to be obstacles - treat them like golden opportunities.

Yesterday I got an e-mail from Miles Bruce - president of Panic Plastics. He sent me a quote from Mark Cuban, a billionaire entrepreneur, who also happens to be president of the Dallas Mavericks. Here's what the quote said:

"The 2nd rule for getting rich is getting smart. Investing your time in yourself and becoming knowledgeable about the business of something you really love to do.

It doesn't matter what it is. Whatever your hobbies, interests, passions are. Find the one you love the best and GET A JOB in the business that supports it.

It could be as a clerk, a salesperson, whatever you can find. You have to start learning the business somewhere. Instead of paying to go to school somewhere, you are getting paid to learn. It may not be the perfect job, but there is no perfect path to getting rich.

Before or after work and on weekends, every single day, read everything there is to read about the business. Go to trade shows, read the trade magazines, spend a lot of time talking to the people you do business with about their business and the people they buy from."

If you're serious about selling get serious about learning more. Get serious about learning as much as you can about your customers and their customers. Become the burning torch that spreads light and enthusiasm everywhere you go.

In any crowd of doomers and gloomers you'll surely stand-out.

Turn the ups and downs of selling into a personal challenge.

You can get up 15 minutes earlier . . .

You can do two extra follow-ups . . .

You can make one extra sales call . . .

You can ask more thought-provoking questions . . .

You can do more, learn more, and become more valuable to your sales prospects and customers.

And remember Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's words, "The lowest ebb is the turn of the tide."

Never let the ups and downs of selling get you down.

Let's go sell something!

Author's Bio: 

Jim is a former U.S. army officer serving in Germany and was a Public Information Officer on a General’s Staff while serving in Vietnam.

He was also VP of Sales and Marketing for the Scientific Products Division of Baxter International.

Jim has been nominated to the National Speakers Association Hall of Fame four times.

Jim has been in business 20 years . . . has 509 corporate clients . . . 83.3% repeat business