Are Flat Sales the New UpDuring a conference at which I was speaking last week, one of the other speakers made the comment, “Flat is the new up.” He was discussing sales trends and saying that companies should look at flat sales as a positive, because it’s better than sales being down.

People nodded and murmured agreement. The idea that “flat is the new up” seemed to resonate throughout the attendees and the concept was referenced later in the conference.

So is flat the new up?


No! No! No! No!

Absolutely, definitely, unquestionably no!

Let me explain.

While I agree we should appreciate each and every sale we make, and we should be grateful that our sales numbers are not as bad as they once were, to buy into the idea that “flat is the new up” is to set the bar too low.

Scientists working in the fields of neurophysiology and neuropsychology have proven we tend to get what we expect. In other words, the outcomes we achieve correlate with the expectations we—and others—set for ourselves.

The reason for this is our brains seem to like consistency. So our subconscious mind works to manifest the beliefs and expectations we already hold.

Which means, if you expect your sales to be flat, that’s what you’re going to get. If, however, you expect your sales to be up, your subconscious will work to manifest that outcome instead.

The same principle applies to your entire sales team. If a company’s owners and managers believe sales will be flat, their salespeople will—unconsciously—create that very result. Change your beliefs and expectations, though, and your team’s results will change accordingly.

And there’s good reason not to believe “flat is the new up.” The fact is, just because everyone else’s sales are down or flat doesn’t mean yours have to be! In any economy there are always stories about companies whose sales have climbed. Why can’t you be one of them?

Here’s an exercise for you. Answer these questions:
• What reasons are there to believe your sales will increase this year?
• What circumstances are working in your favor?
• What advantages do you have versus your competitors?
• Where are your opportunities for sales growth?
• What is everyone else not doing that you could do?
• What action steps can you implement immediately?

You might turn this into a group exercise for your next sales meeting. Or even a competition among your sales teams to generate the most ideas possible.

Because when you come up with good answers to these questions, you’ll free yourself from the limiting “flat is the new up” mindset. And you’ll unleash the creative power you have in yourself and your sales team.

Let your competitors settle for flat. You can—and should—expect more.