By Frank Visgatis, President & Chief Operating Officer, CustomerCentric Selling® -The Sales Training Company
As we enter a new year, most salespeople and sales organizations spent the recent holiday season in one of three (3) modes:
1. The Happy Camper – Through a combination of proper planning and consistency of execution, the previous year is already “done” from a revenue attainment perspective, and now it’s time to relax and charge the batteries so you can rocket out of the gate in Q1.
2. The Hail Mary – You’re doing everything you can possibly think of to somehow bring in every last bit of revenue in an attempt, albeit usually a futile one, to make the number for the year.
3. The Dead Man Walking – With the recognition that nothing will salvage the year at this point and worse, prospects don’t look good for the New Year, resumes are being polished and LinkedIn is experiencing a spike in activity.
So, the question is: What mode are you in?
My hope is that you fall into the first category. However, if this is you, you are the exception and not the rule. If that’s in fact the case, if you fall into either of the two latter categories, what is going to change this year?
Will marketing finally get their act together and start sending you decent leads?
If marketing could consistently generate high quality, well-qualified leads from prospects who are ready to buy, why do we need salespeople? Wouldn’t a website and an 800 number do the trick?
Will your product suddenly get better?
Don’t count on it. Even if it does, the days of product features being competitive differentiators are gone.
Will management finally “get it” and bring down the price point to something more “reasonable”?
Unlikely. Even if they did, all that means is that you would have to exponentially increase your volume of transactions to make the same amount of money you tried to make this year. For example, if you couldn’t close 10 deals at 100% of the price, what would lead you to believe that you can close 20 at 50%?
I apologize if my assessment seems a bit harsh. However, I also know that you can proactively address each of the aforementioned issues.
3 Ways to Take Control
1. If you aren’t happy with the quality of leads that you’re getting from Marketing, remember that the helping hand you need is probably at the end of your own arm. Instead of waiting for the phone to ring, start dialing it instead. It is only the salespeople who consistently and aggressively prospect for new business, even if their pipeline is already full, who are the ones who sleep well at night.
2. If price is an issue, then that simply means that insufficient value has been established. Prospects focus on cost when there is no value. Remember that the cost of pain always has to be greater than the cost of change. Unless and until the prospect understands that it is costing them more to do things the way they currently do them versus what you are asking them to spend, price will always be the issue.
3. Finally, if you can’t differentiate yourself using what you sell, think about differentiating yourself by the way you sell. Rather than being the stereotypical salesperson eager to do a demo as soon as possible, think about focusing on your prospect’s business goals and objectives, first and only introducing product once you understand their desired business outcomes and how you can help them get there.