Sales Performance | Is this Economy a Valid Excuse?
Is this Economy an excuse for Poor Sales Performance? Can you afford to "grin and bear with it"? Over-extended selling cycles, pricing pressures, skeptical buyers and depleted levels of optimism amongst sales professionals are symptoms associated with a negative economy. The key word above is symptom. The root cause of these symptoms is what must be dealt with in order to reduce the obstacles sales professionals face in a down economy.
Shorten your selling cycle! Remember one important factor: The people or companies you are calling on are also feeling the pinch, pain or pressure of our current economic conditions. Therefore you are dealing with prospects who find themselves between a rock and a hard place. The rock is the level of dissatisfaction they are experiencing with either their current solution provider/vendor or how they are handling (or mishandling) an issue internally. The hard place is that they don’t know you, your capabilities or what you can do to solve their problem, right!
Stop trying to influence potential buyers with who you are and what you do. When you rely solely on an intellectual engagement your prospect inevitably needs to think things over. Whereas if you focus your prospect on the gap of inefficiency they are currently experiencing and the associated negative impact, then you begin to engage them emotionally. After all, your prospect is more apt to reject you than they are in rejecting a way to improve their current situation? They are not buying your product or service; they are buying the difference between where they are and their desired state!
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For example, if a commercial printer cold calls you telling you how many presses they had, how many happy clients they had or what beautiful work they did, you are simply tolerating a sales pitch, an engagement you want to end because you have other things to do, right!. However, if that same printer called you and asked a few key questions helping you to uncover that your own promotional materials developed internally were actually costing you 10x, and he could perform the same job less the aggravation and performance issues, how likely are you to reject the printer? How likely are you to defer making a decision that would be financially beneficial for you?
Reducing the Price Objection. Another critical aspect of a down economy is that buyers become so price oriented, usually limiting their focus to front-end expenses with regard to a transaction. However, it’s your job as a New Business Professional to help them to visualize the difference between the “front end price” and the actual “big picture price”! The front end price is simply what they see on the contract or invoice.
- The big picture price has to do with backend expenditures caused by:
- Poor pre-project diagnosis resulting in back end issues
- Poor quality, service or response time to problem resolution
- Failure to identify peripheral issues that should have been handled up front.
After all, these are the issues that have a prospect dissatisfied to begin with. Not only are they bearing the up front cost, but they are paying for the back-end or big picture expense!
Are you experiencing the impact of Anemic Behavior? Driving Behavior isn't the Solution! Complacency amongst sales people in a down economy leads to anemic sales activity. Anemic sales activity begins the downward spiral leading to sales plateaus, unhappy sales people making far less money than they deserve and unnecessary turnover. Most Business Owners and Sales Manager’s respond to these symptoms by driving behavior in sales people—pushing them to do more of what isn’t working to make up for current attrition. Unfortunately, this approach is part of the problem. If the current behavior (business development activity and sales routine) of the overall team isn’t producing the desired results, asking them to do more of what isn’t working accelerates the downward spiral. The solution is to change their behavior opposed to driving it. Changing their results begins with changing their day to day mindset and routine. Changing a routine developed over years of selling cannot be achieved until you change their minds. This process is essential to achieving a positive attitude, reducing complacent behavior and starting the process of achieving sustainable growth.
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