Got a Closing Problem? Doubt it. Look at your Opening

Mar 19, 2019

As sales trainers & coaches you can imagine the number of times we hear a VP of Sales say, “We need help Closing more business.” Or a Director of Sales asks, “Can you help us with our closing?”  It’s common.

In the words of Arnold in Kindergarten Cop, “IT’S NOT A CLOSING PROBLEM!”

After spending a few minutes with these people it’s clear that they don’t have a closing problem – not at all. They have an opening problem. They don’t have enough qualified opportunities. Not enough “logs in the fire.” When the pipeline is skinny every opportunity is critical. When every opportunity is critical (& they don’t hit), it looks like a closing problem. Sound familiar?

This problem can be factored down to the most basic of all basic selling activities – prospecting. A lot of salespeople think this is a dirty word. Let’s face it … who wants to go out & talk to strangers that don’t want to talk to them about something they probably don’t want to buy? Well, that’s what prospecting is. That’s what professional selling is. And it’s not for everyone. If you have a few salespeople on your team that consistently fall short of their numbers ask yourself this question, “How often do they prospect?” How often do they go out of their way to talk to someone that doesn’t want to talk to them?” Probably never (or very rarely).

The real sales pros get it. They do the prospecting activity because they realize what happens if they don’t.  They realize that they are in the prospecting business (& the minute they fail to believe this is the minute they go out of business) – happens all the time. These pros are in the same industry as you, selling the same products & services, to the same client base, for very comparable dollars, in the same economy. They are eating your lunch.

So, what’s the difference? You know the difference. The pros get in the game. They hunt for business. They aren’t afraid of rejection. Do they like it?  Doesn’t matter – they do it.

Less effective salespeople find other things to do besides prospecting. They do paperwork. Work on quotes & proposals. Walk around the office & bother other people. Some even go to Office Max & buy highlighters, folders & paper clips – anything to avoid talking to strangers – anything to avoid prospecting. They “get ready to get ready”.  Truth is they will never be ready. They are not cut out for sales.

Got any of these folks? Start holding them accountable to one of the only activities in sales that they control – their own prospecting activity. No excuses.

Top 10 Things Salespeople Say They Can’t Do – says them. . .

Mar 5, 2019

Most of you have seen or heard the famous quote from Henry Ford: Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right.

It’s a doozy! Once you think it through it makes all the sense in the world. “That’s right! I can do anything I put my mind to. I got this!” It’s good. A really good reminder. Smart people would call it a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you think you can, that’s the first step to accomplishing anything. Positive thinking.

Problem is, most people (including salespeople) flip it. They think the opposite. “I can’t do that. No way can I do that.” Funny thing is, they go out & prove it. They don’t do it. No way. Not a chance. You see it all the time. On the golf course: I can’t make this putt, too far. And, you prove it. Annual quotas: I can’t hit that number, too high. And you prove it. Work projects: I can’t finish this by the due date, not enough time. And, you prove it. I’ll never forget my 4th grade teacher telling me I was not a good & fast reader. I can’t read fast, too hard. And I prove it every single day.

Believing you can’t definitely works. Ok, so why won’t believing you can?

Why can’t we just flip our belief system? It’ll put our mind in the right place – it’ll give us a head start.

Here are the Top 10 Things Salespeople Say They Can’t Do – says them:

  1. I can’t ask a prospect for their budget or target price (or what they’re paying). They’ll never tell me. And, you prove it.
  2. I can’t go over Carl’s head & talk to his boss, he’ll get mad at me. And, you prove it.
  3. I can’t ask a prospect tough questions. It’s too uncomfortable. And, you prove it.
  4. I can’t meet with my prospects or customers. They don’t want to see salespeople, And, you prove it.
  5. I can’t stand up for what’s right for my company. The customer will get upset. And, you prove it.
  6. I can’t push back on a prospect or customer & only quote when the opportunity is qualified. They need it ASAP. And, you prove it.
  7. I can’t sell that much this year, it’s way too much. And, you prove it.
  8. I can’t ask my customers for referrals or introductions, they won’t give them. And, you prove it.
  9. I can’t stay in control of sales calls & the entire sales process, they are in control. And, you prove it.
  10. I can’t make that much money; my company doesn’t pay that much. And, you prove it.

Now, he said it in 1906 (113 years ago). That was a long time ago, & he probably doesn’t know what he’s talking about. . . but what would Henry Ford say?

3 Ways to Make Sure you are Selling to the Decision Maker(s)

Feb 19, 2019

 

Have you ever spent two, three, six (or more) months working on a deal? You have momentum. Everything seems to be going well. Your solution is perfect. Your contact returns your calls. He replies to your emails. He meets with you when you are at his office. He even goes to lunch with you, as long as you’re paying. All is good. Until it’s time to finalize the deal – close it. That’s when you learn that your contact (we’ll call him Carl) doesn’t have the authority to approve the deal.

That’s a “spirit-crusher”! Carl could have said NO at any point along the sales cycle, but you waited until the end (months later) to learn that he could not say YES. One of the worst feelings in sales.

This spirit-crushing lesson doesn’t need to be learned more than once. You don’t need that feeling in the pit of your gut ever again. Then why does it happen over & over? There are a few reasons:

  1. You trust Carl. Your “happy ears” hear what they want to hear & you don’t think you need to dig deeper.
  2. You don’t want to offend Carl by going over his head. And it works. You never do. (Solves that problem).
  3. You don’t believe you “belong” at the higher level. You are comfortable with lower-level Carls.
  4. You don’t want to “upset the applecart” – “better not screw things up by asking too many questions”

We’ve heard ‘em all. If any of these items ring true in your selling life you will fall victim to another spirit-crushing deal. Or should we say, “no deal”?

The lesson here: You must fight to get to the decision maker/makers & understand how the process works.

You read it right. The who, who else & how. Every single deal. We are not suggesting you go over Carl’s head in any way that exposes you to Carl. No need to offend Carl (you need Carl). We are suggesting that Carl help you get to the appropriate person/people.

Carl knows his place. If Carl wants you & your product or service, he will help you. Remember, Carl can say NO… he just can’t say YES.

Here are 3 ways to make sure you are selling to the decision maker(s):

  1. (How before who) When you make decisions like this, how does it work & who is involved?
  2. (Who before how) When you make decisions like this, who is involved & how does it work?
  3. (Every business is different…) Every business we work with is different. When you make decisions like this, how does it work & who is involved.

These questions are worded very carefully. They are designed to gather the information you need to ensure you are dealing with all the appropriate people & that you understand the process.

Be sure you don’t break a cardinal rule of selling & give Carl the chance to lie to you by asking, “Are you the decision maker.” Some Carl’s out there can’t wait to get their needs met, can’t wait to puff there chest out & give you the perception that they have “power” & will immediately say YES to that question. Wrong question.

Prospecting? I Don’t Wanna do That!

Feb 5, 2019

      

 

Show me a salesperson who loves to prospect & I’ll show you a salesperson that’s never done it. Face it: If someone told you your job was to call or email people who you don’t know… that didn’t want to talk to you … about something they didn’t want to buy … how quickly would you sign up? And why?

Nobody would be dumb enough to sign up for that. It’s ridiculous. Most salespeople would rather poke their eyes out with a pencil!  Saying to themselves, “I’m an intelligent person. I have a degree or a skill that is in demand. I am a valuable member of society. I’d never do that – it’s a big waste of time.

Of course not! But that’s what we do in sales. Or, should I say, that’s what the successful salespeople do. If new business is the life-blood of your business, then prospecting is the life-blood of your role in sales – like it or not, you have to do it.

The superstars in sales know one thing for sure – the moment they stop prospecting is the moment they go out of business – period.

Are we talking about cold-calling? Not necessarily. We’re talking about reaching out to people that may not want to talk to you about something they may not want to buy. A risky proposition for some salespeople. Some salespeople would rather wait for a HOT internet lead. Wait for the phone to ring. Wait for an email from a prospect in desperate need. Well, let me ask you, how often do those situations happened? Exactly. Rarely. So, it’s time to go out & talk to people that may not want to talk to you about something they may not want to buy.

Let’s review ways to prospect:

  1. Referrals & introductions. When was the last time you asked a good client who they knew that could use what you sell?
  2. Current clients/customers. Bet you are not 100% entrenched in all of your current accounts. Find out who else (in other departments) you should talk to (& get introduced)
  3. Networking events, Organizations, Associations. Where do your prospects hang out? Go there. Most industries have organizations that are target-rich in prospects for you. 
  4. Linked In. It’s expected. Find prospects. Engage them. Get invited in to have a discussion about their issues. Your competitors are. 
  5. Stop in. Said it. Stop driving by facilities that you know by your products & services. Pull in the lot, get out of your car, & do your thing. It’s your job. 
  6. Cold Calls. Believe it or not there are salespeople that still open wonderful opportunities by cold-calling over the phone. There are more lists of prospects than you can imagine.

Or you can sit back & blame marketing for the lack of leads. Blame your company for your “crappy territory”. Blame your competition for having better relationships than you. Hell, blame your Sales Coach.

 

 

How was 2018? You Only Have Yourself to Thank . . . or Blame

Jan 22, 2019

Sales. How can you not love sales? One of very few professions where you sit back, look at the past year, feel great about a great year (or crappy about a crappy year) & have nobody else to thank (or blame) but yourself.

Sure, you had help. You have products & services. Yes, there is a production team, management, operations, engineering, accounting, HR, etc. You had help, no question. But, at this time of the year, who are you thanking? Better be you. You deserve it.

If you had a great year, by all means thank the most important person. You.

What if your year was less than great? What if sales were down? What if 2018 flat-out sucked? Who are you going to blame? Better not be production. Better not be management. Better not be operations. Better not be engineering, or accounting, or HR. I got it. Blame the customer. Or better yet, blame your competitors!

No. Point that finger right where it belongs – right between your eyes.

Why is it so easy to take the credit when things go well, yet even easier to pass the buck when things go bad?

Enter #thesalespersonwhodoesnotholdhimselfaccountable. We all know that salesperson. It’s never her fault. It’s not his job. It’s not her responsibility. It’s not his problem. Somebody should have told her. She already did tell someone. He didn’t have time. Her account base is slow. His territory shrank last year. Her territory was too big last year. His key contact left the company. Her buyer got a promotion. And so on, & so on…

It’s comical how salespeople love the lime light – when the light is limey. But, as soon as the light dims & the train falls off the tracks, they point their fingers faster than the weather changes in Michigan.

Pure comedy. Hate to break it to you, salespeople, but …  There isn’t a single person in your company that doesn’t know what you’re up to. Not one person. If you are quick to take the credit, pump your chest & strut around the office like a peacock, that’s great. Just make sure you are equally as accountable when things go the other way – & they always do.

Imagine the culture around the office if:

  • A salesperson admitted, “my mistake”
  • A salesperson said, “I was wrong”
  • A salesperson stooped so low to declare, “I was out-sold”
  • A salesperson actually said, “I should have done a better job . . .”
  • A salesperson proclaimed, “I need a better relationship with (insert name)”
  • A salesperson contended, “ABC company does a great job – I need to be on my toes”
  • A salesperson actually complimented operations, or production, or accounting, or management, or engineering, or HR

That’s accountability. That builds strong cultures. But, for some salespeople – that’s too hard. Easier to blame.

It’s 2019. What’s Going to be Different this Year?

Jan 8, 2019

 

 

 

 

OK, we’re 8 days into 2019. You’ve had enough time to settle in. You’re grinding. Business as usual. Here are 3 questions for you:

  1. How “usual” will things be this year?
  2. Better yet, what’s going to be different this year?
  3. More specifically: What will you do this year to take your sales to the next level?

If you’re satisfied, coasting, or as a friend of ours used to say, “Livin’ large”, stop reading now & go back to doing whatever it is you do.

This won’t be one of those corny blogs that attempts to motivate you & tell you what a great year this will be. The motivation won’t work & making it great is up to you.

What we will do is ask: What’s going to be different this year?

If you are not happy in your sales role; if you are not making the money you want, what will you do differently this year to change things? Blame the leads? Complain about your territory? “Dog” the competition? Bitch about your management?

How’d that work for you last year? And the year before?

Nope. This year will be different (if you want it to be). This year you have the choice to hold yourself accountable – to point the finger right where it should be pointed – right between your eyes.

Whatever problem a salesperson is struggling with you can bet big dollars that it can be factored down to the fact that he or she does not have enough opportunities to close business. This is because he or she does not “open” enough business. And this is because he or she is not prospecting enough. Almost every “sales” problem is a prospecting problem!

Look familiar?

  • Feeling pressure to lower your price? You probably don’t have any other logs in the fire.
  • Following up with a prospect enough to classify you as a stalker? You probably don’t have any other real good opportunities.
  • Spending all your time talking with lower level non-decision makers? You probably have a wide-open calendar.
  • Keeping a pipeline full of a bunch of low % opportunities. You probably have not opened any high % opportunities.
  • Spending all your time “farming” current accounts waiting for one of them to “place an order”. You probably have not called a new prospect since people watched TV instead of Netflix!

Enough already! Why don’t you get out of your own way & start doing what you control? Your prospecting & sales activity. Break out of your comfort zone & start calling people & companies that buy what you sell to see what they are up to.

In the spirit of 2019 here are 5 things to do differently this year:

  1. Make a pact to call 15 new prospects per week
  2. Agree to ask 15 current clients (or friends) for a referral or introduction each month
  3. Stop “driving by” facilities that buy your products – stop into 15 this quarter
  4. Thank 15 clients for their business before St. Patrick’s Day (lunch is good)
  5. Dig down deep into your gut & find that 5 seconds of guts it takes to do these things

Or not. You can keep bitching about your boss – it’s probably her fault anyway.

The Twelve Days of Selling

Dec 11, 2018

Ever get a cool marketing idea from a client? It happened to me. Thank Christy Seitz (Paragon Laboratories) for this one if you like it. If not… it’s all on me.

On the first day of Christmas, my sales coach said to me, get to reality.

On the second day of Christmas, my sales coach said to me, you are in the prospecting business & get to reality.

On the third day of Christmas, my sales coach said to me, you can’t hit a goal you never set, you are in the prospecting business & get to reality.

On the fourth day of Christmas, my sales coach said to me, stop making excuses, you can’t hit a goal you never set, you are in the prospecting business & get to reality.

On the fifth day of Christmas, my sales coach said to me, you talk too much, stop making excuses, you can’t hit a goal you never set, you are in the prospecting business & get to reality.

On the sixth day of Christmas, my sales coach said to me, set stronger Ground Rules, you talk too much, stop making excuses, you can’t hit a goal you never set, you are in the prospecting business & get to reality.

On the seventh day of Christmas, my sales coach said to me, ask tougher questions, set stronger Ground Rules, you talk too much, stop making excuses, you can’t hit a goal you never set, you are in the prospecting business & get to reality.

On the eight day of Christmas, my sales coach said to me, stop talking to Carl the Clerk, ask tougher questions, set stronger Ground Rules, you talk too much, stop making excuses, you can’t hit a goal you never set, you are in the prospecting business & get to reality.

On the ninth day of Christmas, my sales coach said to me, get comfortable talking about money, stop talking to Carl the Clerk, ask tougher questions, set stronger Ground Rules, you talk too much, stop making excuses, you can’t hit a goal you never set, you are in the prospecting business & get to reality.

On the tenth day of Christmas, my sales coach said to me, please leave the office, get comfortable talking about money, stop talking to Carl the Clerk, ask tougher questions, set stronger Ground Rules, you talk too much, stop making excuses, you can’t hit a goal you never set, you are in the prospecting business & get to reality.

On the eleventh day of Christmas, my sales coach said to me, ask for the sale, please leave the office, get comfortable talking about money, stop talking to Carl the Clerk, ask tougher questions, set stronger Ground Rules, you talk too much, stop making excuses, you can’t hit a goal you never set, you are in the prospecting business & get to reality.

On the twelfth day of Christmas, my sales coach said to me, get out of your own way, ask for the sale, please leave the office, get comfortable talking about money, stop talking to Carl the Clerk, ask tougher questions, set stronger Ground Rules, you talk too much, stop making excuses, you can’t hit a goal you never set, you are in the prospecting business & get to reality.

Songwriters: C Seitz / D.Tear

It’s the Holidays, I’m a Salesperson… Nobody Wants to See Me. 5 Reasons That is Total B.S.!

Nov 27, 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

What would the holiday season be without the “It’s the Holidays blog…?

It’s that time of year. Time for a reality check.

How many salespeople do you know that go on cruise control between Thanksgiving & New Year’s Day? How many companies do you know that will actually admit to winding things down right about now?

It happens every year. So common. We could call it an epidemic at some companies & an easy way out for many salespeople. Saying things like, “Nah… they don’t want to see salespeople… it’s the holidays. Or, “I’m sure they don’t want to see us over the holidays”. Or, “Nobody’s even there, they’re all off, it’s the holidays”. Total B.S. 

Here’s an idea: Why don’t you play your cards right & get in to see some decision makers between now & the start of 2019? Make it a point to capitalize on your competition’s weakness – laziness! Epidemic laziness!

It’s time to buckle down & do the one thing that you actually control in your daily selling lives. Pick up the phone & call prospects.  Go see prospects & customers. Yes, you control that activity. Nobody else will be doing it so you will stand out automatically. Nobody else thinks anyone is “in” – so I like your chances.

Strong salespeople don’t go on cruise control – ever.  Successful companies don’t wind down during the holidays. They make things happen.

The holidays are great times to see prospects & current clients & customers.  Here are 5 reasons to keep prospecting for new business & keep seeing current clients during the holidays:

  1.   It’s your job
  2. Companies review current year incumbent products & services & decide what to do for the next year
  3. Prospects will see you – it’s their job
  4. It’s a great time to plan new programs for 2019 with current clients (your competitors won’t be there)
  5. As my mother always said, a Thank You is never inappropriate – thank your clients for their business

Business does not stop between Thanksgiving & New Year’s Day. Some salespeople do. Don’t be one of ‘em!

Drop the Sales Lingo: 10 Ways You’re Sounding Like a Turkey in Sales

Nov 13, 2018

 

Sales is hard enough on its own. Prospecting. Rejection. Scheduling appointments. Researching the prospect. Understanding the competitive landscape. Knowing your prospects PAIN points. Uncovering budgets & spending patterns. Manipulating the decision-making process. It’s a tough game.

There’s no need to make it even harder by saying stupid things. But, some salespeople do. Oh, do they ever!

We’ve all been there. It’s as if you can see it coming … like a train wreck about to happen.  Here it comes… he’s gonna say it… OMG… he did… what a tool! The salesperson took all this time to get invited in, has the audience, makes a first impression & then lays an egg when he opens his mouth.

All because he’s not thinking. Not thinking about what he is saying. Not thinking about how to differentiate himself from all the other salespeople that call on this prospect. Not thinking that this prospect doesn’t need another “salesperson”. Not thinking that this prospect needs a solution to a business problem.

Here’s a list of 10 Ways You’re Sounding Like a Turkey in Sales:

  1. I’d like to connect.“I’d like to meet.” I wanted to…” “I need to…”

Stop it with the word “I.” Any sales phrase, sentence, or conversation that starts with what you want is wrong. Sales isn’t about you, it’s about what you can do for your prospect or customer. Take the focus off yourself & make sure that you engage into questions about what they want or what problems they have.

  1. Is it a good time to connect?“Is it a good time to talk?”

Too easy to answer NO to. Most people “buy the fight” & will respond negatively to the question.  If you haven’t established value, it’s a waste of your prospect’s time. Instead, ask, “Did I catch you at a bad time?” Let them “buy the fight” & disagree to that. See the difference?

  1. Just checking in …

Do you know how many salespeople use this line to open every phone call they make or email they write? Every one of them. Stop it! Now! If you want to separate yourself from your competition this is where you start.

  1. Touching base

Like “just checking in,” “touching base” is brutal! Completely unnecessary. If you aren’t providing new information or following up with new information, there’s really nothing for you to “touch base” about.

  1. Are you the decision maker?

With this question, you are practically asking your prospect to lie to you. If she is not the decision maker, it is often hard to admit it – makes people feel less important. If she is the decision maker (or a part of the process) you may miss out on that valuable piece of information – she is a part of a process – involving others.

  1. To be honest …

Maybe the worst 3 words anyone could ever say – let alone a salesperson.  Does this mean everything up to now was not honest? Lose it.

  1. Trust me.

“Trust me” is almost as pathetic as “To be honest.” Your prospects will trust you if you give them a reason to. Prove yourself. And another thing, if you say this in response to a prospect question, it can also come off as condescending, evasive, deflecting. Again, lose it.

  1. “Let me tell you about our product…”

Here we go again. It’s not about you. It’s also too early to talk about your product. Make it about them. Their problems. The problems that are costing their company money.

  1. You should know X about [competitor] …

Don’t you get a bad feeling when salespeople bad-mouth their competitors. Everybody does. Never bad-mouth a competitor. It may be tempting. Fight the urge. Take the high road. Always pays off.

  1. “Any (Jargon)”

In order to travel through time, the vehicle integrated with the flux capacitor needed to be traveling at 88 mph (140.8 km/h) and required 1.21 gigawatts of power (1,210,000,000 watts), originally supplied by a plutonium-powered nuclear reactor. Huh? A fun reference to the movie Back to the Future. Fun in the movies. In life & on sales calls this “Jargon” could make your prospect feel uncomfortable because they don’t know what you’re talking about. Leave the Jargon in the office. Don’t ever assume your prospect knows what you’re talking about.

Relying on jargon & acronyms makes you sound not human. Use real words to explain what you mean.

Think it through. Less is almost always best. Less sales lingo is absolutely best. Leave that to your competitors. You’ll mop up their mistakes & start having record sales quarters.

 

 

 

7 Examples of how Your Business is No Different Than All the Others

Oct 30, 2018

“You don’t understand, Dave, our business is different.”

If I had a nickel for every time I heard that over the last 30 years, I’d have a stack of nickels this high! (it’s a pretty high stack).

Nineteen out of twenty times when a business owner or VP or Sales Manager says this about their business they go on to explain the same things many of our clients explain to us (often it’s verbatim).

If you think your business (& the sales problems associated with it) are different, that’s ok – it’s perfectly normal. It means your business is important to you, it’s serious to you & you care. All good.

Sometimes, a look from an outsider provides a new perspective, a different perspective, a perspective that gets you to reality. We’ll provide that perspective for you. Here goes:

7 Examples of how Your Business is No Different Than All the Others

  1. “We have a really long sales cycle – it’s very relationship-based.”

There’s not a business that we work with that isn’t relationship-based. As for the length of sales-cycle, yes, long would describe them all. The longer, more comprehensive, enterprise sales take time. They’re not transactional. There is a strategic approach that needs to be taken to these deals. Expectations must be managed every step of they way or deals could fall right off the tracks. 

  1. “Our prospects are looking for the lowest price – that’s all they care about.”

 Who’s NOT looking for the lowest price? They must say this. It’s their job. Whenever we hear this, we ask our clients to take a deep breath & think of the last deal they closed that was not at the lowest price. They always come up with an answer – & it never takes that long. You know as well as we do, people say they want the lowest price, but what do they really want? The best value. Two different things.

  1. “Our salespeople have to prospect for new business AND maintain the business they have (hunt & farm).”

A common business model these days. Gone are they days where the inside team schedules sales appointments for the outside team to qualify & close. Some companies use this approach. But most employ people that must have hunting & farming skills. Truth be told, when we hear this, what they are really saying is, “our salespeople don’t have time to hunt & farm for business.” And when they say this, what they are really saying is, “our salespeople don’t have a prospecting system that works for them.”  Simply stated, “our salespeople don’t prospect. They hang out in the office or at the current customer where they are known.” (I know it hurts, but you have people on your team right now that fit this description).

  1. “Our business is very technical – our salespeople need that technical experience – not everybody can do it (sell it).”

Most all of the successful businesses are technical these days. Some have salespeople (Account Managers) & Sales Support (Engineers or Application Engineers). This makes two key people with direct access to the customer or prospect. Then, there are the businesses with in-house design, project managers, program managers – all with customer interaction. There are not many people in your company that don’t “touch” sales in one way or another. Yes, your business is technical, & you have the technical experience. Question is, are they skilled in communicating with prospects & customers? Can they take off their technical hat & put on a sales hat when needed? Those that can do it are stealth bombers – under the radar. Those that can’t are costing your company money. Lots of it.

  1. “We have lots of competition, lots!”

The funny thing about this, when we hear it, is that most people say it as if it we’re a “bad thing”. It’s a good thing. Unless you are polluting the market (selling for less) you have the opportunity to capitalize on the poor selling skills of your competitors. And they are out there. Think back to the last deal you won based on the errors of your competitor(s). You want competition.

  1. “We’re at the higher end of the pricing structure (our products are high-priced)”

Good. You should be. We’ve just addressed polluting the market with lower pricing. You know how long that strategy lasts. Somebody will always be lower. Kmart found that out. Find better salespeople who are able to qualify opportunities. Who understand value vs. cost. Who are proud of their products. Who are completely comfortable selling in this environment. Remember: Price might be higher, but cost (total value) will be lower. Should not be a foreign concept to anyone on your team.

  1. “We’re not guaranteed the business. We must fight for everything we get. They put us out to bid on all projects.”

That’s the way of the world. It’s called professional selling. Nothing is guaranteed anymore. This requires your sales team to be ultra in-tune with current accounts, prospected accounts & the industry in general. A crazy reality is: Every day you have a piece of business you are one day closer to losing it. If you don’t think your competition is creeping at your door-step you’re fooling yourself. Just like you are creeping at their doorstep (or should be). If you have salespeople who think their relationship with the Account is so strong that they can just “rest on their laurels” & wait for the phone to ring or wait for the email request, find new salespeople. It’s 2018, the rules have changed.

The products are different. The services are different. The people are different. The business itself (relative to sales challenges) same. Always has been. Always will be.