Serious Question, Sales Pros: Would You Buy from You?

May 26, 2020

Might seem like an odd question to ask yourself: Would you buy from you? Pretty odd. Most salespeople will answer (without thinking), “Of course I would.” “Why wouldn’t I?” “Sure would… I’m good… really good.” It’s natural. What salesperson, who makes her living selling, is going to admit that she wouldn’t even buy from herself?

OK, so we’ll attack this from a different angle. If you were being screamingly honest with yourself, in a room by yourself, with nobody listening… would you buy from you? Would you?

Let’s do a quick survey:

  • Would you buy from someone who doesn’t do his homework?
  • Would you buy from someone who talks 80… 90… 100% of the time on sales calls?
  • Would you buy from someone who can’t wait to tell you how great his products & services are?
  • Would you buy from someone who can’t wait to tell you how great she is?
  • Would you buy from someone who doesn’t ask you questions?
  • Would you buy from someone who follows up with you like a stalker?
  • Would you buy from someone who had the audacity to drop his price as soon as you objected?
  • Would you buy from someone who just waited & waited for you to send her an order?
  • Would you buy from someone who took forever to return calls or respond to your emails?
  • Would you buy from someone who isn’t the least bit curious about you & your business?
  • Would you buy from someone who bad-mouths his competition?
  • Would you buy from someone who lacks charisma, passion & desire?
  • Would you buy from someone who shuts off her cell & email at 5 or 6 PM (& on weekends)?
  • Would you buy from someone who doesn’t prospect or hunt for deals on her own?
  • Would you buy from someone who does canned quotes/proposals for everyone that wants one?
  • Would you buy from someone who thinks they are always right & the customer never is?
  • Would you buy from someone who sets meager goals for herself & blames others when she misses them?
  • Would you buy from someone who stays in the office (in normal times) & would rather be there than engaging a prospect or client?
  • Would you buy from someone who thinks working hard means putting in 40 hours per week?
  • Would you buy from someone who disrespects her sales manager?
  • Would you buy from someone who doesn’t have 20 years of experience but 1 year. . . 20 times?
  • Would you buy from someone who spends more time planning her winter vacation than her sales career?

Me neither.

It’s ALL MENTAL!

May 12, 2020

Yogi Berra is known for whacky sayings & quotes that make you say, huh? He had a lot of them. His best? Hands down it has to be, Baseball is 90% mental, & the other half is physical.

What’s so great about that quote? It applies to EVERYTHING! It applies to every sport from baseball to badminton. It applies to every profession from teaching to sales. It simply applies.

Sales leaders & selling professionals know this as well as anyone. In 2020, with products & services being so “technically” proficient, so well made & positioned it’s rarely the “physical thing” that gets you the deal. Think about it: is your product or service that much better than your competitors? If it is, then why is it so hard to sell it? Why don’t you have more market share? Hell, why don’t you have the entire market?

You know why. Because your product or service is not that much better. Are you good? Yes. Is everyone else good? Also, yes. Face it: the crappy companies with the me-too products & services went down the drain in the 2007-2009 mess we had. The companies that survived deserved to survive. They are good! You are competing with worthy companies & they are competing with you. It’s one of the things that makes America great.

So how do you win in this incredibly tight & competitive marketplace? Step one is to believe you can. You have to really internalize & believe in your value & the value or your product or service. My mentor used to say, “The first sale we make is between our own ears.” What he was saying is “Sales is 90% mental, & the other half is physical.” Such a great mind-set.

Need some context? Here goes:

  • When you are feeling pressure to lower your price because your customer “demands” it, what gives you the gumption to stay firm? The 6 inches between your ears.
  • When you are dealing with a lower level (or non-decision maker), what gives you the guts to ask to meet with her manager or boss? Your attitude.
  • When you are up against an incumbent that has had the business for 5 plus years what gives you the “permission” to ask your prospect “How did we get here? You have had ABC Company for 5 plus years. Aren’t you satisfied with them?”  Your mental make-up.
  • When you are about to ask your prospect if they have a budget or target established for this part or project, what gets you through the angst? The 6 inches again.
  • When you have passed the same facility 8 times a week for the past 3 years (that you know buys your products). What makes you stop in this time? Your belief that you should.

When you have been calling on a company for a while, have provided a great solution that you know will work & you are waiting for them to “order it”. What gives you the umph to ask for the order? Mind-set.

If these examples don’t prove that the sales game is 90% mental, come up with a few hundred more on your own. You don’t have to think long & hard to come up with some. It happens every day. The 6 inches between the ears has broken more salespeople than Yogi Berra has quotes. It will continue to do so until the mental is mastered. Believe you can.

Charisma! A Great Quality To Have

Apr 28, 2020

 

Have you ever missed out on a deal because you had too much charisma? Doubt it

A better question would be, have you ever missed out on one because you lacked charisma? Much more likely.

What is Charisma?

Charisma is the ability to influence others positively by connecting with them physically, emotionally or intellectually.  It’s a compelling attractiveness (not necessarily physical attractiveness) or charm that can inspire devotion in people. It can be revealed only during interaction with others.

Does everybody have Charisma?

Yes, everybody you have ever met has Charisma.  Some say we are born with or without it – not!  We all have it. It’s not “wired” the same way in you as it is in another person – but we all have it.

7 Components of Charisma

  1. Your Silent Message

You “tell” people about yourself before you open your mouth. This is your “silent message”.  It’s the way you carry yourself – physically, emotionally & intellectually. This is also called your “posture” (not the way you stand) the way you carry yourself. You’ve seen 2 people enter a room & you form an opinion about each of them before they even say 1 word. Silent message – work on it – it’s critical.

  1. Your Ability to Speak Well

You may have the greatest idea in the world, but who will know it if you can’t articulate it well? Pay attention to how you speak – work on it daily. Have you ever heard a person absolutely BOMB a joke because they can’t articulate well? Enough said. Listen to great comedians. Their power comes from timing – which is related to their ability to pause. It’s all about the beautifully placed pause.

  1. Your Listening Skills

Listening skills are almost never taught. Listening is such an important key to communicating & making others feel special around you. Take a deep breath, pause, count to three & learn to shut up!

  1. Your Persuasive Talent

Your ability to motivate others to follow your lead & adopt your idea. No idea (however great it is) ever gets anywhere until it’s adopted. Be cool – nobody wants to “know” they are being persuaded. We’ll call it a gentle nudge. Remember, it’s OK to suggest that people come to “your side” – gently nudge them – not hard sell.

  1. Your Use of Space & Time

How you honor or violate another person’s personal space & time will have a direct effect on the amount of trust or miss-trust between the two of you. First off, don’t be late, ever. It’s rude. Next, not too close, not too far. In our part of the world – under normal circumstances –  18” to 2 feet is ideal.

  1. Your Ability to Adapt to Others

People (& prospects) get whatever personalities they want. If it’s important enough to you then you will need to treat others the way they want to be treated. Pay attention to what they do, say, mirror & match them & do it right – otherwise it looks contrived. Do you treat the maintenance person any different than you do the CEO? Charismatic people don’t.

  1. Your Vision, Your Ideas

What do you feel passionately about? What do you really, really care about? What do you love? You will never help anyone change their minds or ideas & take action if you don’t feel strongly about it yourself. It’s OK to have a position, a stance. No need to preach it everywhere you go, but charismatic people have a vision.

It’s one of the best qualities a person can possess – let alone a salesperson. Work on it.

Sales: What They Don’t Teach You in School

Apr 14, 2020

You’ve heard of the “school of hard knocks”: The (sometimes painful) education you get from life’s usually negative experiences, often contrasted with formal education. It’s reality. It’s when your mom & dad used to say, “Welcome to the real world.”

There are few professions other than sales that experience this “school” every single day – & now it’s in HD! Sales is different. It’s an art. It’s about people. People have personalities. People are different. Most salespeople get these lessons over their careers. They sometimes come at a huge cost (time, energy & money combined). Let’s shorten your learning curve & come to the hard realization that the following 10 statements are 100% true. Realize it fast.

Ten Things about Sales they don’t Teach you in School:

  1. You don’t punch a clock in sales.
    The great ones make it a life-style & are “always on”. Evenings, weekends, holidays, etc.
  1. It’s lonely out there.
    If you are a commissioned salesperson nobody will care that your prospect “said they would buy” or “is getting ready to buy”. Your boss does not care that you are sick (& that does not make her a jerk). We are measured by results. Closed sales. Period. 
  1. Sales is NO PLACE to get your needs met.
    If you are looking for friends join the Peace Corps or a bowling league.
  1. You fail more often than you succeed.
    Repeat: You will fail more often than you succeed. If you are working, prospecting, hunting for opportunities more people will tell you NO than tell you YES. Get used to it.
  1. When someone says they want to “think it over” they really mean NO.
    “Think it over” does not mean YES. You can’t cash a “think it over”. If you trust people that say they want to “think it over” you will have skinny kids. 
  1. If you are not comfortable talking about money you will starve.
    Your job is to sell products/services at profitable margins. This requires discussions about their money & where it will come from.
  1. Your colleagues in other departments think you have the life (& will begrudge you).
    They may not tell you, but they do. When you are out of the office people naturally think you are screwing off. It’s not true (unless it is)You will never convince them otherwise. Stop trying.
  1. It’s OK to be competitive & want money.
    If “for the money” is not in your top 2 reasons to be in sales get another job.
  1. If you don’t see yourself “worthy” in front of high level decision makers you are in trouble.
    High level decision makers are important. They make things happen. They are busy. They don’t have time for “social calls” or “idle chit-chat”. Stop talking to Carl, the clerk – he can’t make a decision to save his life!
  1. If you are not completely comfortable with the word NO you will struggle – seriously struggle.
    Back up to #4. You won’t go 10 for 10 every month in sales. This rejection kills some salespeople. I have seen some incredibly intelligent people drop out of selling careers because they could not stand to be told NO.

Don’t take 5 or 10 or 20 years to learn these lessons. Learn them now, get over it & move on. Despite what they don’t teach you in school sales is still the coolest profession in the world!

 

If I Could Be Gutsier in Sales!

Mar 31, 2020

Spend a few decades training & coaching salespeople & you see patterns develop. One that rings loudly is the tendency for some to take the easy way out, to not go for it. As a mentor of mine used to say, to Wimp Out.

With that in mind let’s talk a little about guts. A fair question to ask sales pros is, “If you could be gutsier in sales what would you do?” Guts is a strong word. We’re not talking cliff-diving amounts of guts. We’re not even coming close to the amount of guts it takes to serve our country in battle. We’re talking about stepping out of your comfort zone for a few seconds & asking a question. We’re talking about doing something that helps you stay in control of the sales process because you have rights.

A favorite comparison takes me back to the 1990 Detroit Pistons. Coached by Chuck Daly, the Pistons had a great team. Who can forget one of the best defenders & rebounders in the league at the time – Dennis Rodman (say what you will about him now… he was a really good player). 

Daly was one of very few people who could actually get through to Rodman – to rein him in. They had grand respect for each other & it showed. Daly would pull Rodman aside from time-to-time &, as only a great coach can do, get through to Rodman. He’d say, “I need you to play defense today, Dennis. But I don’t need you to play 48 minutes of defense (that would kill anybody). Can you give me 5 seconds of defense at a time? That’s it, Dennis. 5 seconds at a time. You do that & we will do well today.”

That’s what basketball is – 5 seconds of defense at a time. Sales is no different. Sales isn’t an hour & a half of guts. That’s hard sell. That’s obnoxious. Sales is 5 seconds of guts at a time. 5 seconds of stepping out of your comfort zone to ask a tough question or more importantly NOT ANSWER a question that could kill you. And you can do it.

Let’s identify some common occurrences where 5 seconds of guts would do your selling some good:

  • Asking how decisions are made & who is involved
  • Not answering the price question right away (when you do, it’s over)
  • Asking if there is a budget (or target) pricing established for this project
  • Not being quick to educate your prospect with feature & benefit knowledge until they are fully qualified
  • Asking why you are talking (knowing they have a long relationship with their incumbent – your competitor)
  • Not being quick to send a quote just because they want one
  • Asking for a referral or introduction
  • Not sending information, specs, documents, product samples when they say, “we’re interested…”
  • Asking your prospect how much their problem is costing them (or will cost them) if not fixed
  • Not keeping your head on a swivel & paying attention to your surroundings (AKA: every time we quote we miss out, but at least “We’re close…). Who cares about close?
  • Asking your contact (Carl) how we can get an audience with his boss without feeling like you are going over his head

If ever you have gotten that feeling in your large intestine when any of these items pop up, you are not alone.

Question is: What are you prepared to do about it?

 

Hope is Not a Strategy for Selling (& Neither is Luck)

Mar 17, 2020

What a great day! For this lad that hails from the Isle of Man (great, great grandparents on dad’s side) it sure is fun.

Until the millennium, St. Patrick’s Day was never a big deal in Ireland. The whole fuss surrounding today was invented by ex-patriots around the world looking for an excuse to celebrate their Irish roots, not that there is anything wrong with that! So, today, we’re all Irish. Even with this crazy virus . . . we’ll all have the luck of the Irish today.

Once we get through this (& we will), it’s business as usual.

As soon as that happens, it’s back to Salespeople hoping to close more sales. Hoping she calls back, Hoping he replies to the email. Hoping the competition quoted too high. Hoping the buyer sends the P.O.

Too much hope. Not enough luck.

If you’ve been in sales for at least a week you know that hope is not a strategy for selling. You don’t “hope” yourself into success. Sure, you may get lucky. You may have a deal fall in your lap. Try explaining that as your sales growth strategy to your VP of Sales. “So, what will happen is… we’ll just get lucky again. And then again. It’ll be great!”

Hope is no strategy & there is not enough luck in the world for anyone to hit their sales goals this year. So, let this be today’s attempt at suggesting you follow a system for selling – a process. Your production department has a process. Shipping has a process. Accounting has a process. HR has a process. So why not sales?

We love the Sales Coaches’ Corner selling process. It doesn’t matter what process you follow – as long as you commit to it, stick to it, trust it & never veer from it. Your sales process should become a discipline that eventually turns into “muscle memory” for you.

Here’s a process for you:

Step 1. Identify an opportunity

We don’t take this step lightly (it’s the hardest step). AKA: Prospecting. Stop prospecting & see how far you get this year. Or, just hope for your phone to ring.

Step 2. Qualify the Opportunity & Get to Reality Quickly

Remember, this does not mean “they buy what we sell, so they are qualified”. This means qualify them for the reasons they will buy from you.

  1. No PAIN = No Sale. You know what PAIN is – question is: Have you ever uncovered it while qualifying a prospect (or current customer)? Ask: The 9 Knock-Out Questions (hit me up for them).
  2. THE MONEY CONVERSATION. No Money = No Sale. Your products & services cost money. You know that a discussion ahead of time about how much it costs &/or their expectation of how much they will pay benefits you greatly. Then why do you often not bring it up, hope they don’t bring it up & hope they ignore the number on the bottom line & just buy from you? Ask: What kind of budget has been set aside for this? Or What are you planning on spending for this?
  3. THE DECISION MAKING PROCESS.  No understanding of the Decision Maker(s) = No Sale. You know there is always a certain person (or people) who make the decision to buy what you sell. Ask: When it comes to decisions like this, how does it work here, & who is involved? Or, hope she’s the right one…

Step 3. Manage Expectations

Selling is nothing more than understanding what happens next – throughout the entire selling process. Get comfortable being the “quarterback” & setting the expectations. This is where you take subtle control. Not over-the-top control – subtle. Nobody likes to be controlled (at least not the people you sell to).

Step 4. Present, Propose, Quote (or do whatever it is you do to show your solution)

This step is what most salespeople know & love (product knowledge, technical talk, features, benefits, etc.). It is almost ALWAYS done to soon – especially if you are not using a selling process. Good news is: You do get to present, propose & quote as long as you have set crystal clear expectations & the opportunity is qualified (for PAIN, Money & Decision) prospect. Not before.

It’s easy to hope. It’s fun to get lucky. It’s hard to follow a process. So, you pick. Is HOPE going to be your strategy this year? Feeling lucky, enough? Well, are ya?

 

5 Times You are Acting too Nice in sales (adding NO VALUE)

Mar 3, 2020

Who wasn’t raised to “Be nice to people?” Growing up, how many times did you hear, “Don’t do that, you be nice to your brother or sister?” Your mom or dad often said, “That’s not nice, say you’re sorry.” That’s just good rearing. The kind of advice that you’d get in any parenting book.

So, when you got into the sales profession, there’s a good chance your mom or dad stayed with you (right on your shoulder) whispering to you, “Be nice, your prospect has feelings too.” And you did. And you do. You go on with your daily sales grind with the “Be nice to people mantra” ringing loudly in your ear. And it works. You’re nice. Most people would say you’re one of the nicest guys they know. “Yeah, Ryan, he’s a great guy. One hell of a guy.”

Ok, so have you ever wondered why you are getting out-sold?

Why is it that the “great guy” isn’t winning all of the deals? How can that other guy get the deal… I’m a lot nicer than he is?” We’ve got news for you (& it’s not even news – it’s been a fact for thousands of years). Nice guys finish last.

Hold on. Don’t take it literally. Clearly there are plenty of nice guys that aren’t always coming in last place. You understand the cliché. You also agree with it. You are living the cliché.

Let’s clarify. When we say, “too nice” we mean “overly nice, overly friendly”. Think of the constantly up-beat guy, ridiculously positive & over-the-top with his willingness to accommodate. The gal that continuously says YES, smiles incessantly (uncomfortably so) & drips with benevolence.

Great qualities for a Wall Mart greeter. Fine attributes for your 8-year old child’s summer camp counselor. But for a salesperson – not so much. Why do salespeople feel the need to go out of their way to be too nice & overly-accommodating to prospects & customers? It’s their nature. They think it’s helping their cause. NOT!

This does not suggest that salespeople should be mean, rude or obnoxious (as if we even have to mention that). In no way are we suggesting you be disrespectful (ever). It is only to suggest that when you go out of your way to accommodate, answer questions, help, be nice, etc. you give your prospects the power (& make your job harder). You put your customers on a pedestal that they don’t really belong on (& it’s tough to get them off of it).

In 2018 our prospects & customers have to see us on their level. They need to know that we can help them get where they want to go. This is next to impossible to do if we are in “awe” of them – if they are on that pedestal.

5 Times You are Acting too Nice in sales (adding NO VALUE):

  1. You find yourself saying YES a lot. There is no value to anyone when you are yessing them all the time. Tame it down.
  2. You say GREAT or AWESOME or PERFECT a lot more than you do in “real life”. Seriously? Nothing is that great, awesome or perfect – ever.
  3. You constantly respond with THANK YOU. My mother taught me that a THANK YOU was never inappropriate too. But not all the time. It’s too much too often.
  4. You smile too much & get excited on sales appointments. C’mon. Act like you’ve been there.
  5. You apologize too often (way more often than at home). When you over-apologize you weaken your position. Fact of life.

Sales is a tough gig. There’s no need to make it harder by giving your prospect all the power. The trick is to let them think they have all the power, but you maintain subtle control – that’s the art of this profession. But don’t do it by being way too nice (or pandering).  Do it by asking good questions. Do it by being the expert that you are. Do it by professionally selling.

Professional salespeople ask tough questions in a nurturing manner. Rarely (if ever) do they have a smile on their face when they are asking a tough question. Your prospects problems are nothing to smile or laugh at. It’s a discipline (&, yes, sometimes it’s an act) to stay focused & listen. Be on their level. Be there with them.

Act like you’ve been there.

 

Get to Reality Quickly!

Feb 18, 2020

In sales there is no better advice than to get on with it (or get off of it) as soon as possible.

How much time do you spend on opportunities that never pan out? How much time & how many brain cells get toasted spent hoping a deal comes through. How many real opportunities get passed by because of the time, money & emotion you have invested in your pipeline? C’Mon we all know there is no HOPE! Besides, hope a brutal strategy for selling.

You have got to get to reality quickly in this business. Plain & simple. Make it a point to qualify & disqualify with cat-like quickness to stay relevant & be successful in sales. Sometimes it hurts.

Hurts? The very fact that an opportunity is “dis-qualified” rubs many salespeople wrong. “You mean to tell me they don’t want what I have? That’s preposterous! I’ll show them. And what happens? Joe salesperson shows them, that’s what. Proposals, quotes, testimonies, education, trials, demos, literature, blah, blah, blah!

  1. HUGE WASTE OF TIME (if they are not qualified).
  2. GIGANTIC MISS-USE OF RESOURCES (if there is no fit)
  3. INCREDIBLE CASE OF LOOKING BUSY WITHOUT GETTING ANYTHING DONE (if they will never buy from you)

All because one of the simplest concepts in life (let alone sales) is not being followed. GET TO REALITY QUICKLY!  How many of you would stalk a guy or gal that clearly was not interested in you? Would you call them every day, camp out on their door-step, refuse to take NO for an answer? Of course not! We have a word for those people – – STALKER!

Why, then, do you feel the need to act the stalker in your business life? I know it hurts. Get over it.

The moment you start getting to reality quickly with your prospects is the moment you begin to take control of your sales opportunities – & it feels great.

How?

  1. Pay Attention & Be disciplined: In hockey they call it “head on a swivel”. Until you know better it’s OK to play defensively. Lean on history & be honest with yourself. What usually happens when this happens? The last 10 times we did this… that happened… Seriously, if they have an 8-year relationship with their incumbent supplier what are the chances they will switch to you?
  2. Get comfortable with decisions. NO happens to be a perfectly good one.
  3. Set strong Ground Rules: Expectations between you & them as to what will happen. This holds true throughout the entire sales cycle. A great rule of thumb: Don’t do anything unless & until you know what’s happening next.
  4. Ask all of the qualifying questions (to uncover the three qualifiers):
    • The Problem (PAIN). Stop pitching features & benefits & start talking in terms of your prospect’s problems. Find out how bad life is without you. Learn what kind of trouble they are in. They hurt – you just need to find out where & how badly
    • The Budget or Money Conversation. Ask if there is money available to pay for your solution. If you are replacing an incumbent supplier, ask how much they currently pay. If it’s a new project, ask if there is a target price established. They may not tell you, but you have to ask.
    • The Decision making Process (who, who else & how). Ready? Can you tell me how you make decisions like this & who is involved? The decision making piece is a two-parter. Who (& who else) as well as how. 

You want to get to reality quickly in sales? That’s how you do it.  It isn’t easy. Your production department, your accounting department & your HR staff may think that it’s easy. But if it’s that easy why aren’t they in sales?

How’s that for a reality check?

 

Canned Sales Pitches are so 1980’s

Feb 4, 2020

Image result for al bundy shoe salesman

It’s 2020. In sales, if you are not THE BEST thing your clients & prospects have ever seen then why do they need you? Truth is, they don’t. There is not a person with any buying power, decision making responsibility or authority that needs another “salesperson” in their life. Yet, some salespeople still think they are in the business of “pitching”.

Pitching went out with Al Bundy on Married With Children. Sorry youngsters, he’s the stereotypical obnoxious, narcissistic, fast-talking, over-promising & under-delivering turkey of a salesperson. He’s the guy that makes it hard for the rest of us to make a living in this profession. Ever hear someone say, “I hate salespeople!”?  It’s Al’s fault.

Selling (& fashion) has changed a lot since the ‘80s. For some people.

Facts are:

  • Fact is: The majority of the people you call on already know “their problem” before you get there. Stop telling people what’s wrong & what you will do about it (how you will “fix them”). Spend more time building the relationship & helping them see what problems are coming around the corner. Canned pitches don’t help you here.
  • Fact is: Most of the people you call on already know about your company before you get there. There’s information available (despite what Larry the Cable Guy says, that interweb ain’t no fad) & these people get it. Stop telling prospects about you & what you can do. If you take nothing else from this blog STOP MAKING IT ABOUT YOU. Make it about them. How will you make their life easier? Canned pitches are all about you.
  • Fact is: You have competition. You don’t have to like it, but you do have to understand & deal with it. How many times have you gone in & educated your prospect enough to buy from your competitor (with your idea)? There is no worse feeling in sales. Canned pitches do a great job of educating.
  • Fact is: Your prospects know they have to do something. They need a solution. They DO NOT WANT to be pitched & “sold a bill of goods”. But they do want to buy. Help them buy from you. Enable them. Walk them through the process & manage expectations the entire way. It’s called professional selling. Canned pitches scream of “selling a bill of goods”.

Need a few more reasons to ditch the canned pitch:

  • When you pitch you make it all about the wrong person… you.
  • When you pitch you talk. When you talk you run the risk of saying the wrong thing.
  • When you pitch you don’t ask questions.
  • When you pitch you don’t build credibility.
  • When you pitch you don’t position yourself as a partner.
  • When you pitch you don’t learn.
  • When you pitch you are boring!
  • When you pitch you reduce yourself & your product to a commodity.
  • When you pitch you tell the prospect they are just like everybody else & your solution is just like everybody else’s.

Where’s the value there?

 

How was 2019? You Only Have Yourself to Thank . . . or Blame

Jan 21, 2020

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 ‘19 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 you can shake a stick (as grandpa used to say).

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.