Business Development Rants and Resources

Calling at Your Comfort Level

A risk sales people often make is calling at their comfort level. This means they make sales calls to people they like, people they think like them or people they are not intimidated by. These buyers are often the Relationship Buyers or Coaches in your strategic sale. Because of their personalities, these people are often in middle management and not in decision making capacities. In order to be successful, sales people have to step out of their comfort zone and reach decision makers. The decision makers may not always have personalities the sales person finds easy to relate to.

Chicago is a huge sports town. I see sales people start a call talking about sports all the time. Theyll talk about whatever is in the media today, what team is hot, or what scandal is taking place. We’ll leave the call and the sales person will have the impression thatthey had a really successful call. The truth is they may or may not have built a connection with the prospect. More often than not they have not built a connection at all. If the sales person was not skilled and kept the conversation at sports they will not have learned anything about the buying process, the goals and objectives, the individual buyers personal agenda. All they learned was how that person felt about changing the name of Wrigley field. This information isn’t so helpul when youre trying to sell your product or service.Some ways for sales people to over come this type of call reluctance and to call outside their comfort zone are to read and be aware of whats going on in the world, not just whats interesting to them.

Learn how to hold a conversation on topics theyre interested in. Stretch. Understand how to create a conversation that is interesting to the listerner. Have an agenda before each meeting of what it is youd like to learn. Make sure you leave the meeting with an outline of next steps.Be careful not to get stuck calling at your comfort level.Broaden your comfort level and you’ll be able to call on any buyer at any time.

May 9, 2012 Posted by | Business Building | , , | Leave a comment

Pitfalls for Entrepreneurs Part II

“What on earth is he DOING?” is no longer my question, (from the first article) because I have had the opportunity, through one or two subsequent meetings, to figure it out: My friend (were still calling him Kevin) doesnt have a clue about selling.

Now I am not here to make fun of him for that. At the end of the day, it is a skill that is lacking to some degree – sometimes totally – by almost everyone who runs a business. And I’ll raise my hand here too. So whatKevin does is continually expand his product offerings.

I guess I’d liken it to the old days where the soldiers would storm the castle in an attempt to penetrate and overcome the enemy. Imagine 100 troops rushing the castle wall and putting their shoulders into it trying to knock down the wall. A good commander would call them back and say “Boys, that isnt going to work. Bring up the cannons.” Then they would proceed to blow holes into the wall and rush in. Kevin is the kind of commander that says “Boys, keep at it. Im sending another hundred guys to help you push.”

Ever hear the expression If all you have is a hammer, every problem is a nail? Well allKevin has is another hundred guys, and maybe another hundred after them. He doesn’t have a cannon, so he solves his problems using the tool he has. In this case the tool is his big brain and willingness to do hard work. It is easy for him to come up with other ideas and set them out there for people. But he doesnt know how to blow any holes in walls. In fact, he took me through a lengthy presentation he was going to make to what could be a significant new customer – if he could do some selling.  He goes on and on about not only the product he is trying to sell, but all ancillary offerings that his company has, almost straining to somehow get that in. In the meantime, I am the customer, saying. “Why do I care about this. Why SHOULD I care? Where are we going with this?”

The presentation should have been heavily customer focused, shortened, and broken up into bitesized chunks that allowed for better focus. (kind of like this blog article) There probably should have been an outline in the front. And before that, some reference to the problem or challenge that the customer has expressed that he has and a direct statement about what he was offering to address that challenge. But let’s stop there because we are getting into sales training and that is a whole other topic.

The bottom line here is that if you are an entrepreneur that has an offering that you KNOW can and should be more successful in the market, think twice before looking to increase sales revenue with another offering and then another. Yes, there are some legitimate reasons for that sometimes, but we all must question whether we should be spending our resources getting ahold of a cannon and breaching the wall in the way that a good commander would.

May 9, 2012 Posted by | Business Building | Leave a comment