Change If You Can – Sales eXchange – 14248

“If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right.”
Henry Ford

Had the opportunity to speak to two senior people in opposite ends of related market sector, one on the design and production end, the other in the sales/distribution end, not the same product line, but related. While both had similar outlook for the economy in the remainder of 2012, and into 2013.  What was revealing was their interpretation and the course of action each chose dictated by the outlook and more interesting was why their course of action to the same factors was dramatically different.

The design/production executive regularly reviewed the market both with people from his organization, and industry and public sector leaders.  His conclusion was that the way to succeed was to “ride the current wave, and ensure that we don’t anything sudden or rash that may cause us to fall.”

The President of the distribution company very much circulates with leaders, and is committed to “continue to shake things up.  Every time we try something new, and not expected, we seem to win business we normally should not win.”

It will not surprise to know that the latter company is about to complete their strongest Q1 in years, in an industry where Q1 is traditionally slow; while the manufacturer is tracking where they “traditionally” feel they should be.

Needless to say the Distribution executive is facing his biggest challenges internally, between those who see the upside of shaking things up, and those who want to cling to their ways, while this is proving to be a challenge, he is supported by the revenues and the company board.  And as you may expect the design/production leader has a lot of support internally to stay the course, the pressure is coming from the stake holders.

Fortunately, being a sales organization, he has looked at the whole process as a sales campaign, starting with the messaging, down to the execution.  He looks at each sales person as an opportunity, if sold, he continues to drive change and success.  If they prove to be hard to win over, they are “removed from the pipeline, and replaced by good opportunities.  While many have left, the buzz around the company has attracted willing converts, willing to change and grow with leadership.

It has always been true that good sellers are harbingers of change, challenging convention, and challenging the comfort of buyers.  When you step back and look at it from a higher vantage point, successful sales organizations and individuals have been those willing to change rather than just talk about change.  And while individuals can change on their own, it is much more likely and effective when the organization, the leadership, and culture, thrive on change.   It is one thing to talk and lament buyers in status quo, it is another to win by being a role model for change.  Why would I as a potential buyer change for you, when you wont change for yourself?

Next Step

  • Review your process to understand what is working and what is company tradition.
  • Learn how customers view change
  • Quantify the cost of no change in the clients’ language

What’s in Your Pipeline?
Tibor Shanto

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