I find too many sales people, despite the image they may project, are way too conservative in their approach to selling. While this may not be a pronounced issue for those tasked with managing or servicing current accounts, with the only expectation being “organic” growth.
What is organic growth any way, is that like growth we would have gotten even without any help from the account manager, or is the level of growth achieved even with the meddling of account managers? Sounds like we are paying someone for something that would have happened, well, organically. Sorry, back to the issue at hand.
When we focus in on those tasked with finding new clients, new revenue streams, etc., it is striking how few are willing to go the distance to succeed. With few exceptions, in this case exceptions that validate the reality, most sales people tend to not go hard enough, far enough, and broad enough to win all the opportunities they can.
Part of these goes back to the “relationship” mindset many sellers still adhere to. Don’t get me wrong, relationships are important. In fact, so important, that it is naïve to believe that we can have meaningful relationships in the same short timeframes that sales cycles take to unfold.
There has been a lot written about the importance of “getting in early”, whether that is the time to follow up to a download, to reacting to a trigger like say personnel change. Just as there is evidence to suggest that “last man/woman/child standing”, is more likely to succeed. Clearly those who enter the fray early, has a better opportunity to set the agenda, and direction for discovery. Just as it is easy to understand why the rep who manages to extend the engagement long after others give up, is more like to win the deal, and move the dial on the “relationship” front. But there is a lot of opportunity between those two, often overlooked, or more accurately avoided by many.
The refrain is a familiar one, they don’t want to pester the prospect. The assumption there is that prospect know exactly what they want, need, or imagine, and interfering could have negative impacts, “I’ll just be on ‘available’, and ready if the prospect needs anything.” The big flaw in this is that prospects are more confused and overwhelmed than ever, leading to buying cycles that are often twice as long as anticipated, a factor often left out of ROI calculations, if you implement six months later than planned, there are real current and future costs that need to be taken into account.
Couple this with buyers’ reluctance to engage with another smiling beige vanilla seller, more focused on making a friend than a difference to their business, and you have a situation where being confident, assertive and laser focused on delivering impacts, not product, gives you the opportunity to rise above.
I have had more than one executive tell me that they routinely ignore the first three or four approaches by sellers, knowing that most will A) give up too soon; B) wait too long between touch points to be noticed.
We have all had one, but probably both of the following experiences:
- You hold off, you don’t want to “pester them”, and when your manager put enough pressure on you to call, you find they made their decision a few weeks back
- You push beyond your social comfort zone, believing you can truly help a prospect, and you make that extra call, a call many other lesser sellers would call a Hail Mary, only to be warmly received by the buyer, soon to be client.
Look at your own world, and ask how many times you went back to something when prompted by an outside source. I know that when i bought insurance a few years back, I went with the one reps who stayed with me, not on me, but with me, and was present when the time to buy came, all because he erred on the side of more, rather than the side of giving up to soon.
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