Sales is not about convincing people who do not want your service to buy it. Sales is about finding the people who do want your service and letting them buy it.
Odd that this premise is so overlooked in business. I’ve worked with 100’s of small and medium business owners or senior managers who really didn’t get this. And it can be a fatal flaw to a company.
There is a complete misunderstanding of what a salesperson/group/ division is capable of. I’ve worked with owners of multimillion dollar companies, who really think the simple act of hiring a professional sales person means that sales person should now be able to convert most (or at least a decent amount) of prospects by using the magic they have learned throughout their career, no matter how good a fit the service or product is, no matter the position of the product in the marketplace, no matter the branding of the product. In the mind of the less informed, a sales rep can sell anything.
Add to that the natural and common tendency for owners to have a higher regard for their offering than the market itself, as well as the common optimistic early sales projections and outlook communicated by the new sales force, and you have a disaster waiting to happen.
I should note that I have worked with sales people who can sell anything, but they are very rare, and they generally produce much lower customer loyalty. Perhaps these are the salespeople owners are thinking of when their expectations are that a “sales person” can sell anything.
The solution is a well thought out sales and marketing assessment before you go and buy the farm. And this is tricky, because the reality is marketing is primarily responsible for identifying the target market (People who will like your service) finding out how to reach them , and then attracting them to your sales group or funnel.
Yet most companies I have worked with don’t have a budget or an understanding of how these two key disciplines must work together to achieve success. So they put all their dollars in one or the other, or severely under budget one.
So if you buy into this premise, the fundamental success of sales for you company starts with product development. A good sales rep can’t sell a product that is hard to use, or poorly designed. A good sales rep can sell a product that is easy to use, and has a clear advantage for their target market.
So working relentlessly on improving what you sell, will do more for driving sales than anything else you can do.
After that, you must have a marketing machine to get the service in view of the right buyers. Once that is accomplished, sales comes into play. Sales is the last piece of the sales process, following product development and improvement and then marketing.
So if you’re struggling with sales, perhaps where you should be looking for answers is in your product or service offering, or are you asking your salesperson to be both your marketing department and sales department.
By: Mike Bayes