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If You Are a Sales Manager, You Will Recognise This Scenario and The “Only For You” Benefit.
There’s a pile of great reasons your sales team will benefit from receiving The Weekly Sales Beast, but there is also an intrinsyc benefit for you as the sales manager, beyond the obvious. Each year, when you sit down for your annual review, the boss and perhaps an HR person will review your performance framework and agreed goals from the past year.
I’ll bet a gallon of gas one of those goals ties to a corporate mission position of “growing and building our people’s abilities and skills”, yes? Of course yes…skills development is the cornerstone of every successful company. This year when the boss asks, “So Madaline, when we last met, you set out a goal of; fostering the continual professional development of your team. So share with me, how have you achieved that?”.
Now you can replace your standard awkward answer about how you coach as much as you can given your workload followed by how expensive hired training is not budget-able, limited resources yadda yadda and say this: “As you are infinitely aware boss, our economical options for continuous educational development in the sales dynamic are quite limited, I have, however, managed to implement a weekly inspirational coaching platform founded on a singular weekly lesson format delivered through a humour story as told by a respected seasoned road warrior. My people love starting the week this way and the lessons expand into our group meetings and beyond. It’s awesome, economical and we don’t need to bring everyone in from the territories to accomplish it.”
You can now choose to either drop the mic or simply sit with a cheshire smile on your face.
Also a small, but related sidebar. Virtually every client I have has launched programs that fizzle out for any number of reasons and bosses get gun shy about making new program announcements because if it doesn’t get done, the pushback is embarrassing. We have never missed a Monday (unless it’s a holiday, then it’s Tuesday) EVER.
First, Think Investment…Not Cost.
What You Get for $312.00 USD per person:
What You Don’t Get:
Are You and/or Your Salespeople Worth a Professional Development Investment of $1.95? That’s Right, One Dollar and Ninety-five Cents, Per Week!
You Might Be Saying:
“Doug, I’ve run the math and this is so ludicrously inexpensive I need to get to the sign up page”!
The Complex Science of Simplicity
How Our Stories are Designed to Teach and Resonate.
You already know that stories have been histories primary teaching tool since the beginning of civilization. We’ve studied the effective qualities of those powerful attributes and incorporated them into our unique sales skills reinforcement program.
Stories have come back into the cultural lexicon as leaders recognize the power and effectiveness of well crafted knowledge.
Ask yourself these quick questions
Surely you are thinking, “Ok Doug, it’s all so obvious. Of course the whole idea of setting my people up at the beginning of every week to THINK SELLING is going to have a positive and incremental impact. Exactly where do I sign up to subscribe”?
Selling is a deliberate path, which ought to lead to positive predictable outcomes. If we’ve done our jobs correctly, there should be a natural conclusion for a favorable agreement. Yet sometimes logic can be defied.
Salespeople, who travel, often cluster up in hotel lobbies at days end and chat amongst themselves, sociable animals that we are. Quite often we end up regaling each other with the wins and losses of our trade. This particular night in Dallas, the talk turned to things that submarine what would other wise be considered a solid deal. Oddities of loss, which defy logic.
Few people can claim to render their sales pitches down to the Nuts and Bolts of it, quite as well as Terry Harpen, who in a very cool twist of fate, actually sells Nuts and Bolts. Terry unfortunately got snookered on a piece of business he’d worked diligently for some time. Admittedly there is not a lot of complexity in Terry’s business, nuts and bolts come in standard sizes, materials, volumes and pack sizes. Not much differentiates his product from his competitors’ product, so much of his approach is relationship building and servicing his customers well.
No one expected the Nut and Bolt guy to contribute too much that evening let alone launch a stunning lesson for us. And truthfully, part of this sales ritual of sharing, is so that we can all tell the poor sap where he or she went wrong, making us look smarter than the average bear.
But there was nothing about Terry’s story that had given rise to any glaring errors. It seemed to all of us listening that our compadre should have gotten the business. “I followed up with the purchasing lead fully expecting to move to the next level of securing new vendor paperwork and ultimately getting a PO.” Terry said and we all nodded in agreement, however what he heard was “Sorry Terry, we are going with Dakota, but thanks for everything you’ve done and I appreciate your professionalism”.
Now we all know that buyers are reluctant to offer the tangible reasons for going with a competitor, primarily for fear you will translate it into an objection and try to overcome it and that would just lead to an awkward conversation. Most times, once a decision is made, it’s made. “I asked him to help me out and share what the tipping point was”. You could see that he was baffled even while he related this experience, but after a little nudging I suppose the customer felt he deserved the answer, “It may seem a little small Terry, but your product is just too shiny.” his customer shared with not even a hint of weirdness.
As far as objections are concerned, this was a new one for Terry. Gracious in defeat, he decided to do some poking around and discovered something. During the process, while Terry was going through the front door, his competitor was going through the back door. The Dakota rep had causally connected with the plant foreman and a couple of the assembly guys and had asked for their honest input on his company’s nuts and bolts. He was told straight out that they have no decision making power which he completely understood. But this wiley competitor knew that what they lacked in decision-making
SAMPLE SEGMENT 9
Lurking in the Shadows, The NonDecision Maker.
2 power they made up for with decision killing power.
Comparing both his rather dull product against Terry’s rather shiny product may have been perceived as a disadvantage from a pure aesthetics point of view, until his competitor postured the shininess as a possible safety issue; “It may seem like a small thing, but as you can see we dulled the finish on our product to reduce sunlight bounce. It doesn’t happen often but every once in a while those highly polished pieces will reflect a catch of sunlight and temporarily blind a worker … a worker with a pneumatic tool in his hand. It’s probably nothing, but for us, worker safety is important”. And after a few moments with the non-decision makers, he thanked them for their time and quietly snuck out, having firmly implanted two things; he cares about them, and shiny equals bad.
Terry’s competitor was brilliant and we all wished inside he were there so we could high-five him. We all agreed that “Shiny” was a stretch, but loved how he had postured an alliance with non-decision makers. He knew there was a better than good chance the buyer would stroll by the plant office and casually ask for input and in a four second conversation which went “Yeah, too shiny … sunlight bounce back … safety issue”. It was all over for Terry.
There are always people on the peripheral of your selling vortex that can knock the wind out of your sails in the time it takes to fill their cup at the water cooler. In today’s selling world there is an invisible ring of influence around every decision and we need to connect not only the solid black lines but the grayish dotted lines as well. Eliminating the potential of a future kibosh by subtle inclusions will pay dividends down the road.
As I think back to logical sales that never happened in my life, I wish I’d spent a little more time cultivating those who could have become a water cooler champion.
Touch everyone who contributes to the decision
Sample segment intended for informational review only. All segments are copyright © 2020 Douglas Martin and WSB Corporate Learning Initiative
Eleven years ago, Glenn Ferguson turned a management re-alignment pink slip into his opportunity to start a business in the light-manufacturing field. His philosophy was simply; build better quality products, build the company slowly and methodically on service. When I met Glenn in his second year, the formula had worked well enough to hire his first sales person and he was nervous because it had been him and his reputation that had built the company so far. He knew he had to do the expansion but wanted me to sit in the interview to ensure his top pick of applicants was the right person.
Gina Kelsey was top notch in every way and frankly, it was an easy decision. She settled into the small group and began the task of being the first to represent Ferguson Industries without the name Ferguson above the title Sales Representative.
Over time Gina welcomed in 7 more salespeople into the fold, coaching them and making entry into the company easy for the newbies. Although she was viewed as the defacto leader, they were all highly competitive equals, each possessing that success gene that drives all salespeople to want the top performance spot. Gina got the honors in two of the years where keeping score actually counted. With a settled sales force for the last couple of years, the competition was more meaningful and everyone strived to ring the bell.
Gina swung her head around the opening of Glenn’s door in an excited fever and he knew something was up and quickly ended the call he was on. “Sorry Boss” she said, referring to the interruption, but it was obvious she wasn’t the least bit sorry, “You aren’t going to believe who just called”. There was little chance that Glenn was going to guess at anything so when the pause was long enough for the dramatic effect Gina was going for, she uttered the single word that would put Ferguson’s into DefCom4 for the next three months. “Solomon’s”.
Glenn had had a crush on Solomon’s since the day they opened. And by crush, I mean he had dreamed of doing business with this goliath pretty much every waking moment for the past eleven years. It wasn’t just the substantial increase in volume, which he conservatively estimated would be some 30%, it was the ability to boast in the market that he had the top company in his fold of clients. Surely, simply having an account like Solomon’s would attract other business his way, in fact he was certain of it.
Determined to not let this opportunity slip by, Glenn and Gina dedicated every ounce of energy, intellect and gumption into winning this business. Gina worked the client side like the pro she is, Glenn noodled the impact and devised a growth strategy so they would be able to handle the business. Everything from building an addition to the plant, increased shop personnel, infrastructure and even meetings with the bank to ensure the cash flow would be in place were done in anticipation of winning Solomon’s. Meanwhile Gina had brought them over for a plant tour, and worked tirelessly on forging an accurate needs analysis as she worked toward formalizing a proposal that would change the course of her company forever.
SAMPLE SEGMENT 2
Sales Loser of The Year.
2 Solomon’s didn’t become Solomon’s from buying Pigs in Pokes and so proposals were met with counter proposals and concessions were sought and many agreed to during the negotiation “back and forths”, which commonly come from these endeavors. Although arduous, the feeling at Ferguson’s was that the end was coming and a deal would be made with them. So Gina mustered a little more energy and sat at her desk, flirting with one more bite of cold pizza, as she went through the final round of concessions and numbers, no doubt thinking she was on the precipice of a great deal, not to mention shoe-in for top sales honors of the year. And then it all washed over her.
She picked up the phone, looked outside into the darkness of the night as it rang and waited for Glenn to pick up. “Glenn, we’ve got a problem.” Her exhausted voice began, “Can you come down”?
Glenn showed up and Gina had the paperwork spread across the meeting room table. “We’re 2% away from a deal” she began, “but Glenn, with all the small issues we’ve given in on and our base pricing concessions, we’re already 8% below what we said was our bottom was. With everything at stake on capitol investments and increased inventory, are we just so invested in getting this deal, we aren’t looking at if it’s a good deal”? Glenn had been fighting off the nagging feeling he’d had about this process and the outcomes he’d been looking at for the past few weeks, trying to make himself believe that there would be hidden benefits to taking this deal. Now the bricks fell upon his head. Gina was right, and he knew she was right.
The next morning Ferguson’s excused themselves from the competition. Having invested so much time into this sale, Gina had no chance of garnering the top accolades at the annual business wrapup meeting. This year she would be the winner of the losers.
Don’t let a client, crush your business.
The samples provided are intended to give a representation of the style and presentation of the learning points that comprise The Weekly Sales Beast Program. Their use is for the determination of the potential effectiveness this program would have on either yourself or your company sales force.
Since my wife has been out of town on business for, hmmm let’s see now, well almost three years, cooking dinners has not been much of a priority. Just kidding, it’s been three months, but it seems like longer. Anyway, today I cooked a real meal and when it came time to slice the roast, it naturally reminded me of my client in San Francisco.
It’s been a sporadic but interesting journey with this growing collective of geniuses and even more so as I’ve been able to watch them transition from an invincible group of new kids on the block who, even when they made mistakes, their Angel Investors high fived them, into a real company, with real company problems, and not so high-fivie funders.
They were now at the implementation stage of their next-phase plan; market growth. And it was time to enter the New York market, which, unlike other markets they conquered, came with one different teensy-tiny problem by the name of competitor sales legend T. Chance Carmichael. “TC” owned the New York market.
Because this was such an ominous but unique problem, the CEO called a group huddle to discuss strategy. I don’t know why they call a meeting a huddle, but they do. Fortunately my rate for attending huddles is 15% more than attending meetings. Two schools of thought emerged. Snatch TC from his current employer at any price, which has the extra benefit of leaving the competition scrambling or hire a sales person who could take him on. They decided to do both, well kind of.
We formed a little team of two internal executives along with a psychologist and myself to both approach TC and to interview a few sacrificial candidates. With marching orders in place, we approached TC for a huddle and after explaining that that was a meeting set up an early morning rendezvous for the following week. We then scrambled to fill the rest of the day with suitable interviews but it was clear from our internal people that it would be a mere formality. They wanted TC.
Alexandria Knight was scheduled for 10:30 that same morning but snookered TC by texting the day before and convincing us to see her at 7 A.M. as a client of hers un-expectantly needed her attention for the day. Her closing line was “I’m hopeful such an energetic organization begins their day when birds are getting worms”. Who could say no.
From the time she fractured my pinkie with her handshake until the time she bid us ado, Alex was an engaging professional. This would be no ordinary talk; Alex had come prepared with a complete market analysis that included, not in an overly disparaging manner, that TC wasn’t all that and a bag of chips. She emanated a genuine motivated confidence.
Our psychologist, who up to this point had collectively uttered less than fifteen words, cleared his throat and asked the most ridiculous question I ever heard. “Alex, I’m curious,” he said, “What is your most prized possession, and why”?
SAMPLE SEGMENT 5
2 Alex didn’t miss a beat, “I’ll begin with the why,” she stated, ”my first sales territory was tough, both because I was new to sales and because it was a down turned economy, but at the end of the year, I had reached the target, if only by the skin of my teeth. It was a rare moment of triumph against the backdrop of seemingly endless disappointments. As I was savoring the moment, I decided I needed to reward myself in a way that would remind me in the future that, when I do my best, I can have the best. Money wasn’t lush at the time but I knew I could afford the very best of something that would reinforce my achievements and I could look at down the road as a source of personal inspiration. I’m a practical person, so after much research I bought myself a Kunamitsu Carving knife. It is simply the highest quality cutting instrument in the world and it has been hand crafted by a family whose direct ancestors began by making Samurai swords centuries ago. I use it every day and everyday it reminds me of the results of my perseverance and hard work. It is perfection and yet it dulls with constant use and needs to be sharpened. That reinforces for me that I too will find my skills dulling and I too need to stay sharp, so I learn a new skill or better my existing ones”. I’ve had that knife for eleven years and it will endure my lifetime and beyond. Its symbolism has caused me to dig deeper on the days when I wanted to give in and rekindled the euphoric feelings of accomplishment. I think we all need to have a physical, ever-present touchstone of motivation. Mine is a Kunamitsu knife”.
TC came in and blew everybody’s hair back with the enormity that is he, but it was too late, we’d found the antidote.
Carve your motivation into daily reminder-slices of excellence.
365 days is a long time. Almost a year. It is incalculable what happens within that time frame, and probable that none of us will know even one millionth of one percent of the whole. The enormity of change is simply beyond comprehension.
“Overwhelment is managed through personally defining our sphere of impact, staking our ground within it and making our seemingly insignificant marks upon the world”. Words from a man who had jockey’d his way to the top of the corporate ladder…Horace Pardi… better known as, “Quarter Horace”.
This is about sustainable motivation.
Horace conquered one of the single most difficult tasks of leadership…inspiring people. As you read these words you are drawing images of people in your life, past and present, who you see as inspirations or motivating to you, and you are imagining Horace is like that. He’s not.
Here’s the quick story. It begins at a time when, believe it or not, voicemail was a new thing and therefore, people actually listened to their messages. Horace had landed a job selling gizmo’s in the midwest and having completed an intensive company training program lasting almost 2 full hours, he was given a map and a phonebook along with a dial-in number to collect any messages and booted out the door. Three hours later, from the diner he was hiding in, Horace called in for messages and to his amazement, there was one. And it was from the regional manager, “I just want to say welcome aboard and to tell you that every man I ever met was more than what he himself thought he was. So when it looks like the chips are down and things are against you, dig into the you that you didn’t know was there, and you’ll surprise yourself at what you can do”. Horace took that to heart and never forgot it. I know this because I’ve heard the message some 40 years after it was recorded off the voicemail and it is ground zero for an incredible human performance strategy.
Let me give you a couple of data points before we move too far forward on this. That message is a total of 59 words and takes slightly less than 30 seconds to say. But it meant the world to
Horace and he wondered why it meant the world to him. So he began to observe the nature of people, particularly those in sales. Then, in the year that he was promoted to a sales management roll, Horace had concluded three basic truisms.
In no particular order: People establish their own level of motivation congruent to their own self assessment. Their belief in themselves is often less than their real ability, and, in order to overcome all challenges, motivation must come from within.
Outside rah rah motivation is sugar and useful in a multitude of business scenarios, but it has limited shelf life. The problem with self-motivation … is …. well ….the self part. And herein lies the magic of Quarter Horace. Well…why not hear it from the Horace’s mouth, “The goal of the boss is not to motivate you…the goal of the boss is to motivate you to motivate yourself”.
It will be helpful for you to know a little side info that shapes into the very cool tactic you’ll be crazy not to emulate and that is this: Quite by un-intention, Horace discovered that a year actually has 365 days AND 6 hours…or an extra quarter of a day. And that time is completely unaccounted…and decided that he would take that 6 hours and spread it out across every day to a dedicated 1 minute of time. One minute per day…everyday adds up to 6 hours per year. If you don’t think anything can be accomplished in a minute, remember the original message Horace received was half a minute and it put him on a life-course.
So a simple plan was born that addressed one of the toughest aspects of management…if not the toughest aspect of management…affectionately known as a “Horace caller”… a one minute voicemail everyday to someone within his charge that focused on one of only two message categories: “Promise yourself you’ll discover your personal depth and affirmation of a positive action”.
In the beginning he would reach out to his people every 10 days or so and sometimes phoned customers and thanked them for placing orders and would tie that into how meaningful it was to the entire organization…and customers remembered that sincerity.
This one-minute tactic is dead simple and requires nothing more than your decision to do it. And then, to do it.
I’ll say this, and you may fall into this bracket…many people, and many people in sales leadership positions are simply uncomfortable in the role of motivator… akin-ing it to a Tony Robbins or Ziglar personna and that’s fair. But this isn’t that. This is a moment of recognition both in a persons potential and their performance and stating it in an honest brief message.
If you want to consistently raise a person’s performance, then raise their personal significance. That’s the secret sauce of becoming a genuine source of inspiration for everyone in your circle. Do so and watch your circle expand.
10 years ago when the Quarter Horace was in his final year before grazing time he called and left a personal message of belief and encouragement to the entire 461 people who worked at his company.
Put yourself in Horace’s shoes and see how lucky you get.
One of the hardest things to do in a selling environment is to match your urgency to sell with someone else’s urgency to buy. You can think of multiple situations in your selling career where you’ve been in nail-biter mode waiting for a decision to come down, hopefully in your favor. And believe it or not, customers experience the same anxiety. Interesting though, outwardly everyone looks and acts like a fighter pilot ….cool as a cucumber.
I have little doubt that countless customer dissections are part of your sales team’s standard operating procedure and you’ve got as accurate a picture as can be, both as defined groups and even as individuals, at least your top slice. So here’s a question to explore. Are you driving the purchase cycle or reacting to it? Try and stop yourself from giving a flippant answer to that question. Because every customer has a unique “Buycycle” signature, and as far as understanding this discipline of selling, the learning is just now coming into consideration. It is NOT the length of time from pitch to purchase order, although that’s part of it.
What is a customer’s operational culture? Have we ever plot-pointed how we got to “yes”? Maybe sometimes….when we’re recounting our awesomeness at the latest sales meeting…but study? With the intent to leverage? I’m going to crawl on a limb and say, notsomuch. Yet doing this exercise will distinguish your competitive edge in several ways but by far most importantly is that you can incorporate your organization in becoming essential in their buying decisions. Ok, I admit that’s a big statement and I wouldn’t blame you for rolling your eyes, but there is no question that building this layer into your customer strat will forge a greater customer “alliance” and “reliance”. Plus, the elevated opportunities to ratchet more yes-es in less time simply has to contribute to your dollar goals. Because honestly, that is what this is all about.
With no intent of irony, bicycle makers the brothers Wright, achieved flight through the understanding of a different type of Bicycle…the cycles of upward and forward motion. Although their intent was literal we can use their exact principles to fly with our customers.
Two (bi) cycles mesh forward and upward with a starting point cascade of these points;
What each customer actually buys. When each customer actually buys it. Forward and Upward.
Whatever it is you ship to customers is only a partial answer to “What customers actually buy” and on rare occasions we might, in dedicated working groups, dig a little deeper, but chances are, your analysis won’t be overly revealing. I don’t want to get too sidetracked but I had an opportunity to do exactly what I’m suggesting to you with a customers customer a while back and straight out asked the decision maker to prioritize his decision path for me. “I buy insight” he said with a modest expansion that he looks to suppliers as a conduit to glimpse the future. And it wasn’t just an, “Oh, that’s cool…so you’re going to bolt that on the side in a couple of model years….”. No, it was: hmmmm how could this impact my market position?, do I have the space to inventory compete?, can this be leveraged for a market move?, can I negotiate some sort of protected position if I engage early on this? In this particular case, the buyer profiled several distinct categories including price, but what I saw was an opportunity to connect and leverage his primary point, insight. On this singular cue a sales pro could insert him or herself directly into this customer’s information stream….build a value proposition and partake in answering the emergent questions that come from the enlightenment. But this I can tell you. The moment this customer finds out the rough parameters of what the “two-year out product pipeline looks like, the buying cycle begins. Tell me you’re not already thinking about how you can posture an early pre-buy, months before release with an honest GPM for maybe two months of market exclusivity? Yes, you are.
Every customer is different and will have different answers to these questions, but that doesn’t matter. Whatever their answers are, we can build an alliance plan that fits with them. In truth very few customers are “Price Only” buyers, although it’s fun to tell the boss almost everyone is, part of defining “what our customer actually buys” is identifying everything. If “everything” turns out to be; cheapest price only, then present your strategy for that to the customer. Doing this sincerely will expose new areas to velcro to customers. Attaching beyond the box brings you into their buying cycle, where you’ll be a contributor who is actually moving forward with the customer.
Point two. Upward. When do customers actually buy. The answer is long before you know it. That’s the point of the BuyCycle integration. For you to be present and in time, control the moment of commitment. If you are there for that, if you are part of that, if you are present within your customers cycle, then you have a competitive suit of armour.
If this sounds intense, it isn’t. It’s accepting that every customer is different and finding out what those differences are is an edge. A big edge.
Peddle this BuyCycle to greater prosperity.
It just happens that I have a client in the final throes of their fiscal year end on the coincidental same month that most humans in general begin to saw off their personal accountable time frames and declare an annual fresh start to everything; December.
Any date can be a year-end of course, and regardless of when it arrives, a ritual begins to play out just a day or two after the third quarter internals start to circulate. For a brief time, this will all be high level swirling…as a sales leader, no one has pulled you aside yet, but it’s coming. You know something’s brewing because you’ve noticed the bean counters wearing a second set of readers perched on their heads augmenting the one’s dangling from neck cords. They’ve been boring into the numbers. Ha! Boring …ah… And they look concerned.
I’ll just pause for a quick second to recognize that the “numbers” folks always look concerned no matter what the year is shaping up to look like…but you are a leader of the people who actually make the numbers, and the margin minimums and the EBITDA in many cases, and no matter how comfortable you may feel about your standing at Q3, that bean counter concern is going to manifest itself into a meeting known as a MFQ and you are the guest of honor. Oh sorry, MFQ stands for “Modified Fourth Quarter”. Having a great year? This is where you find out you are about to have an even greater year..’cause your numbers just went up by X%. Having a regular year? Horrible year? Doesn’t matter. You and your team will need to throw the afterburners on and get the recalculations done. The good news that I’m happy to report is; complaining about the rank unfairness of the new marching orders does, in fact, make a difference. Perhaps though, not the difference you’d like.
If you are rubbing your hands together in anticipation that I am going to give you the silver bullet answer of how to manage your team through the dilemma of the fourth quarter, you are going to be sad. Because the solution to the tragedy of Q4 starts on fiscal day one. And it begins with answering honestly, for yourself, this Q4 question; “Why do the bosses think there is any extra business in the market that we can get now”? Sit down, this is going to hurt. Because there is.
The tragedy I refer to is weighted to the burnout on the sprint, the need for a physical Q1 recovery and the nagging reality that a goodly portion of Q4 incrementals that nearly killed the entire front line are just next Q’s actuals. Goodly is not a real word but you get my drift.
Stop the crazy cycle. Here’s how. This is what they teach at Boss School, that they don’t teach at Sales Reality School. There are three ways to evaluate a market sector in which all competitors fight to snag their pie wedge. You are no doubt intimately familiar with two of these…the actual year and the budget year . The first is a defined and accurate measurement and the probable basis of your bonus check, the other is someone’s idea of what a collection of super-hero salespeople can achieve in the absence of any market kryptonite.
The third is the far less known “True Market” and envelopes a multitude of measurable and immeasurable dynamics…mostly things that you would argue, but nonetheless, frustratingly for bosses who are clued into it, really does exist. It’s a surprising amount of money and it was all near someone’s fingertips at some point throughout the past fiscal. In its most simplistic definition, it’s all the deals we could have done, created, expanded, invented, bogarted away from a competitor or otherwise conjured, but did not for reasons ranging from straight up laziness to no time left in the day.
Before you flip out I’m going to give you an example. I have a client in the national newspaper business…yeah, I know…it’s like they have a built in excuse for diminishing revenues, except the company leader thinks otherwise and at a recent meeting when eyes begin to roll as he starts to yammer on about missed opportunities, he parades out a report that quantifies in actual real dollars that $35 Billion of unclaimed coop marketing funds evaporated in the last fiscal. That’s not a wishful thinking number, that’s an actual earned money pool that really existed on budgets all over the place just waiting to be picked off by someone. Don’t believe me? Google-Unused Coop Marketing Money.
Every single industry has a True Market, including yours. Accepting that existence gives you an advantage over your competition in 80 different psychological ways from Sunday. Steering your team into a True Market regiment … well, that just means you’ll be forging an elite group of sales masterminds that will be the awe of your industry sector…ain’t no thang.
It doesn’t matter if today is the first day of your fiscal or your six months in, you need to direct your leadership towards bolting a True Market strategy onto the hood of your fiscal budget strategy.
Now it’s been pointed out to me that I come from an era when you could just tell people what’s what, but according to the HR specialist, it’s better to recruit “buy in”. At least the word “buy” is there. So do this. Er… I mean, buy into this.
Facilitate a team meeting with one topic of conversation: True Market
Hustle your team onto a call or carve out an hour at the beginning of a sales meeting and introduce True Value. Prove it exists by giving examples relevant to your business of dollars that just vanished into thin air. Stay on this topic until everyone agrees that with some attention, a bit of a plan and some elbow grease, fresh dollars can be added onto the actuals.
Create a team list of True Market operating Rules and Guides As a group come up with a list of items that your team thinks is relevant to True Market in their territories. Here are some examples. Rule One: Acknowledge, embrace and own this market truth: Deals exist even if your can’t see them. Rule Two: There are more dollars in the market than you think there are. Rule Three: There is never a bad time to make a sale. Rule Four: Excuses make you weak. Rule Five: Every possible sale gets sold everyday. Rule Six: Not a single opportunity slipped through my net today…not one.
Whenever you review sales progress, be it daily, weekly, monthly or whenever, incorporate True Market questions into that conversation. Did we leave opportunities out there? Yes, No Did we somehow allow productivity to leak out? Did we maximize every single customer relationship? Did we discover new pockets or boutiques segments? Did we outsmart our rivals?
This focus is going to achieve a multitude of pile-able rewards, but the two that will run deep inside you will be these; this is going to make your competition nuts and the boss you never see is going to have a team picture of you guys on his desk right beside his granddaughter’s softball championship pic.
Sales legends begin with sales leaders. Drive your team to the riches that blind your competitor.