For most companies, the need for profitable revenue growth never stops. Unfortunately, the growth of salespeople does. As reported in Talent is Overrated by Geoff Colvin: “Extensive research in a wide range of fields shows that many people not only fail to become outstandingly good at what they do, no matter how many years they spend doing it, they frequently don’t even get any better than they were when they started.”
If you’re lucky enough to be the latest brand new shiny thing to hit the market you’ll be basking in the warm glow of uniqueness. And if your innovative new product or service offers terrific value to your customers, that they can’t get elsewhere, you’ll have an audience of eager customers willing to invest their dollars and welcome you into their businesses, at least for a little while.
You may have heard a rumor that cold calling is history. I’m here to tell you it’s still very much alive. I know, because I get numerous cold calls at my office every day from people inviting me to webinars, offering me CRM tools, telling me about hiring techniques that get the best employees, and so on. The most interesting ones are from sales people who want to teach me to cold call more effectively! Not to mention the incessant calls I get at home from telemarketers. I don’t believe cold calling will ever go away.
Recently, I was asked to lead a day-long focus group discussion with technology buyers from Fortune 100 companies. There were two senior executives from each participating company. The topic we explored was how they felt about sales and sales professionals and what might be the ideal buying experience.
Have you ever known a manager who, after every joint call or conversation, feels the need to offer you ‘coaching,’ always under the banner of YOUR self-improvement? It often begins with something like, “May I offer you some coaching?” or “Can I give you some feedback?” just minutes after a high-stakes presentation, emotionally-charged sales call or internal meeting gone awry.
Sales Professionals often fail to ask enough solution or consultative questions to appear interested in their client’s challenges, objectives and outcomes they are looking to achieve.Many sellers still ask “leading” questions that point to one of their solutions, rather than having broader conversations and asking true “no agenda” questions which will help get a wider perspective of their prospective customer’s environment. This behavior means that they often miss opportunities to sell more holistic solutions (leaving money on the table or smaller deals).
In sales we quickly learn that pressure comes with the territory. We typically operate in high-pressure Boiler Room style environments and our leaders focus on keeping the heat cranked up in an effort to motivate us to exceed ever-increasing revenue targets. But it doesn't work. There is a better way. It's time to release the pressure.