Audacity of Hope:
“Just Do It” Works for Nike but is Fatal
salespeople, as a matter of habit and conditioning, still try to do
business normally in a world that is anything but. There is a huge gap
between today’s selling strategies and today’s market conditions.
Salespeople in general ardently reject traditional selling in principle
and embrace consultative selling, but have no real process to execute
it with. A lot of apparent changes are merely window dressing. Salespeople
are quickly finding out the hard way that identifying prospects’ needs
and giving solutions isn’t consultative selling.
Salespeople need a better sales strategy and sales model. Imagine a quarterback coming out on the field during the last
drive of the game, going into the huddle and enthusiastically saying
to the players, “I don’t know, let’s just do it!” It works fine
for Nike, but not for salespeople.
don’t put up with line workers running production lines as they see
fit. The administrative staff isn’t allowed to run whatever software
it is comfortable with. Companies allow certain things to happen in
the sales department which they wouldn’t permit anywhere else in the
organization. Too many sales organizations believe that selling is a
mystery, an afterthought and an ugly stepchild. Selling is truly the
last frontier as far as efficiency is concerned. The process salespeople
use has generally been unchanged for decades. The only meaningful changes
in the sales department have been external. Sales departments have made
large gains in mechanization, processing and tracking of orders and
monitoring activity at the exclusion of creating a disciplined and systematic
sales process. The easy answer to why is, because it is easier to change
external processes than it is to change human behavior and interaction.
Many companies have spent more money, time and resources on training
clerical and factory workers than they have on their salespeople.
effective sales process, vision, and disciplined strategy are the most
important things a company can do for their sales effort. A systematic
sales process can be a huge competitive advantage for a company. Salespeople
can no longer fly by the seat of their pants with a “wing and a prayer”
strategy, and expect to be productive and efficient anymore.
need a documented and systematic process of predictable and repeatable
steps that when followed consistently lead to a high percentage of success.
Salespeople need to reinvent themselves and use a system that tells
them in advance about whether they are winning, losing, what red flags
to look for, how to change when needed and how to avoid similar missteps
in the future. They need a system that puts them in control more and
leads to uniform steps of action to produce specific outcomes.
selling is due to random events leading to accidents, both positive
and negative. Salespeople instead need to lead prospects through sequential
stages with a series of progressive, small commitments. “Once salespeople
adopt a universal system of problem solving, managing information and
change, they can begin objectively to look at everything they do as
an opportunity cost,” says Jim Holden. They can better decipher
and analyze their prospect’s critical business issues to better determine
if they have a compelling reason to change, what their problems are, how
much it is costing them, what the decision process is, how much money
is available, how change happens and what the competing priorities are.
salespeople have an end-to-end process that is sequentially linked and
has stopgaps, they can optimize their time and resources more effectively
and neutralize, contain, and counter-balance the prospect’s superior
buying process. This process of checks and balances utilizes universal
questions to understand the process of change that prospects must go
through and can be adapted to any type of personality a salesperson
tend to be very predictable and transparent. Their process is easily
anticipated and neutralized by most sophisticated prospects. Most salespeople
try to win the hearts and minds of their prospects by being energetic,
confident and passionate in their pursuit. Instead they should be a
resource, a leader and a change agent who helps the prospect in a sequential
process that determines the cost of change and the will to follow through
following a defined sales stategy, you allow the prospect the opportunity
to disqualify themselves each step along the way early and often, from
beginning to end. By doing so, you start to sell consequences, problems
and change, not products and solutions.
you start to adapt this end-to-end process, you’ll find that understanding
is far more critical than persistence and giving out information.
disciplined sales process is typified by give and take. However, if
salespeople or prospects are only taking, then there is no mutual basis
for a relationship. It must be a mutual exploration and discovery process.
To do so, you must be willing to suspend your ego, your expertise and
all your hard-won product knowledge. You must learn to try to have unconditional
acceptance of your prospect’s point of view, regardless of whether
it is wrong or not. You must learn to use your product expertise as
a tool to get more information, not give away more information.