You’ve heard that message before, and I’m certain you recognize its importance.
In your quest to differentiate your organization from the competition, you must find the people with problems that need solving and those who are looking for ideas to fast track their growth objectives.
That means your salespeople need to be skillful in getting past the gatekeepers and gaining an audience with the people who can benefit the most from your products and services.
The key question is, are they consistently doing that?
Are your salespeople successful at reaching decision-makers? Do they even know what to say when and if they reach them?
If you’re shaking your head “no”, you’re not alone.
Many salespeople -- yes, even the veterans -- are reluctant to call on decision-makers.
They spend the vast majority of their time with “influencers” and “screeners” and, as a result, waste an enormous amount of time and suffer from a closing ratio that is much lower than what they are capable of.
What exactly is happening?
The answer has to do with something called Sales DNA, the innate traits and competencies that either support or sabotage a salesperson’s ability to truly be successful.
When a salesperson’s DNA is strong, they are capable of getting decision makers involved in the sales process, effectively qualifying sales opportunity, shortening the sales cycle, and maintaining margins. When Sales DNA is weak, well, not much really happens.
Object Management Group says that a strong Sales DNA Score is the greatest predictor of sales performance, and the DNA score is comprised of 6 things: the need for approval, the ability to control emotions, supportive beliefs, a supportive buy cycle, comfort discussing money, and the ability to handle rejection.
When it comes to the failure to reach decision makers, it’s the need for approval that’s most often to blame.
The need to be liked is a huge hurdle for a lot of salespeople. Approximately 58% of all salespeople have this weakness and, on average, salespeople score 76% in that competency. Elite salespeople have an average score of 87%, and weak salespeople have an average score of 69%.
That alone is startling data, but OMG did us a favor by further filtering that information by the need to be liked, and they’ve come up with some very interesting results:
Do you see what’s happening here? Salespeople who don't need to be liked scored 47% higher on their ability to reach decision makers! Those same “don’t need to be liked” salespeople are also 51% more likely to close the opportunities in their pipeline and score 42% higher in the Consultative Seller Competency.
Why is the need to be liked such a problem? Because the need to be liked prevents salespeople from having meaningful “business conversations” that result in qualifying sales opportunity and selling value. Typical weaknesses are:
In short, the salesperson that needs to be liked is just too afraid of the prospect not liking them to ask the hard questions!
That includes persuading a “screener” of the benefits their organization will realize by introducing the salesperson to the actual decision maker.
Can a salesperson who suffers from a weak DNA be helped? YES!
You can train your salespeople to overcome this weakness.
It’s not easy or quick, but it can be done. We can help you do it. Shoot us an email, and we’ll be happy to give you some insights into the actions you can take to turn this situation around.
Selling has officially become a game of “strategy”.
When I first started selling business telephone systems years ago there was no internet. Buyers relied on me to bring them product information, information on market trends and any information I could provide on their competitors.
Basically I was a “walking and talking brochure”, and they needed me.
Prospecting is like being at the beach and relaxing in the warm sun as you work on psyching yourself up to go into the icy cold water.
You finally get up off your cozy blanket and begin walking toward the water having second thoughts with each step you take.
You put your toe in the water and jump back as you shout: “Man that water is freezing!”
Read time: 4 minutes
It’s rare today that a company has a sustainable product, price or service advantage.
As a result of technology being readily available, and affordable, new competitors enter your market on an annual basis and the quality, availability and pricing of their products and services look very much the same as your offering.
So how will you go about differentiating your organization and creating a sustainable and profitable competitive advantage?
Elevating your sales team’s ability to sell your products and services is the place to start.
Without exception the companies that consistently hit their sales targets, while maintaining margins, have mastered the ability to effectively market and sell their products.
Not only does effectively qualifying sales opportunity make sound business sense it also makes you feel terrific!
Qualifying deals puts you in control. And when you’re in control you are focused, decisive and you feel strong. Effectively qualifying deals has a powerful positive effect on your mindset and performance.
In the first blog of this 5 part series, I encouraged you to put focus on what it takes to shorten your sales cycle. I explained that the skills needed to shorten the sales cycle are virtually the same skills required to achieve Peak Sales Performance.
I suggested 5 key areas to master, and in this blog I will provide a deeper explanation of why it is so powerful to understand and leverage business drivers and consequences.
There are some important topics in life and business that are brought up so frequently that over time our motivation to continue the conversation and take action fades and often disappears.
I think this is true with the discussion around shortening the sales cycle.
The topic certainly gets a lot of attention but typically not a whole lot is done about it. This is a great opportunity for you and your team to gain a competitive advantage.
The topic of shortening the sales cycle is a meaningful one because the skill it requires and the steps you will take are foundational to sales success in general.
I’m focusing on the topic of prospecting discipline in this blog because I have set a personal goal to take my business to the next level in 2017 and I thought you might relate to some of the adjustments I intend to make. (I also thought that if I make my intentions public it will provide additional motivation to get it done!)
My goal is to increase my sales by 20% over what I did in 2016. (I’m pleased to let you know that in 2016 I set a new sales record for myself. My objective is to break that record by 20% in 2017.)
I’m a fairly disciplined guy, but I have realized that how I’m applying discipline in the area of prospecting is causing me to experience a roller coaster ride in my sales revenue and personal income.
Last week I had the honor of speaking at the US Military Academy at West Point for one of my all-time favorite clients, West Point Thoroughbreds.
The President and CEO of West Point Thoroughbreds, Terry Finley, is a West Point graduate and as a result of his connections was able to bring in a high-ranking official with the National Counterterrorism Center to tell us a bit about the advancements our country is making in fighting terrorism.
An audience member asked the speaker what keeps him up at night and he responded by saying: “I’m concerned about the challenge we currently face in identifying, understanding and preventing terrorist communications on the web”.
He explained that terrorist organizations have figured out a way to communicate on the internet that we, at this time, are having a very difficult time figuring out.
We are told a great deal has changed in selling.
To be real about the situation, a great deal has changed in how people buy but not much has changed in how people sell.
The vast majority of sales people still lead with how exciting they think their product is and how proud they are of the great service their company provides. Before information “escaped” on the internet this approach worked very well. Buyers needed us to bring them new ideas and new technology.
Sales management expert Duane Cashin has lead award-winning sales organizations and trained sales teams for companies of all sizes. He’s earned membership in Presidents Club and Circle of Excellence, successfully built and sold his own multi-million-dollar business, and enjoys sharing his passion for sales.