I met someone a few years ago who told me his business was so successful that he couldn’t imagine it being any better. I didn’t believe him but told him if that was the case then he should sell it.
I have certainly never seen perfection, and I might struggle to say that I have seen the excellence that companies are apparently all looking to achieve.
One of the benefits of doing what we do is that we get to have a look under the hoods of many different companies to see who is doing well in the world of sales, and who isn’t doing particularly well.
Several years ago my wife and I enlisted a real estate agent to sell a house. The transaction went well, however, the agent made one fundamental mistake that taught me a valuable lesson and cost him any future referrals from us. As soon as the transaction was finished, we never saw that agent again. No thank you card, no wine, not even a thanks for your business. The last time I spoke to him was on the phone at the lawyer’s office to confirm the completion of the deal. We believe the agent made a mistake with his lack of follow through on what was obviously a significant transaction for us. It was a small thing, but something we haven’t forgotten even 10 years on. We have told that story many times and I can guarantee it has cost this agent opportunities.
The MD of a company recently approached us and was frustrated with his sales team’s performance. He believed when he started the business he had more sales success than his team, even though he only spent 10 percent of his time on selling. He couldn’t understand why his team wasn’t performing better.
Another recent conversation was with the CEO of another business who was frustrated at the quality of the clients the sales team were introducing. Ostensibly there didn’t appear to be major issues as the business was growing nicely, but it was on the back of industry growth rather than quality sales work. Simple analysis showed the sales team spent a huge amount of their time visiting clients who were small and purchased tiny amounts, and had very little room for growth. Every time the salesperson visited these clients it was costing the company money.
There was recently a story in the media about an advertising man who took a clown into his redundancy meeting. While the meeting took place, the clown made balloon animals and when he was delivered his redundancy papers the clown pretended to cry.
There was also the story of the well-known NZ businessman (you will figure it out) who apparently walked into a meeting with heavy-hitting investors and dropped hundreds of bouncing balls onto the board room table. He then delivered his message to say this is how many rockets they are going to launch into space in the next few years.
We recently heard a story of the history of a 3rd generation NZ family business. It was a story many in this company and none of their clients had heard but talked about how the business began, and the twists and turns experienced on the way to creating what it is today.
Sales is a rollercoaster of emotions. When you’re “on fire” life is good, you love what you do, the company you do it for and the people you interact with. Life is harder when sales are down, your manager is not helping by demanding more sales and even that great prospect you talked with last week you really can’t be bothered talking to. You don’t even consider picking up the phone to make a cold call. This is the time when salespeople start asking the questions about their career and the company they work for. This is the time when performance and productivity fall through the floor. Everyone in sales will recognise these emotions.
There was a famous car salesperson by the name of Joe Girard who sold 13,001 cars at a Chevrolet dealership between 1963 and 1978, including the world record of 1425 cars in one year.
How did he do it?
By all accounts, he would never sell to someone walking in off the street. Instead, he would only sell to personal referrals or to his existing clients & their families.
Joe used to run a rolodex better than anyone and knew his customers intimately. He would look to know as much about his customers as he could so that he could support him or her in their needs and wants. The number one thing however that contributed to his success was that he always made sure they got a fair deal. One that was fair for him and fair for his customer.
Joe was a great example of someone who built fantastic partnerships with his clients.
The Sales Syndicate community was recently treated to a workshop by corporate anthropologist, Michael Henderson.
Michael has a passion for unlocking the true potential of people and organisations. With more than 25 years’ experience working locally and internationally and as the author of 8 books on the subject, Michael knows a thing or two about culture.
Michael shared with us many significant and confronting messages. Most of us have heard the now famous Peter Drucker quote, ‘Culture eats strategy for breakfast’. But Michael is insistent that in his experience having the right culture is 8 times more important than strategy; particularly so with Sales Teams.
That raises a very good question. If culture is that important, then why don’t we as sales Leaders spend more time developing culture? Is it because we just don’t recognise the value of how important culture is or is it because we don’t know how to go about it?
We were fortunate recently to have Dean Mannix with us at Sales Syndicate who challenged us to think about ‘McDonald-ising’ our sales team.
From generation to generation McDonald’s keeps outperforming the competitors by running consistent processes that means a Big Mac is the same in Auckland as it is in Cairo, they ask us if we want fries with that in 119 countries and over 34,000 stores.
They have built a sales machine that has enabled them to scale.
Is your company a sales machine? Do you have a set of systems and processes that allow your company to be better than your competitors and to create scalable and repeatable sales? Or, are you leaving your success to chance?
The most successful B2B sales people all focus on 3 key areas:
Incorporating these 3 disciplines into your daily, weekly and monthly activity will immediately separate you from the 50% plus of sales people who reportedly do not hit their targets. We see it time and again at our Sales Academy Programme that once sales people start focusing on these 3 key areas they start to unlock their real potential.
Have you ever worked out how much it costs to run a sales meeting? Not just the direct cost of having all your team in the room together, which by itself is expensive, but what about the opportunity cost of missing out on improved sales performance or having a detrimental impact on sales culture?
Many sales meetings are not only costing companies a fortune but may also be causing a negative return. Meaning that many sales meetings are not only delivering little in value but more importantly they could be causing a negative impact on sales culture and sales performance.
When our friends from Sales ITV surveyed 1500 sales leaders and sales people they found that 69% of sales leaders used their sales meetings as a primary motivational strategy for the sales team but 57% of sales people stated that they found their sales meetings de-motivational! Wow that is a significant disconnect.