3 Signs Your Sales Machine is Stuck in the 70’s
If like me, you come from a different era, when the Bee Gees, Pink Floyd and the Sex Pistols ruled the music charts. An era when people sold without an Internet, Computers, Social Media and Mobile Phones, there is no doubt the world has moved on. Buyers are better educated, better prepared and have much more information before even making contact with potential suppliers. So in the same way that the world has changed, the way we sell has had to change also, if we want to be successful. To aid companies with the transition a number of new Sales Training companies were formed in the 70’s, which to this day grow and continue to be very successful. Training Companies like Miller Heiman, SPIN Selling and Richardson Sales all developed their own particular sales model or sales methodology to aid Organizations with the transition and modernizing their sales approach. So what are the 3 clues held over from that golden era, that indicate time has stood still in your own sales department and continue to hold your sales machine back?
1) Features & Benefits Selling
Yes, just when you thought it had gone away Features and Benefits Selling is still alive and well in certain sales machines. Like the monster bug E-Coli, just when you think the world is cured, Features and Benefits selling rears it’s ugly head again. Performing a quick Google search I found a Business Consultant, a Marketing Company and a Sales Training Company still promoting this outdated sales model. A question posted on LinkedIn from a new sales graduate on how best to approach selling, was answered by around 6 sales experts, none of which mentioned Features and Benefits. So, it’s not just me – Features and Benefits selling is unattractive, it puts prospects off and it just doesn’t work. Remove features and benefits from your sales machine as quickly as possible.
2) ABC – Always Be Closing
Alec Baldwin’s famed character Blake in Glengarry Glen Ross, portrayed a hard nosed Manager who treated customers and his fellow sales professionals with equal contempt. If your Sales Manager truly believes like Blake, Always Be Closing will help you sell more and reach your sales targets, then do as Jodie Mitchell suggests and call a “Big Yellow Taxi” and leave now. Professional sales people do not need to close prospects, as the prospects close themselves. The new ABC is Always Be Coaching and smart Managers spend their time Coaching sales people, to help them sell more. The number one responsibility of a modern Sales Manager is Sales Enablement, which means they understand small increases in performance across a team deliver huge results collectively. Coach your sales machine to success, don’t bully and belittle them.
3) Pitching for Business
Pitching is a one way process where people who do not understand sales, ‘show up and throw up’ all their information all over the prospect, and try to convince the prospect to give them the business. Still common in the Advertising industry, after days and sometimes weeks of preparing their materials and ideas for FREE, they line up like contestants at a beauty pageant, HOPING to be picked. I bumped into a former Manager of a local Ad agency who, having been let go in the recession, had started out on his own. After telling me how great business was and how he wished he had gone out on his own years ago, I asked him how he was winning pitches? He promptly told me he never pitched, as he didn’t have the time or resources to do it. Yet he was busy. It seems when needs must, he had found a way to get business through referrals, networking and making sales calls. Pitching, like Punk belongs in the 70’s, so let’s leave it there.
The world changes every year, with advances in technology and a never ending stream of new tools for your sales machine it is without doubt challenging to keep pace. That said, I don’t believe anyone goes into sales for an easy life and for the most part Sales People love a challenge and are keen to take on new technology. Unfortunately all of us, have much less of an appetite when it comes to changing our personal sales beliefs and sales methodology. Therein lies the true challenge we all face because Change is uncomfortable and we all prefer the Status Quo – oh and they definitely need to be left in the 70’s.
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