Why do so many business strategies fail? Vistage speaker, Michael Canic, has on his mind that “most business leaders have fresh ideas, good intentions and a willingness to take action. So why is it so hard to turn strategy into reality?” Here are 10 of the most common reasons…
Brad Egeland knows: “Sales says “yes” to everything, right? Come on, that’s the stereotype that we all have, isn’t it? Sales promises the moon, hands it off to us and now we have to deliver. Or worse, Sales promises some vague idea of the moon and now the customer is expecting the full moon and we have to work very hard (and dance) to reset those customer expectations.”
Approach is Everything!
How you handle the customer requests or the needs that have caused this decision point is very important.
Kim E. Williams works with a wonderful group of sales people. Most of their time is spent selling and doing selling related tasks. These are versatile people with excellent communication skills. It is amazing how quickly they can be rendered powerless by a customer service complaint or any non-sales issue.
Ideally, sales people should be left to sell and there should be someone else to handle the customer complaints and conflicts. However, in the real world, many of us in the sales profession are called upon to handle at least some of the customer service issues. For our own sanity, we can follow these tips…
James A. Baker, Founder and CEO of Baker Communications , understands that in these challenging economic times, developing new business is more important than ever. You can no longer rely on run-rate business to keep you afloat. Even your most faithful customers are feeling the pinch and delaying new purchases – or cancelling programs altogether – out of an “abundance of caution.” So, if you want to stay in business, it is time to start prospecting for new business, because – believe it or not – there are still people out there who are ready to buy what you have for sale. All you need to do is find them.
If there is one lesson I’ve learned as a business owner trying to navigate the turbulent economic waters, it is that I have to accept that there are some things I cannot control; that survival – and success – will come from setting aside the status quo and looking at our core operations with a fresh perspective.
It’s been a learning experience for me. I’m a “Type A” personality heading up a business that has known only growth. It was a difficult pill to swallow when the realization hit that the economy was a force beyond my control. Doing everything right was no longer good enough.
I know I’m not alone in this battle. I also know I’m not the only one who takes it very personally when growth remains elusive despite attacking it with every weapon in my arsenal.
Once I accepted that, I recognized that this is the ideal opportunity to put into practice many of the suggestions made on our salesjournal.com blog over the past year. When strategies that were successful in the past are no longer working, it’s time to step back and see what changes can be made to the business that will carry us through the lean times and put us in a position of strength when the economy finally turns.
To that end, I gathered my entire company for some creative brainstorming on what directions we could take that would open new revenue streams while still remaining true to the integrity of our core mission and values. It was an exploratory process that was undertaken in a thoughtful, collaborative and meaningful manner rather than as a knee-jerk reaction to a temporary situation.
First and foremost, we are focused on solidifying our position as trusted advisors to our existing clients. We’re reaching out to find out how we can add value to their businesses right now, even if they aren’t in buying mode. By sharing white papers, webinars, best practices and other valuable information to help them steer their own ships, we are staying in front of our customers and letting them know that we aren’t going anywhere. When they’re ready for us, we’ll be here.
We are also conducting ongoing surveys of our customers and prospects so that we can better gauge when they are once again ready to buy. We’re making strategic use of data and trending information to help identify the “path of least resistance” in terms of investing resources into business development activities that will bear fruit sooner rather than later. Finally, we are identifying new and creative ways to maximize our strong business partnerships in mutually beneficial and cost-efficient ways.
Beyond that, we have identified multiple new business solutions that we are rolling out over the next several months. They relate directly to our core business, and will generate new revenue streams to carry us through the downturn and into the future. Best of all, when the economic pendulum swings back to stability, we will be stronger because our company will be familiar to an entirely new audience of prospective customers.
Is mine the only business making these kinds of strategic decisions? Certainly not. But I hope that my example will inspire those who may be close to giving up in this economy to find new paths to execute and succeed.
Take advantage of the situation to identify new strategies that can carry your business through the downturn and that will make your organization increasingly more competitive and chartered for strong growth when the market turns.
We are and I’m proud of it!
Scenario: You’ve been with your company for six years and things have gone very well. You were the top sales dog last year and the year before, and you’ve already met this year’s quota and it’s only April. Your income has increased over 300% since you started with the company. Life is good.
But today, the boss of your boss (who just left the company for another position yesterday) asked to see you. She tells you you’ve been selected to become the new sales manager.
Shaun Priest, of CloserQ, offers sound advice on how to handle the situation of your company being for sale. His detailed response is a strategy to stay with your current company. Priest believes “that in this economy we are going to see more M&A in the next 18 months. There has been a limited number of fire sales and I believe this has to change.”
Banks have TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program). Insurance Companies are now going to receive TARP funds. The Automotive Industry has received $ 17.4 Billion in government loans to survive the economic downturn, and they are asking for another $ 22 Billion. As a sales person, do you have a troubled asset (pipeline)? If so, who is going to bail you out? The answer is, and should always be, nobody but you! According to Mack Powers, there will be no redeployed tax dollars coming your way! Every sales person has to see himself as his own Department of the Treasury. Somehow you will have to bail yourself out! TARP for you isn’t the Troubled Assets Relief Program. For you, TARP means… Taking Additional Responsibility (for your) Pipeline. How?
David R Ednie, has posted Adapt your Selling Style to Today’s Buyer Thinking: Buyer thinking has changed, forever. Pre-economic crisis buyer thinking rewarded relationship based selling. When the economy was strong, growing and things were relatively predictable, buyers rewarded continuity and business relationships.Today Decision Makers are reassessing every spending and investment decision they make. They are looking for ways to reduce, delay or cancel purchases and investment decisions and they are seeking certainty that desired results will be achieved as planned. Maintaining a predominantly relationship focused sales approach will not cut much sway or add relevant value to buyers with a ‘spend less, delay or cancel’ mindset. To succeed in helping today’s buying decision makers you must move your style to a results focused approach.
There is a lively debate underway in one of my LinkedIn groups about whether or not you should call your prospect’s cell phone if they’ve included the number in their outbound voice mail message – or on their email signature or business card for that matter – versus leaving a message.
To me, it’s a no-brainer. Call the cell phone.
They’ve provided you with a valid alternate contact number and an invitation to use it. Why would you even think twice? Top sales professionals know that it’s critical to get in front of their prospects by whatever appropriate means they can. These days, that often means calling their cell phone.
The reality is that voice mail – even messages left on cell phones – is quickly falling out of favor. Data from uReach Technologies (their operations include voice messaging systems for several major cell phone carriers) shows that more than 30 percent of voice mail messages go unheard for three or more days. More than 20 percent of people with messages in their mailboxes rarely, if ever, check them.
There are a number of reasons behind the decline of the voice mail message. Accessing messages is often a multi-step process that takes too long in today’s fast-paced business environment. It also takes longer to listen to a voice message than it does to read an email or text.
Voice mail is also one-way communication. You can’t forward or respond to a message directly, but rather must physically return the call and risk getting caught up in a game of phone tag.
Plus, many people are just plain bad at leaving voice mail messages. They tend to be long rambling affairs that are rushed to the point that it’s difficult to determine the actual purpose of the call or capture the call-back number.
I will add one caveat to my stance. If the prospect’s voice mail message makes it clear that calls to the cell phone number should be reserved for urgent matters, respect that or risk losing the sale. Instead, leave a short, clear and concise message and follow up again later on.