When a sale is won there’s been no shortage of people who claim all or a share of the credit. However, when the sale is lost, or when the pipeline is thin, or when margins are discounted away with free consulting, I only hear excuses that ultimately blame the prospect or the competition and never ourselves.
Over the last 6 weeks I have had the privileged of chairing 10 separate sales meetings for different sales organisations. Some of these have been in smaller organisations and others have been with global sales organisations of large international businesses. What’s interesting is that in every case, when a sale is won there’s been no shortage of people who claim all or a share of the credit. However, when the sale is lost, or when the pipeline is thin, or when margins are discounted away with free consulting, I only hear excuses that ultimately blame the prospect or the competition and never ourselves.
Can this really be true – when we win it’s because of our expertise yet when we don’t win it’s not our fault or it's beyond our control…?
If we choose to give away some free consultancy, is that because the prospect doesn’t acknowledge our value?
If we decide to discount our solution is that because we have decided to take ownership of our customer’s budget being reduced?
When reviewing our pipeline, if we are not 100% clear on the next step is it because the prospect is controlling the sales process?
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With these common scenarios or excuses, can we hold the prospect or our competitors accountable for the outcome? Is it not our poor selling that didn’t do a good enough job of demonstrating the value of our solution or that allowed the prospect to control our sales process?
So how can we test whether this is happening in our business? Perhaps we should be honest and ask some tough questions of ourselves…
This is not to say that taking a quick look around is going to uncover a diamond mine underneath your sales floor – making changes that lead to a more mindful approach to sales takes time and consistent application, that’s why Sandler’s book “You Can’t Teach A Kid To Ride A Bike At A Seminar” carries such a mouthful (and true statement) of a title. It’s also why I think consciously investing in creating a better understanding of the psychology of sales is so important for a business – with every revelation you get closer to being able to influence whether you win or not.
To help you with this endeavour, Microsoft are supporting Partners through the Incredible Sales Academy - an ongoing sales programme aimed to increase sales results for participants and their organisations by building new selling skills, goal orientated mind-sets and effective behaviours that are sustainable. To find out more and to register, email the team at firstname.lastname@example.org to join one of the Sales Performance Workshops.
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