Posts Tagged ‘sales’

Time spend in reconnaissance is rarely wasted. Whenever a military force is advancing against enemy positions, it always sends out scouting parties to reconnoitre the terrain, confirm enemy positions and strength, and find gaps and weaknesses in the defences.

Selling should be conducted in the exact same manner. Time spent in preparation, is rarely wasted. Even if you think you know what you’re up against, you must sound out your clientele and send out metaphorical scouting parties to size up the client, identify potential objectives, wants, and needs, as well as identify and assess the competition. You can do this through a phone call, telemarketing (if you’re reaching out to find leads), online research, or background research from your company’s own data banks and CRM software.

The key point is, don’t go in blind, even if you think you know everything you need to know. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and that’s not just good motherly (or doctorly) advice.

Richard Martin is The Force Multiplier. He brings his military and business leadership and management experience to bear for executives and organizations seeking to radically improve performance, grow, and thrive in the face of rapid change, harsh competition, and increasing uncertainty.

I’m never too busy to discuss your needs or those of anyone else you feel may benefit from meeting or talking to me. So feel free to contact me at any time!

© 2015 Richard Martin. Reproduction and quotes are permitted with proper attribution.

Last week I facilitated a sales planning retreat with a long-time client. The meeting brought together the sales people of six different offices in the company. The aim was to create common goals, processes, and systems. We discussed many different issues, but whenever we saw the discussion starting to come around to the same points again, I would break in and ask my client what the decision was and what actions would be needed to execute on it. This doesn’t appear like a big deal, but for this client it meant creating clarity on goals and actions where before there had been a lot of vague intentions. Just by asking what the decision was as a result of the discussion, we were able to generate a list for execution within a short time frame.

There is nothing wrong with gaining input by holding meetings. However, you must always close any discussion with a decision on next steps and clear direction for who will do what, by when, with whom, and with what resources.

Richard Martin is a consultant, speaker, and executive coach. He brings his military and business leadership and management experience to bear for executives and organizations seeking to exploit change, maximize opportunity, and minimize risk.

© 2014 Richard Martin. Reproduction and quotes are permitted with proper attribution.

Yes, you heard it here first folks: Doing more of the same will get you more of the same. I know, not very original but, unfortunately, quite true. Which is probably why it’s such a common refrain.

In business doing more of the same doesn’t just mean you have the same products and services you’ve always had. It can also, and usually does, mean that your processes have not changed to meet the new realities of your market. This could be the market for talent or the market that buys your products and services. It can also, of course, mean your competitors.

A client of mine hired me to help them improve their sales processes by accelerating their closing times and conversion of prospects to firm buyers. When we analyzed the situation, we quickly identified the key problems. First, they were presenting information in their proposals in the same way they had been doing so for the last seven or eight years or so. The market had changed drastically in that time, particularly in the last 3 years, with the slow down in the economy. Buyers were asking for a certain type of information presented in a certain manner. My client had to adjust their presentation and proposal format to better adapt to the needs of their customers. No amount of doing the same thing over and over again was going to work. They had to change.

A corollary to that key finding was that customers were taking longer and longer to make their decisions about investing in my client’s services. The sales staff had to compensate by doing part of the operational staff’s job, just in order to close the business. When the project was finally handed over to operations, much of the work had to be redone. This had two major effects, both of which were costing my client a lot of lost business and opportunity. The ‘extra’ planning work done by the sales staff was not remunerated by the client. The additional work that the operations staff had to do to get the project back on track with the customers was also costing a lot of money.

There were many other problems with this sales and operations model, but these are enough to see that my client had to adapt to a new reality in order to stay relevant to its customers. The innovation and creativity had to be focused on improving internal processes, not creating new products and services (although there’s nothing precluding that either).

Bottom line. You have to change with the times. For this, though, you have to on the lookout for differences of importance in the environment and adjust your practices, processes, and products to remain relevant. Whether it’s my client or any other business, doing more of the same will always get you more of the same. Realizing this and doing things differently at least gives you a chance to adjust, adapt and thrive in a new environment.

© 2012 Richard Martin. Reproduction and quotes permitted with full and proper attribution.