Are “Politically Incorrect Market Secrets” (PIMS) Stalling Your Sales Growth? Six Quick Questions to Find Out….

 secret

We are at the half way point of your sales plan. How is your team doing to plan? I have heard statistics that state 70% of salespeople will miss their sales plans this year. Why? Can your team afford to let this happen?…I did not think so. In this post I am challenging you, right here in the privacy of your computer. If this post pertains to you and you are a driven, dominant type leader that is so focused on the vision you believe to be true, (that may have actually been true 10 years ago) this post is going to make you feel uncomfortable. If you are market leader it will reinforce the importance of why you must wake up each day humble seeking current market truth and create a culture where it’s safe to tell you what your asking the team to do or say  is nuts.

 

One of the reasons sales plans fail to create sales velocity is “Politically Incorrect Market Secrets” salespeople are afraid to share with you. Trust me, every business, (even yours) can do better. In the dynamic markets we serve today changes are occurring every day and sales teams that have a culture where it’s safe to share current truths, are agile, and they adapt and thrive. Sales teams with culture built in the shadow of a dominant leader(s) that lack the emotional intelligence to consider their vision may be wrong or dated fail. They fail because one of the key components of having an agile sales process is “stand up meetings”. The value of this process is shut down before it begins when your team is only sharing the politically correct answers and not what is really occurring. It’s that simple.

 

The role of sales is a tough job. Each day you will be rejected more than accepted and you need the internal strength to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and make another sales call. However when that fear of rejection is both external in the market and internal within your own team, sales people shut down. They stop looking, listening, sensing and communicating shifts in how their buyers are buying. They stop sharing customer complaints and problems and what they need to achieve their sales goals. When salespeople feel it is internally politically incorrect to share real current market secrets…you have already lost.

 

In a recent blog post that listed 10 reasons why great business plans fail to deliver the top reason was the plan itself was not a good plan. How can this be? You are smart enough…your did your three day get a way of strategic planning…you did not get to the position of senior management by creating plans that do not work. If your culture is one of Hippo’s (highest paid people in the room) leading by intimidation and making it very clear to you sales team what the “right” answers are before the questions are asked…you will fail to achieve your sales plan. As this post goes on to share; great plans count on a deep understanding of your customer’s needs and problems and not gut instinct and the tribal knowledge of your senior management team. I addressed this common problem in a blog post years ago titled; Attention leaders: Don’t look now but your lack of market knowledge is showing

 

 

In another post in the Harvard Business Review discussing “40 ways to crash a new product launch” the number one reason why your new product launch will fail, and sales will miss the sales plan is; no market research was done. Why? I believe smart people make good decisions and can shape market leading strategies with current unfiltered market data. If your team does not feel it is safe to share current data, you have a big problem.

 

How can you quickly tell if your sales team has tuned out?

 

  1. Do your salespeople openly share shifts in how buyers are buying on a frequent basis?

 

  1. Do your salespeople share buying experience problems your customers are having?

 

  1. Is it “safe” in your organization to be a Heretic?

 

  1. Have you asked a question and the room full of typically vocal salespeople and everyone becomes silent?

 

  1. Do your salespeople communicate ways your buyers are asking for new and improved service?

 

  1. Are salespeople who share “politically incorrect market secrets” welcomed or chastised in your sales meetings?

 

If you can not say yes to the above five questions, I promise you a number of your salespeople are going through the motions. If you can not say yes to any of the above questions you have a BIG problem. If you honestly can not say yes to all of the above your salespeople  have already shut down and like a robots are showing up and throwing up in front of customers what they hear from you and not listening to your customers. They have lost all accountability for their sales goals because you have emotionally beaten it out of them. Mentally they are saying; “screw it, nobody wants to here the truth, if I share the truth I am criticized in front of my peers and may risk my job security so I will do it ____’s way, I might not hit my goal but at least I will have a job”…and you have lost them. Is that who you want?…salespeople going through the motions or do you want and need sales super stars?

 

Ya, that’s what I thought….

 

The good news is you can change and adjust. The reality is there was a time you were tuned in to your market, your buyers, how your buyers bought and the criteria they used to make buying decisions. You did not achieve a senior leadership position based on luck but on hard work and achieving results. Let’s rekindle that spark that propelled your career and let’s position you to lead your team and blow your sales goals out of the water. Are you in? If so the quickest two ways I have used to help senior leaders clearly understand the markets they serve is booking what I call four legged sales calls. On these calls, working in the field with your salespeople your main goal is to seek to understand. You are to be a sponge listening and asking open ended questions. The second is from this day forward creating a sales culture that keeps and attracts sales super stars.

 

Don’t ask, don’t tell sales leadership is not a proven method to achieve profitable sales growth.”

– Mark Allen Roberts

 

Are you a salesperson who feels it’s unsafe to share the truth? If so please comment…

 

Are you a leader who feels I am totally wrong and your team is to do what you tell them to do?…bring it, share your thoughts…

 

Do you have sales meetings where its very obvious politically incorrect market secrets are not safe to share?

 

Are you a sales performance consultant or a sales coach and you have seen this problem? Please share how you have helped the leader and team create a culture where it was safe to share market secrets.

As the leader what do you really want more? to win and achieve your objectives?…or have a team of robots scared to share market truths and fail? …

When I find myself personally struggling with this, I am reminded of Proverbs 16 and how we are instructed; Pride comes before destruction.

 

Good Sales Results Today Does Not Immunize Your Sales Team From Poor Sales Performance in the Future

By Mark Allen Roberts

Assuming since you have never experienced poor sales results you never will is like assuming since you have never caught the flu you will never get sick. I hear it all the time; “Mark your content about staying close to how and why your buyers are buying is interesting but we don’t have a Sales Problem to fix”. Congratulations, and I hope it stays that way. My personal experience for over 30 years now has seen however businesses operate in cycles. One predictable cycle you want to avoid is when the phone “just stops ringing” and you don’t know why.

The leading cause of why businesses experience poor sales performance is losing touch with their market, their buyers, and specifically how they buyers buy and the criteria they are using today.

I returned home from Walgreens after getting my annual flu shot and my mind was racing with all the misperceptions the others in line were sharing about the flu, how you get it, how to cure it and so on. Imagine my surprise when my own wife said “why do you get a flu shot every year?….I have never had a flu shot and I have never had the flu” I went on to share with her that I am happy she has never been sick with the flu, and that just because she has never had the flu it does not mean she never will. The flu changes, evolves and new strains are born everyday and she may have been immune to the past strains but that is no assurance she is immune to current or future viruses.

I will close out this train of posts on how just as there are myths about the flu we also find myths about sales, sales performance and how to prevent poor sales performance. Myths that become beliefs over time are dangerous as they often impede and impair the preventative measures that could have kept your business healthy. Businesses you do not stay close to their markets and their buyers run the risk of poor sales. If your business is in the practice of telling your market as apposed to serving your market are already infected and will experience a poor sales performance outbreak often at the least convenient time. As someone who helps businesses get back on track and build sales velocity, I listen for common statements that indicate a virus is present in the core of their sales team. I listen for comments like;

Our buyers don’t need that…

Our buyers do not value …..

No one in our industry does…so why should we?

Our customers are not smart enough to understand…

Everyone in our industry has this policy …

We have been in business for 50 years we know what our buyers need…

We can not afford to ….

And my recent personal favorite: No buyers in our industry use the internet or social media in making buying decisions.

As I have said before, (and will probably say again soon) you could say that…but you would be wrong!

As someone who spends time in markets, a variety of markets, meeting with buyers on a regular basis one common trait they all have is buyers use the internet to educate themselves. The role sales once played as keepers of the product features and benefits information keys is over. Industry statistics show  70%-80% of the sales process is over before the buyer calls you today. Where are they gathering information about products that can solve their immediate problems? We see they are using the internet, social networks, industry trade group forums, and utilizing technology to gain product referrals and recommendations.

Not sold yet? Don’t believe me? Ok….In a recent Forbes article the author shared 19 things successful people do using social media. The article shares how 69% of adults admit to using social media. Ah ..I hear those voices again …”Not in OUR industry Mark”…Really?

Lets take a look at a recent white paper by HIS Global Spec titled; Social media use in the Industrial Sector. I really want everyone to download and read this report’s content. Some of the findings included;

  • 81% follow business / groups within their industry
  • 26% reference or read work related content
  • 36% had a Google + account
  • 47% view you-tube for work related purposes
  • 85% viewed you-tube product demos
  • 80% viewed How to video on you-tube

Why? Why and how are people even in the industrial B2B sector using Social media?

  • 52% keep up with the latest industry news and technology
  • 48% reach additional contacts and network
  • 37% find peer reviews and recommendations

If your business does not believe that up to 80% of your buyers are doing their homework on the web prior to calling your salesperson, or that your buyers are not using social media I can only guarantee you one thing; your company is invisible to a large number of buyers who are actively searching to solve problems your company can solve for them. Web sites that are basically virtual brochures that take up cyber space because we are supposed to have one because everyone else does do not help sales teams achieve sales goals or create a 21st Century Sales Pipeline.

Market leaders understand how their buyers buy, where they shop and gather information and leverage technology to insure their product or service solution is found.

Has anyone on your team said: “our buyers do not use the internet”?

Have you been in a meeting where a senior leader said we do not need to invest in that social media mumbo jumbo…?

How were your sales results from your last new product launch?

Are your salespeople asking for more or less qualified leads to meet with?

Some business leaders believe because they have never had sales problems in the past they never will and this is like believing if you have never had the flu you never will. The reality is just as flu viruses change over time so too will your buyers, their buyer journey and buying criteria. One change we all must face is buyers today are using the internet more than ever before and they are leveraging social media. To immunize your sales from future sales problems you must embrace the process of understanding how your buyers buy and strategically embrace new technologies the buyers are using today.

Improve Sales; Practice “Clean Sales Management”

By Mark Allen Roberts

Relying on old dated and often false market beliefs will result in sick sales performance. Growing your business profitably is not about continuing to consume the beliefs that got you here in hope they will help you to grow in the future. The only way sales leaders can insure their sales teams do not experience poor sales performance is to practice “clean sales management” daily.

In my last post I shared how sick sales performance is much like catching the flu, and far too often sales leaders believe a number of myths about what caused the poor performance and how to cure sick sales. Another myth about how to improve sales is to do more of what you have always done. This like believing if you normally take a handful of vitamins each day, taking two will cure the flu… it’s simply not true. Some believe they just need to better manage (micro manage) their way to healthy sales and this is simply not true. The flu is something you catch by coming in contact with it. You touched a door knob, a car door, shook someone’s hand and you picked up the flu virus. At some point that virus then entered your system and you got sick. The best method of avoiding catching the flu is to wash your hands frequently and use hand sanitizer so the virus is killed before it enters your body.

Practicing clean sales management involves being in your market with your salespeople on four legged sales calls. You wash those old beliefs that may have got you to this point clean each day and humbly approaching your market and listening and observing  how buyers want to buy, the process they are using today, and the criteria that they require to purchase from you.

Understanding how your buyers are buying today and what their buyer’s journey looks like , is like taking a daily shower in hand sanitizer ; it immunizes your sales team from poor sales performance.

Doing more of what you have always done is not the way to fix poor sales performance today. You must get out in your market and clearly understand the problems your buyers have and how they seek to solve them.

How are your sales performing to date?

Are you trying to manage fruit ripe? Or are you strategically, humbly, seeking to understand your market?

Is someone in your senior leadership team starting conversations with; “When I carried a sales bag we….”?

Is anyone in your senior leadership Monday KPI meetings starting their point with “I think we should…..” instead of sharing current market data?

Practicing clean sales management is the only way to immunize your sales team from poor sales performance. If you find your team is experiencing sick sales it’s often because you allowed an old belief of how and why your buyers buy to infect your sales process. The quickest cure is to get out in your market and determine how your buyers are buying today.

Improve Sales; You Can’t Have Poor Sales Performance because of “The Economy” Alone


The first quarter of each new year often starts out as a struggle for sales teams to achieve their new goals. Your sales team has received a new and bigger goal, (there’s a high probability they missed last year’s goal) and now your team’s sales performance is poor or put another way; it is sick. When you ask your salespeople why you will often hear them rationalize  since “the economy” is bad  their sales performance is also suffering. Assuming your team’s poor sales performance to goal is solely based on a “poor economy” is like believing if you go to bed with a wet head you will wake up with the flu…it’s simply not true.

As I shared in a previous post it is not just a sales training problem, or a sales management problem it is often so much more. Before we can clearly diagnose why your sales team is experiencing poor sales performance we need to identify a squash myths your team may believe.

I was in the line at Walgreens to receive my annual flu shot and I could not help but listen as people in line shared myths that they believed to be true about the flu and the flu shot it’s self. This reminded me of the myths I have heard over the years about poor sales performance and I wanted to dispel some of the reasons people use to rationalize poor sales performance.

I remember my mother telling us kids that if we went to bed with a wet head we would wake up sick. So we made sure we completely dried our hair before we went to sleep each night. We believed this to be true so we took action based on that belief. The strange thing is we still got sick on occasion and on those nights we did go to sleep with a wet head, we did not wake up sick the next day. (our hair may have had a mind of its own in the morning but we were not sick) However now as a parent I find myself sharing this myth with my children as if it were true. If you look into and investigate this myth you find that is it simply not true. (Sorry mom)

What myths do you and your sales teams believe to be true but make no sense?

One way salespeople today are rationalizing poor sales performance is; the economy. Specifically they share that the economy is the reason why they are not achieving their sales goals. It’s a lot easier to blame external factors than to look inwardly. Blaming the economy is actually a sign your team lacks accountability and is identified as one of the five sales management blunders. What is scary to me is so many actually believe this to be true. Admittedly the economy has an impact on sales performance. With the economic conditions  we have been living in buyers have changed. As the leader of your business you must understand those buying process and buying criteria changes and adjust. If you do not one day you will wake up with sick sales and your lack of market knowledge will be showingthis is usually where the “sales hunter” becomes the hunted.

As a leader you must not accept your sales team feeling like victims to the economy and you must position them to becoming victors in your marketplace.

How is your team performing to goal?

Have any of your sales team shared: “The Economy” as the reason they cannot hit their sales goals?

When was the last time you went on four-legged sales calls to see for yourself?

Do you know why buyers buy from you? Why they don’t?

Are you practicing “clean sales management”?

Believing “The Economy” is the main reason your sales team is not achieving goal is like believing if you go to bed with a wet head you will wake up with the flu….it is simply not true. If you want to identify the truth cancel a few meetings and get out in your market and ask some questions. After about 6-8 meetings with buyers you will identify true “why’s” that are contributing to your poor sales performance and be well on your way to creating a sales improvement roadmap that will turn around your results.

Improve Sales; How do you improve sick sales before they become terminal? Not a sales management issue

In my last post I shared that sales teams have received their new sales goals and often the results first quarter are sick and not close to plan. This time of year in particular, sick sales is an epidemic. Unfortunately their leaders misdiagnose the symptoms and the sales flu lingers and sick sales can become terminal if not properly treated. One common mistake teams make is assuming they can just manage their sales teams to better performance.

As I shared in a post some time ago; “you can not manage fruit ripe”. Curing sick sales is not about taking a quick pill and driving your sales team to work harder. However if you ask CEO’s a number 32% of them believe they just need to make their salespeople work harder. That’s one of the reasons why I often share with companies that sales should not report directly to the CEO?

As we discussed symptoms of your team having the sales flu include;

  • new product sales missing plan by 30% or more
  • key sales performers leaving after last year’s bonus’s are paid
  • gross profit decrease of 3% or greater in the last 30 days
  • loss of a key account
  • 40% or more of your sales team missing sales goals
  • Your competitor launched a new product that took the market by storm

If you misdiagnose the sales flu as a sales management problem you are likely to start popping some quick pills to remedy the symptoms like; launch a CRM system, increase the frequency of sales meetings, add new sales reports, and possibly start interviewing new potential team members to upgrade your talent.

CRM solution

I am not saying adding a CRM system or upgrading the one you have will not add value. However if you do not clearly understand the process buyers are using to buy , and mirror your repeatable sales process to the way buyers want to buy, even the best CRM system will not help your teams results.

Increase the frequency of sales meetings

I see teams go from quarterly and month sales meetings to weekly sales meetings when sales results need to improve. Managers who use this tactic believe the problem they are having is an accountability problem and subscribe to the old adage “ the beatings will stop when the moral improves” and we know that is not the case. They believe if the salespeople have to report poor results, frequently enough, the sales results will improve. From my experience this will not motivate your top sales performers and actually result in their leaving your team and joining a competitor.

Add new sales reports

The assumption with this tactic is the salespeople do not know their sales results are sick so adding a few more reports will somehow improve their sales results. This tactic, like more meetings, results in your salespeople spending more time not selling and actually hurts your teams sales performance.

Hire new salespeople

Leaders who immediately start interviewing new salespeople when their sales performance is sick are looking for a quick fix and often fail to consider they may be introducing a new disease to their current team. This tactic believes the reason for your poor sales performance has to be your people and its time to upgrade your talent. If a sales manager on your team recommends this tactic I guarantee its because they have not spent enough time in the market with their current salespeople. In my experience the biggest reason why sales performance suffers is poor marketing and not understanding the sales opportunity, and not inexperienced sales people.

Is your team considering the purchase of a new CRM to improve sales?

Have you already announce more frequent sales meetings to fix sales?

Are you asking your salespeople to spend more time writing reports and less time in front of buyers?

Have you started looking for new sales talent to upgrade your team’s skills?

All of the above may make you feel someone better, but you are not taking the time to truly diagnose the reason(s) your sales performance is not meeting goal. The quickest way to truly understand what your salespeople are experiencing is spending time on four legged calls meeting with potential buyers.Trying to improve sales performance without clearly understanding your market is like taking an antibiotic to make the flu go away.” You may  feel you are taking the appropriate action but the sick sales symptoms will linger and often make your entire team miserable.

Fixing Sales Performance Problems; Frequently not a “How To “Answer

I am passionate about fixing sales problems and growing businesses profitably. For 30 years now I have been selling and or leading sales and a big mistake I often see executives without a sales background make is assuming the sales problem is a “How-To” ( Salespeople  do not know how to…)  problem when in most cases it’s a “Want-To” problem. (Salespeople do not see how this change will benefit them)

If you Google the word “Saleswill find over 2.7 billion entries.

If you search “Sales How To” you will find close to 4 billion entries.

If you search Amazon there are over 1.8 million books written on Sales.

If we search the words Sales Seminar you will find over 37 million entries.

And last if you search for Fix Sales Problems there are 175 million entries.

So let these numbers digest a bit and do you see anything odd ? There is a ton of “how to” advice about the topic of sales ….I wonder why? With so much How to information available, why are businesses still struggling with sales?

I had a meeting recently with some executives who shared their sales problems. I would love to say it was some unique new dilemma but in reality it’s something I have seen many times. As I asked questions I could tell they had researched this issue and found many people with similar advice on how to fix their sales problems. They have worked on this problem for over a year and have not seen measurable improvements. Why?

What have they done to this point?

Why is fixing sales problems so are to execute?

Defining areas to fix is pretty easy; however driving a behavioral change in your salespeople is very difficult.

The key to making any change in how you lead your salespeople is your  salespeople must be sold to want to make the change. They must see that this new technique, way, process, sales tool,technology will somehow make them more money and help them hit their sales goals or whatever you implement will fail…it’s just a matter of time. As a salesperson at heart and having led sales teams, I have researched  the personality of successful sales people and one common trait is a high score in the Utilitarian personality trait. This trait basically says; Salespeople do things if they feel what they are doing or about to do will somehow produce a desired reward in a short amount of time. The quicker this new technology and or training help them make more commissions the higher your probability of your sales team embracing and executing a new behavior. A behavior repeated over and over again becomes a habit and that’s what we all strive for.

One of the leading frustrations of CEO’s is sales execution. You have an off site meeting for three days and create a strategic plan and tactics with key performance indicators. One of your action items was sales training and its completed, but six months into the year the CEO discovers the salespeople are not doing anything different than last year ( and we all remember how bad those sales number were)…why?… Because no one sold the salespeople on why these changes, software, techniques would make them more income. Sales failed to make a change because you tried to solve a “want to” problem with a “how to” solution.

What new product or sales training has your team had in the last 12 months? Have you seen an improvement in sales?

Are all your salespeople using that new CRM System you just invested in? Why not?

Did you see a noticeable return on investment from those sales seminars last year?

If you answered no to any of the above you have been trying to solve your sales problem with a “how to” and failed to make it a “want to”

My wife teases me all the time that salespeople are the easiest people to sell…and its true! Why not sell your team instead of tell your team the next time you want to implement something new to support your vision to create sales velocity in your organization?

Fix Sales Performance; Stop Playing “Marko Polo “With Your Buyers

When we were young we often played the kids game Marko Polo in a pool or any body of water for that matter. The person who was “it” would close their eyes and shout “Marko” and all the others in the pool where not it would yell “Polo” . The objective of the game was if you were saying Marko to locate and tag others who said Polo and you win. Far too many salespeople today act like they are “it” and blindly shout out features and benefits to anyone in their market who will listen , just hoping one of their buyers yells polo and they can reach them fast enough to make a sale before the buyer moves.

Salespeople who do not allow buyers to play “Marko Polo” achieve and surpass sales goals.

I was asked to help a top sales star on a large elephant sale he was working for over six months but for some reason has not been able to close. I asked to meet with the buyer to try to understand what was preventing this salesperson from closing this order that could make his, and his companies’ sales year. On the drive to the account the salesman shared how he saw this opportunity as pretty straight forward. The buyer contacted him about six months ago and wanted to meet to discuss products and get a quote that may be able to fix a problem she was having. The sales person went on to say how every time he follows up on this proposal, the buyer changes something and needs to speak with someone new or adds another criteria that is very important and this has stalled the sale.

We met with the buyer and she shared that she did in fact contact the salesman six months ago because she found his product on the internet doing some research, asked around in her network and felt it would be a perfect solution to a problem her company was having. She asked for a quote and she went on to say how the salesperson did a great job of sending her a quote for what she requested within 24 hours. I could feel something was definitely off in this salesperson – buyer exchange so I started asking questions. I wanted to clearly understand the problem and the buyer was more than willing to share and actually take us both on a tour and showed us the situation. (this was the first time in six months this salesperson had been beyond the meeting office adjacent to the lobby) As I continued to ask questions I found the salesperson was firing features and benefits that could possibly solve the question …”Marko”. The buyer would then grow quiet as the salesperson played feature and benefit bingo just hoping something he was trained to say would stick and help close this big sale. I would start asking more questions and the buyer invited me to meet with their chief engineer who was in charge of the technical application and integration of whatever product they decided to purchase. I continued to ask questions and this engineer brought up new criteria and expectations the buyer had yet to share. I asked if anyone else was involved in the project and the buyer and engineer smiled and said “well this is Bob’s plant and nothing new goes into this plant without his blessing”. So I asked if we could meet Bob and they said he is typically a really busy guy who does not meet with vendors, but we will try.

Bob was in his office, perch if you will over looking the entire facility. The engineer asked if he had a minute and he saw all of us in his doorway and quickly said no, just gather their information and email it to me. So I stepped forward and introduced myself and said the reason we wanted to meet him was we understood this was his plant, and we were quoting this project to solve the problem we discussed and wanted to make sure we completely understood the problem from his perspective and wanted to make sure we gathered all the requirements . Bob agreed to give us 5 minutes and an hour latter we left his office.

When we returned to the buyer’s meeting office the salesperson moved into an awkward at best close. He even went as far as saying he could probably get a discount since their prices were going up in 30 days. REALLY? I could not believe he was using a tactic that might work on his small mom and pop accounts on this multinational corporation. The buyer grew quiet again. I quickly asked if we could meet again next week and present the ideal solution based on everything the buyer, engineer, and Bob shared.

The trouble with this sale is what I call “Marko Polo sales”.

How do you know if your salespeople are “Marko Polo selling?

  1. The buyer asked for a quote of a specific product and that’s what they received.
  2. Your salesperson does not know or understand the problem the buyer wants to solve.
  3. Sales has not identified all the decision makers and influencers
  4. Sales quickly provided a quote “Marko
  5. Every time the salesperson follows up something new comes up or someone new has to approve the quote “Polo
  6. The buyer is often not sure what the entire problem is to be solved so they are gathering information and share new criteria on each call. “Polo
  7. The sales person plugs the opportunity into their CRM system and calls the buyer every 2-3 weeks to see if they have made a decision? “Marko”
  8. Often the buyer goes dark and fails to respond to email or voice messages.
  9. Sales proceeds to get more aggressive trying to close and calls the buyer more often “Marko
  10. Ultimately the buyer makes a decision to buy your product or leave the pool “Polo

Unlike the child’s game if you catch someone leaving the pool you yell “fish out of water” and win….in sales you lose. Chances are the buyer found another salesperson who took the time to clearly understand the problem and their quote just felt right.

If you ask your sales star why the deal everyone thought he would close fell though he will say Price, Availability, and my particular favorite the competitor’s product had a feature ours did not have. In reality, if you do win loss calls buyers will tell you why they did not buy and price is not even on the list.

If you want to Fix Sales Performance; Stop Playing “Marko Polo “With Your Buyers!

We returned to the account a week later and presented an different solution and we asked our product engineers to also attend to answer any technical questions that may arise and after the presentation we took Bob and team to a near by installation so he and his team could speak with someone using our products. My client won the sale and went on to win all their facilities from what I understand over the next few years.

Are your salespeople playing “Marko Polo” with your buyers?

Have you lost a large order you thought you were going to win in the last six months?

Why did your salesperson say you lost this order?

Did you conduct a win loss call with the buyer to verify?

One of my early mentors used to say “time kills deals” The longer a possible sale drags on the less your probability of closing. When salespeople do not understand the problem being solved and just quote what the buyer asked for they run the risk of playing Marko Polo and having experienced buyers just leave the pool.