This post originally appeared on The Washington Business Journal's BizBeat Blog.
Answer these five questions about your sales and business results:
- Is your sales cycle getting shorter?
- Do your customers and prospects properly value you, your company and your offerings?
- Are you able to control price?
- Are your margins expanding?
- Are you able to connect with the people you want quickly and effectively?
If you’ve answered “no” to two or more of these questions, than your business and sales efforts are in the danger zone.
Over the last 20 years, I’ve worked, firsthand, with more than 1,500 small and mid-market companies and nearly 10,000 salespeople. I’ve learned that only about 5 – 10% of companies or salespeople can confidently and accurately say “yes” to four or more of these statements – and it’s costing them hundred of thousands to millions of dollars in lost sales, profits, income and business value.
What’s worse, I’ve also learned that it’s rarely their fault. They’re working hard enough, they care enough, they’re smart enough and they’re good enough to make far more money and have far more impact than they are. The problem isn’t their behavior – it’s their approach.
There are three mistakes made in 90% of sales approaches that are destroying your efforts and need to be stopped immediately.
- Stop focusing on the “We-do’s.” Always remember, your customers and prospects don’t care about you or your company. Stop talking about yourself and start focusing on your customers’ key issues.
- Solutions are just another word for commodity. If I hear another salesperson telling me about the value of their “solution,” I might lose it. Customers have more solution options than they can manage. Instead, dig deeper into your customers’ problems and you’ll be treated like a valuable asset.
- Stop assuming! If you’re creating value in the sales process, you understand your customers’ problems better than they do. You need to slow down and help your customers diagnose their issues. You must get your customers to understand the causes and consequences of their problems. Stop talking about the value of doing business with you, and instead help them understand the cost of not doing business with you.
Join me in future posts here as I share insights, experiences and tools so you can build your sales system to drive growth, profits, incomes and business equity value - effortlessly.