Fact: Everyone is in sales. From the executive suite to the cubicle, whether well known in an industry or working fully behind-the-scenes…
All workers, at all levels, are salespeople. Experience does not matter, title does not matter, all of that is meaningless if we don’t recognize and value that our role is primarily to generate revenue.
Love it or hate it, the one measure of your personal success in business is going to be how well you contributed to your company’s bottom line. Having met with hundreds of c level executives at companies of all stripes, I can definitively say there are specific sales “bloopers” I see again and again at the highest level (and every level!) while sitting before the decision-maker.
So here’s how NOT to fumble your biggest opportunities next time they come your way.
Why Your Actions Aren’t Generating Cash
I commonly find that companies put a whole lot of sweat equity into seemingly valuable tasks. For example, refining their operational strategy, making endless product improvements, or tweaking their service time and time again.
You probably read my headline and said to yourself: “Of course I’m generating cash in my company!” But if your day is filled with these distractions, you’re simply daydreaming.
Daydreaming while your product or service — your bread and butter! — is sitting there collecting dust. For all of their “doing,” too many companies haven’t done a single thing that is truly cash-generating. And that is a colossal mistake. A grand error. And it will cost you.
Shift your focus right now to what will move product and generate revenue, and pursue it relentlessly.
You’re Sending the Wrong Message
Many think their passion will be the big fix. “Nobody cares about my success and this company’s success more than me,” you say to yourself. But communicating a great passion can and will be your undoing — if your passion is for something that doesn’t matter to your prospect. Expressing excitement over the things that bore your prospect is a growing plague. Perhaps this is human nature, but we must do everything to avoid it.
Rather than going by your “feelings” about your product or service, make it your passion to know what thrills your prospect. Know what makes them hit that buy button, pick up the phone, sign on the dotted line, shake your hand. You absolutely must make this mental shift or you risk it all. And let’s face it, tooting the wrong horn makes us look like clowns. We must refine our value proposition or suffer the consequences.
A $40 Billion Dollar Mistake — Find the Decision Maker
The statistics are staggering. Companies waste about $40 billion a year on ineffective sales meetings. The primary driver of this egregious waste is based on one thing: the person sitting on the other side of the table.
If the person you are sitting across from is not a decision maker, you are likely not closing a deal during this meeting… or future meetings. That’s time, energy, and money down the drain.
“But it’s not easy to get to them,” you may say. “Building relationships takes time. At least I’m meeting with an influencer!”
If this is your mentality, I’m sorry to say the rungs of your ladder are broken and leaning against the wrong wall. Get ready for a deluge of delays from Mr. Prospect. These come in all shapes and sizes: “Are you on our approved list…” or “I have to ask about…” or “I need to check with…”
40 billion dollars lost each and every year. It’s time to get the right people in your pipeline!
Mastering the Endgame in Sales
Does your “master plan” have a weak endgame? You might not admit it, but it’s important to take a sober look to see if you have this foul habit that I find in SO many salespeople, at all skill levels, and in all industries.
Of course, a great deal of thought and time goes into trying to get that initial meeting.
- Weeks or even months of relationship building
- Phone conversations working your way up the ladder
- Anxious days spent waiting on pins and needles for email replies
Now, you’ve finally landed that meeting. Good job. Time to invest in all the travel expenses (a risky personal investment for those in startup mode!)
- Rental car that fits the bill
- Wining and dining
- Decent hotel
All of this to deliver a (hopefully) spotless pitch, and not fumble. I commend everyone who gets this far, because it isn’t easy. But here’s where the greatest drop-off occurs and we lose a lot of quality opportunities and potential deals.
40 billion dollars annually says the decision maker is the missing link. And even when you do meet with decision maker, most big blunders happen when the stakes are highest, at the tail-end of the meeting.
Remember, no money has been made at this point. The sales process itself, up until now, is not a revenue-generating activity, by any means. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.
What To Do When You Realize it’s All Been a Huge Waste of Time and Money
Maybe you’ve become the statistic. You’re a good person with good intentions, and you got caught off guard. Whatever the case, here you are sitting across from someone who doesn’t call the shots. And later this afternoon, you’ll be flying home (in coach) without a signed contract and a sad story to tell. Right? Wrong.
The smart salesperson can still salvage the sale, so long as they don’t play the victim or become blindsided by this (very frustrating) situation. Instead, gather as much information as you can to help you formulate your plan.
Questions you need to be asking:
- Ask for a referral: Can you take me to the decision maker?
- Can we both present this to your CEO? (Do NOT fall into the trap where you inadvertently hire them to do your job. They will likely ask you to give them the slides of your presentation so they can share them with their CEO on their own time. Don’t do it. You will be outsourcing the most important part of your job (selling your service) to someone who is woefully unqualified.
If you follow through with the above, then no time or money will have truly been wasted (provided your product / service is sold at a decent margin) although you will want to better define your prospecting strategy and avoid meeting with non-decision makers at all costs moving forward.
What To Do When You Realize it’s All About to Pay Off (You have the decision maker)
If you are with the decision maker at this meeting, bravo. Don’t screw it up. Ask open-ended questions, “LISTEN” (remember telling isn’t selling) and NEVER EVER leave without defining your next steps.
Questions you must ask to define your next steps:
- “Do you see any hurdles that will delay us from getting started?”
- “I will send you some additional info as promised, that said, I would like to follow up with you on Monday to discuss today’s meeting and the info I’m sending”
- “I will put together what you’re asking but rather then send it, I would like to come back and go over it in person. I’m sure you will agree it’s always best to discuss the information in person rather than leaving you with questions.”
The effort is always pointed toward the next in-person meeting, your essential final step in closing the sale.
There is so much to consider on the path of sales and prospecting. We would rather keep you in the winning seat, running victory laps rather than running in circles. Get C-Level Partners involved and let us handle the prospecting process for you. Keep the sales appointments flowing in, sit with true decision makers, and start nurturing the relationships that truly matter. Get in touch today and start closing more deals with the proven C-Level Partners TraXion System.