Have you noticed that your company waits until the fourth quarter to really panic about making your numbers? First quarter of the fiscal year is all about sales kickoff meetings, lots of excitement and enthusiasm, and rosy forecasting. By second quarter, you are hearing about whether you, and your team, are making your numbers or not. That’s when the proverbial beatings continue until morale improves. Except morale doesn’t improve much, does it? And so it continues to go, until widespread panic breaks out end of third quarter, becoming a selling panic tsunami by end of year.
It is difficult, organizationally and individually, to move forward if you don’t understand what is holding you back. It could very well be that you, as a salesperson or a startup in search of early customers, need to assume more responsibility, accountability, and yes, autonomy, for your own sales outcomes.
Sales training programs and books on selling provide guidelines that address archetypical buyer behavior. Except experienced sellers will tell you that business development and selling scenarios never quite resemble what you have been taught to anticipate. So why the disconnect between training and productivity?
It could very well be that we, as individuals, want to be led instead of leading. It could very well be that our buyers are burdened by our requirement that they make a choice. To buy or not to buy, that, indeed, is the question we ask of them.
By fourth quarter, our buyers are in the same state of induced panic that we are. Their own companies are struggling to make their numbers. Our buyers are wondering whether, or not, they should have made those investments in the stuff we were selling.
With everyone in a state of near-panic by fourth quarter, year after year, what is your formula for making your voice heard above all the buying and selling noise? What variables do you bring to the buyer’s economic equation that shifts everyone’s emphasis off a 12-month annual buying cycle?
Consider how working with you, and your company, and your products/services/platforms, provide an enduring investment for your customers. Ponder the economic impact of what you bring to your clients’ business tables. Now that’s a big question.
When you consider your business case from that kind of 10,000 foot eagle’s eye view, the answer involves more than simply making your quarterly or annual numbers. When you perceive your value as being part of a larger societal and economic equation, the answers you provide for customers create C-level value, not just sales level value.
Are you capable of having those types of discussions with your customers and colleagues? You won’t find this information in a sales training program. You will find this provocative information in the plethora of news, blogs, books and insights offered by folks, perhaps outside of your current discipline.
Consider incorporating, at the very least, a regional economic perspective into your business development and selling strategy for 2014. For starters, you, personally, will become a more well-rounded business person of worth. You may shift your book of business towards a different set of like-minded customers who appreciate the enduring value your insights bring to their business tables.
Perhaps then, you won’t be selling from a state of panic. Anymore.
Babette N. Ten Haken, Founder & President of Sales Aerobics for Engineers®, LLC, is a catalyst for business transition, startup growth and personal development. Her book, Do YOU Mean Business, is now available in eReader format!