It’s like trying to be, mentally and emotionally, in two sales places at the same time! Your employer offers several tiers of products, services, and platforms. You are directed by management to prospect customers who are receptive to all these offerings. You are supposed to be listening for buying signals for each of these tiers – simultaneously.
This scenario makes your brain twist and turn.
One selling cycle is lengthy, strategic, complex, and takes a lot more work than the other sales cycle. One selling cycle can result in a huge win for everyone involved. Your employer mandates that you sell a certain percentage of these lengthier, complex offerings. You are trying to make your numbers.
You are caught behind the sales 8-ball.
You aren’t interested in complex sales. You don’t believe you have the selling stamina to develop, implement and consummate them. You perceive these types of offerings as an either-or selling scenario.
It doesn’t have to be. Think if-then, instead.
Like many sales reps, you prefer selling products and services having a shorter selling cycle: they are easier to close. This short-sales cycle involves less strategic work for you. Those complex strategic sales involve patience and time to grow relationships, create alignment and establish your credibility as the trusted advisor for your company’s offerings.
You evaluate your customer base. The majority of the revenue you drive through your organization – and your own level of earning – hinges on a loyal customer base who continues to purchase this shorter-sell offering. You are a specialist in acquiring these types of customers. You could do this in your sleep.
And that’s the problem.
You are very comfortable, and stuck, in these habits. You may not be receptive to retooling your sales brain. So you are continuously in the middle of the middle performance level for your company.
You provide a comfy status quo that drives revenue through your organization and compensates for resources that are eaten up by reps pursuing longer-term and complex sales. You contribute.
Here are 3 Tips for moving yourself off the comfortable couch of your selling status quo. Hone your sales skills so they are fluid, instead of splintered.
- Consider developing at least one complex sale per quarter. You will find that instead of perceiving sales as an either-or choice of short- or long-sales cycles, your customer acquisition landscape becomes more fluid and rewarding.
- Evaluate the impact of cultivating a base of A-List customers. Your A-List customers offer you the opportunity to showcase your company’s entire arsenal of offerings, over time. The breadth and depth of business development opportunities allow you to establish yourself as a thought-leader and go-to resource when working with these A-Listers.
- Create an if-then attitude towards selling, instead of either-or. When preparing for these A-List selling scenarios, you will carry over your new skill set into the value you bring to your current, short cycle, customer base.
Your selling strategy and style will become more fluid, strategic and valuable when shared across your unified customer base. You will expend less energy, and find your performance more rewarding, as you shift your mindset and habits forward to serve your retooled customer base.
There are more similarities than differences between short and long cycle selling scenarios. There certainly are more opportunities.
Babette N. Ten Haken, President of Sales Aerobics for Engineers®, LLC, catalyzes business transition, startup growth, and professional development. She works with non-traditional sellers, engineers, manufacturers, and technical startups. Babette Ten Haken, and the Sales Aerobics for Engineers Blog, were awarded the 2013 Silver Medal, best Sales Blogger, by Il Commerciale-The Salesman.
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