Your linear selling strategy keeps you from aligning with your buyer’s decision-making processes. Your buyers simply don’t buy in a straight line, orderly manner.
You know it. I know it too.
Yet there you are, like that greyhound perpetually chasing that rabbit in circles around the race track. You never quite catch that rabbit, do you?
If you currently are engaged in end-of-quarter sales mea culpa, or mea quota culpa, it may be time for you – and your manager – to change perspective.
Sales strategies based on linear selling teach you that your buyers make decisions in stepwise fashion. Once you get them to a certain point in their decision-making process, they are ready to move to your next step: your demo, your ROI analysis, your testimonials, etc.
Except they don’t. Because you’ve framed their context through a linear selling lens.
Straight lines, parallel lines, never intersect.
Which means that you are chasing your buyers around in circles, just like those greyhounds in their eternal hunt.
Smart sellers get this. Savvy sellers in your organization have their own processes. Their experience tells them that linear selling may be great for commoditized products and services, where it’s a numbers game.
Complex selling with longer sales cycles isn’t consummated via a philosophy of linear selling.
While you are chasing one buyer in a straight line, there is an entire buying committee operating at a completely different pace, with completely different priorities.
Yes, your company is used to receiving a steady-stream of RFPs and RFQs based on your sales person’s interactions with one buyer. Yet you are short changing your long-term revenue opportunities.
Sure it’s easier to be a linear seller. You’ve only got one target in front of your face at all times. You don’t rely on your peripheral sales vision to identify other opportunities within the organization. Your buyers never get a full perspective of the breadth and depth of your company’s capabilities, either.
Smart sellers frame the problem differently, from the start. They don’t get stuck chasing one target. They identify multiple resources offering multiple opportunities within each of their customers’ organizations. They explore the interrelationships between each of these buying groups.
They sell based on synergy.
If you are short on quota this quarter, review your activities. Are you and your manager focused on linear selling? Might there be a far better perspective to take next quarter?
Babette N. Ten Haken, President of Sales Aerobics for Engineers®, LLC, is a professional development coach and management consultant. She remodels startups. She recalibrates small to medium size companies experiencing unpredictable revenue streams and inconsistent growth and expansion initiatives. Babette’s book on horizontal business development and collaboration strategies, including tools, Do YOU Mean Business? is available on Amazon.com.