Dave and Janice are both successful sales professionals selling complex IT products and services. Both have had good long runs of meeting and exceeding quotas and expectations. Both have made very good money and enjoyed all of the kudos and benefits of their success.
But now, things have changed.
The economy is bad, clients are pulling back, and business is simply not growing. In short, Dave and Janice are faced with essentially the same dilemma.
They, like you, may be asking these questions:
- What can I do to sell differently?
- What can I do to develop new and profitable clients?
- How can I do a better job ferreting out new opportunities in this economy?
- Is there something that I’m missing in my sales toolkit that others are profiting from?
Do some of these questions sound familiar to you?
Face it – we’ve all read a lot of “quick fix” selling articles that start with “10 Tips” or the “7 Keys” or the “21 Secrets” that promise success selling in a recession. While each starts out promising, they all say essentially the same thing with nothing really new.
Let’s go back to Dave and Janice. By now, they are probably frustrated and under tremendous pressure to perform. As time drags on, both decide to act – but they take very different paths. Dave continues to make more cold calls, write more proposals, ask more questions, collect more business cards, and send more emails. Now, please note that there is nothing wrong with more activity – sales is about your numbers and keeping your activity high, but Dave is going it alone and is determined to dig out of the slump by himself. Janice, on the other hand, has begun to create new client relationships by leveraging the skills and passions of ALL the people around her – both inside and outside her company. Both in the sales department and outside of it. She’s tapping into ideas from customer service, R&D, and marketing. She’s working with the accounting department to follow up on big deals from past clients. She’s reaching out to her vendor and partner network to see where money is being spent – and by whom – to identify juicy new prospects. Janice is also keeping her activity high, but she is taking a much different view of what it takes to develop and close deals.
In short, Janice is identifying new opportunities through sound sales processes AND she is not going it alone. Janice is creating and using her virtual sales team and creating her own sales culture that will accelerate her success in these challenging times and set her up for longer-term stability. Creating a powerful sales culture – an environment where everyone is in sales and where the sales process is transparent to the entire company – is the vital connection to accelerating your sales results!
If you think about what it takes to close a deal, you know that it’s very much dependent on you, as a sales professional, to harness and leverage the skills and talents of everyone around you – your virtual sales team! This is how people like Janice are raising the bar and seeing increased success not only because they have increased activity, but also because they understand that a sales campaign is the same as a movie script needing a powerful cast. Janice is not a one-woman show, but instead she’s the director and choreographer of a cast of talented and skilled people all playing a selling role. She is taking the responsibility to engage and inspire them to be part of her virtual team and to become part of a sales culture. She is proactive – collaborating with her “cast” to help close more and better deals. Janice also figured out one very simple truth. The people around her were all pleased to be asked to be a part of solving the sales challenge and get more deals in the door, thereby ensuring job security for all. Janice is making her sales culture work for her.
Your job as a selling professional allows you the exciting opportunity to use the networks that you have developed both internally and externally to create and mobilize your virtual sales team. You can get more done and close more deals by engaging those around you. You’ll also serve more clients and satisfy more needs. You’ll generate more referrals and create a sustainable enterprise to grow your business.
What successful sales professionals have figured out is that if you adopt a sales culture, you’ll sell more and sell smarter because you’ll never sell alone!