Written By: Steven Young
The bottom line is that a sale is a game of strategy in which “numbers” are only one part. And, apart from improvement in strategy, process, skills, and techniques, you won’t improve sales.
The Dynamics of a Sales Profession
There is no shortage of easy-to-find resources to help business owners and sales managers improve sales for their companies. So why is the business failure rate so high? There exists among many business owners and sales managers a gross misunderstanding, obstinacy, and/or ignorance about sales. Unlike other professions, the sales occupation is dynamic, which requires a broad base of competencies to function synergistically within a world of continual change—change in:
sales methods—strategies, processes, systems, etc.;
These are a few variables that impact any challenge to improve sales. However, none of these variables account for the source of the problem: sales improvement requires change and change cannot be achieved for these reasons:
1. You Believe That You CAN Improve Your Sales
You are smart, savvy, and enjoy a degree of success that you have achieved. Your resources and competencies could, at any time, afford you the ability to make the required changes in your operation that would yield sales improvement. You know this, and your belief works against you. Your belief supports a rationale that you use to justify your complacency. So, until action realizes your belief, the bottom line is: you won’t improve sales.
2. You Maintain the Status Quo
You enjoy the comfort of familiarity—no surprises, no discovery, and no learning. You simply want to enjoy the rewards of past achievements, derived from all your years of struggle to succeed, which got you to where you are today. Returning to the grind, work that you don’t enjoy, and more learning can wait. As long as you procrastinate and merely maintain the status quo, the bottom line is: you won’t improve sales.
3. You Empower Your Team
You—like most people—don’t enjoy sales. So you entrust your sales to salespeople. After all, salespeople are professionals who enjoy and know all that there is to know about sales, right? Why not empower your best salesperson to manage your company’s sales? You are thinking that it seems logical and will save you money.
Many business owners empower sales people or entrust the company’s President to lead sales. The problem with this is that industry and product knowledge and ability to sell do not make one a competent manager of sales. Empowerment does not instill capability. (Something that achievement of reliable sales growth actually requires). Empowerment of your team can’t be expected to improve your sales.
4. You Are Well-Informed
You are very well informed and perspicacious. And, as a well-informed and perspicacious individual, you’re able to cite and explain the numerous reasons why sales improvement is not possible. So, why try to improve sales? The effort would be futile. Your general knowledge has informed your presuppositions about sales improvement, which you deem truths. Therefore, according to you and the limitation of your knowledge, the bottom line is: “I can’t improve sales.”
5. You’re Simply Wrong
As important as being right is to you, you are simply wrong about a few important things. And no one among your circle of influence can open your eyes to what you can’t see. You’re on your own to figure out your erroneous notions, which have misled you. Sales improvement will remain elusive, unless you’re able to see that you, in fact:
haven’t “tried everything”;
have much to learn;
aren’t a great salesperson;
are not correct about what you need to improve sales.
Whether or not you know best, the bottom line here is that you can’t improve sales.
6. Sales Is a “Numbers Game”
If sales were a “numbers game,” sales improvement would simply require an increase in the numbers. Why can’t those who believe a sale is a numbers game improve their sales? Sales improvement requires much more than the numbers, which pertain to sales activities. In order for activity to be productive, activity must be: based on a strategy that has been proven to be effective; executed through a step-by-step process for the strategy; effectively achieved through well developed skills and techniques related to the process. The bottom line is that a sale is a game of strategy in which “numbers” are only one part. And apart from improvement in strategy, process, skills, and techniques, you won’t improve sales.
Steven Robert Young, creator of IDEAL, and author of "Achieve" and "The Sales Success,"…
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