By Mark Hunter –
Now more than ever, you need to stay tightly focused on your goal if you expect to keep your level of sales motivation up. It becomes far too tempting to start chasing after the latest trend when things are not happening at the rate you expect them.
We’ve all done this at one time or another. Sales slow down and suddenly, a new customer appears, a new product comes out or a new sales technique emerges, and you start to think it is the “cure all” for ALL your sales struggles. You begin chasing after the new trend instead of sticking to tried-and-true sales techniques. Ultimately, the only thing that happens when you chase the trend is you waste time and effort on something that ends up de-motivating you.
Our problem begins when we start doubting our current sales strategy, our prospects or some other element in our approach. This opens the door to us becoming distracted. It also makes us more susceptible to being swayed by the new trend or new customer we believe will turn our sales slump into a huge new level. We begin grasping, desperately bouncing around for the “magic” solution that will “fix” our dilemma.
Don’t get me wrong – it is good to be open to new ideas and new customers. Obviously, that’s part of the sales industry. You have to have discernment though. You have to be able to quickly assess what are valid opportunities worth pursuing and valid techniques worth incorporating.
I have always believed it is far better to slightly alter the course than it is to dramatically change the course altogether. Sales are driven by momentum and awareness from both the salesperson and the customer. When you change course dramatically, you no longer have the ability to leverage the momentum and awareness that you have built with current customers and prospects. Sure, you may see a burst of momentum from the thrill of running in a new direction, but this momentum will be lost quickly if sales don’t materialize immediately.
So what does it look like to slightly alter your course? You start to incorporate slight modifications to your selling process. This may include developing new questions to ask prospects, creating a new customer referral program, and/or increasing the number of sales calls you make. All of these changes enhance and build upon what you’ve already done. In other words, you work with the momentum and awareness you have already created.
There is just no substitute for tweaking well-established sales techniques, rather than scrapping them altogether. And this is true no matter what industry you work in. For example, a real momentum killer is when a salesperson will fail to close a sale because they fail to make that one last follow-up call or visit to the client. To use a football analogy, this is like a team’s inability to score from the “red zone” – the last 20 yards on the field just before the end zone.
If a team drives the ball consistently down to the red zone but then fails to score, there has been so much wasted effort. It’s no different in sales. Instead of abandoning the sales strategies that get you “down the field” (so that you can jump on some bandwagon of a slick trend), you would be wiser to simply alter your approach slightly so that you will actually score more. If your current sales techniques are getting you down the field, then maybe all you need to do is add a few more follow-up calls and visits in order to incrementally close more sales.
The best recommendation I can make to any salesperson is to stay focused on the opportunities you have at hand and work to enhance your current processes to ultimately close more sales. The more you stay focused on the prospects you have, the less you’ll be distracted by the latest trend. Let your competitor fall for the new trend. Let your competitor chase after the fleeting opportunity. When they do this, they leave you with more opportunities to actually make more sales.
Mark Hunter, The Sales Hunter, is author of “High-Profit Selling: Win the Sale Without Compromising on Price.” He is a consultative selling expert committed to helping individuals and companies identify better prospects and close more profitable sales. To get a free weekly sales tip, visit www.TheSalesHunter.com. Read the first chapter of his instant-classic “High-Profit Selling” here.