I am a somewhat (and increasingly) active member on LinkedIn. I recently saw a profile there for a person who is in a similar line of work as mine – working with sales organizations to improve effectiveness, one way or the other. His way struck me as a hard way to get from point A to point B, and it inspired me to write this post.
He positions himself as someone who can help to change the attitudes and beliefs that are core to sales success in the salespeople working in an organization.
Anyone who has read my book, Mastering Your Sales Process, or read my blog for any time will know that I too believe that the attitudes and beliefs held by a salesperson are important keys to success, so why am I critical of the approach of this person I found on LinkedIn?
While I think attitudes and beliefs are important, I also think that they can be hard to change. They can be changed, of course they can, but if I am going to try to help a sales organization be more effective, I am going to start with some things that are easier to change than the inner workings of the current salespeople, and things which have duration.
What do I mean by duration? Let’s say that a company has 5 salespeople, and 3 of them have a high need of attitude and belief changes. Let’s also assume that this person from LinkedIn comes into the company, and has success in making these changes. What has the organization gained from that? A few salespeople who have better thoughts about their jobs and who are now likely to do them better. This is certainly an improvement, but only the salespeople have changed. What if they leave? What will management do then? Hire more bad people and then hire the consultant to “fix” them? There must be a better way than that!
Last month, I wrote a blog post about the correct way to run a sales organization – focused on accountability and growth. It is a preview of my second book, which should be out late winter or early spring. I don’t believe in pointing out a problem (like the change attitude and belief approach to sales consulting) without pointing out a solution, but rather than repeat the same points as I did in the earlier post, please see the blog post titled “Simple but not easy: Book 2 preview” from September 12, 2011.
Affecting sales organization level change is about more than just people. People are very important, but they work in systems and with processes and within a culture and a management framework. Anyone who tells you they can improve your sales organization by changing the attitudes and beliefs of your salespeople is focusing on a very small piece of the puzzle, one that will be hard to change, one which will only yield partial and temporary results, and one with only a somewhat likely possibility for success. You can and should do better. It is simple – maybe not easy, but simple.
Authors note (AKA shameless plugs)
So, this 7-step sales process and associated topics…. Yup, I write about that a lot. I’ve been working with it since I developed it about 25 years ago – in my own diverse work experiences, with my teams when I had them, and with clients ever since.
If you would like to develop you own personalized and customized, highly effective and efficient B2B selling system, here are some further steps you can take:
The Salesman’s Guide to Dating is a free or very cheap (depending on Amazon) Kindle book that walks you through the sales process using the familiar analogy of dating. It’s a good, fun and quick way to get your mind around the whole process and how the pieces fit together.
Building Your Sales Process (BYSP) is a free and very thorough exploration of the same 7-step process that will walk you through the development of your own customized, personal B2B selling system. When you are done, you will know exactly what to do to get new business.
The Momentum Selling System® is an inexpensive but very robust online sales training course that is similar to BYSP, but goes deeper into the concepts behind each of the steps, and also helps you develop a plan not only for the 7-step process but also addresses mindset, repeat business and client base management.
If none of that sounds right, I do personal coaching and offer a free 30-minute intake session so that we can both learn if it makes sense to work together 1-on-1. If this sounds interesting, click over to the coaching page on this site and sign up for the free session.
Here’s to your success!