Andrea hated the pressure of selling. After three years in the business of selling payroll services Andrea thought she would be past this stage of professional development. Day after day, call after call it was still there; that pressure to convince someone that you are th
e perfect fit for their company when the market offered so many options. Andrea had to admit that at times she felt like she was lying to get a sale. The competition was not really any better or worse capable to deliver what the market expected for their services. At this point Andrea felt trapped by her inability to be gung-ho about her company. Was it like this in every sales job? Was there anywhere that the old feature and benefit routine did not exist in the sales culture?
Amanda was working through her list of live opportunities after putting her pipeline through a “kill it or close it” exercise. She set up appointments to move her sales process along with several of the live opportunities. She was steadfast in naming her meetings, sending homework, and even let some her more notorious feet draggers know these were decision meetings. She was ready to do what she had to do to start meeting her sales goals for the quarter. The week went by and she collected some yeses, found out some opportunities were not the right fit and still had two clients that could only utter the words, “sounds great. I need some more time.” No matter how much she tried to find the deal breakers, they would not budge. In fact, these last two holdouts had been in her pipeline for months. She just was not sure if anything was ever going to change.
Ella opened her calendar on Monday and saw Zoom invite after Zoom invite. She knew most of the calls were important but was not sure why so many of the calls needed to happen over a video platform. “Does everyone have to do everything on video,” Ella quietly asked herself. While video calls on Zoom and other platforms were helpful at the onset of the Covid pandemic for Ella to stay connected, now it seems like they are tying her more to her desk when she knows some of her clients were comfortable with face-to-face visits at this point. She knows she can use the video applications while in the field but worries some clients might feel she is not as engaged as they would like if she is not able to join with video capability. Ella is ready to move past the Covid challenges and return to business as usual.
Chris is concerned about his sales team. They are active, they are selling, and sales are up but margins are way down. The business model allows reps to be flexible in the field and sell at the prices they feel appropriate. But something is missing, and Chris is unsure how to help his field reps get more margin. He doesn't want to kill the ability of his reps to set pricing in the field, but doesn't know what information they need in order to be better at the task.
Rob had enough of the constant scrambling he did last year, so he has decided that this coming year he will focus on the resolve, the commitment, and the consistency required to be the pro that he knows he can be. Besides his business plan, he needs a personal roadmap that will guide him to the results he wants in the New Year. This is driven by his dream, goal, and plan.
2020 vision, a term that meant something very positive as I was growing up, conjures up an entirely different thought as this year concludes. Normally 2020 vision means your eyesight is excellent with no need for corrective lenses or surgical procedures to see the world around you as it actually exists. After all that happened, I offer that 2020 vision is what we all should have developed as we endured the challenges of this year. All of us have been forced to keep our spirits high, our motivation positive and our commitment strong as the Covid 19 pandemic threw a fast ball, a curve ball, and a knuckleball at us this past March. 2020 gave us all a chance to see how tough you had to be when you had to be tough.
After a busy Monday morning, Corinne was getting hungry and decided to head to lunch. She and a couple of the other salespeople sat down at the diner close to the office and talked shop over their meals. When the check arrived, Corinne opened her wallet and discovered she was a few dollars short of her part of the tab and tip. Someone covered for her, but Corinne started thinking about how often she felt like her commission earnings left her struggling to pay her bills. On her first call that afternoon, the prospect sensed that Corinne was a bit desperate and took advantage of the situation by demanding a deep discount on the order he was dangling in front of her. All Corinne could think about was her experience at lunch a couple of hours earlier, so despite the fact that this sale wasn’t going to pay her very much, she caved in and accepted the deal. Getting a little commission sure beats getting no commission, she thought, and so throughout the rest of week, Corinne found herself accepting weak deals from anyone she tried to sell to. She knew her sales manager wanted better margins, but she was so afraid of not making rent that his message had no impact on her.
Pierre’s first year in sales flew by faster than he realized. When he started in mid-January Pierre learned that sales success required more than a big smile, a firm handshake and a glossy brochure. What Pierre did not learn is what else he needed to learn to be consistently producing at the rate of the high performers in his company. What grew even more aggravating for Pierre was that now 10 years into his career he still had not learned what he needed to do to become a sales leader. Yes, Pierre was selling more, but no, Pierre still felt like there was lots more he could be selling with all his experience.
Whitney sat stunned after a phone call from one of her top three accounts saying they were asking her to provide new submittals for the insurance policies covering their business. The request took Whitney by surprise despite the fact that the pandemic had lots of clients inquiring about coverage changes and possible premium reductions. The surprise was because this client was someone she had taken excellent care of, gone above and beyond for numerous times, visited personally at least twice a year and socialized with as families. Whitney asked herself, “doesn’t anyone care about the relationship anymore? Is every client just shopping for a lower premium despite all I have done for them?” Whitney was angry, upset and questioning everything she thought about what made business relationships work.