I shared the below excerpt with the #SalesTruth Book Launch Team over the weekend. The response was so strong and their confessions and frustrations posted in the comments so revealing that I felt compelled to post the excerpt here.
This is out of Chapter 5 – To Win More New Sales Requires Focus on Winning New Sales – in a section titled “Internal Meetings and Account Management Overload Do Not New Sales Make” and follows stories and examples from my clients where salespeople were being tasked with all kinds of responsibilities that kept them from their primary job – selling!
“…Trust that I could fill the rest of this book describing and decrying the non-revenue creating activities I see filling salespeople’s days, weeks, and months. From the record-setting truck salesperson whose business began to slide because he was forced to sacrifice selling hours in order to deliver all the trucks he was selling, to the tech company underperforming sales development rep who was more than happy to spend eight hours decorating for the company Halloween Party. It’s criminal. And if it isn’t a crime, it should be!
Salespeople are the forward-deployed troops, those soldiers on the very front lines – on mission to take new ground, to create new customer relationships and to expand revenue within existing relationships. Assignments and tasks, no matter how important, whether voluntary or mandated, which take them away from their main mission, hurt sales results in the long run.
To the salesperson who wants to start winning more new sales, it is imperative to begin spending the majority of your time executing the activities that actually create new sales. I’m not trying to be funny or condescending; I’m simply holding up a mirror for you. Answering customer service-type emails is not new sales-generating activity. Neither is running out a delivery to a customer. Nor gathering the info necessary to invoice a customer. And volunteering to sit on committees or spending endless hours decorating for company parties is about the biggest waste of time I can imagine. Let your company find others who aren’t responsible for driving top-line revenue to organize team-building events, chair committees, or trim the company Christmas Tree. Everyone (including you and your family) is counting on you to do your primary job and doing it well!
The people who preach that sales is service and service is sales are at worst dead wrong, and at best, telling a very incomplete story. I have seen no evidence that over-serving an existing customer, particularly one that is not growable (more on that topic in Chapter 9), drives new revenue. In actuality, the #SalesTruth is that I see the opposite. The salesperson who lives trapped in an account management and service-first mentality is usually at the very bottom of the ranking when it comes to developing new business. My hope is that you will respond to this chapter by taking a long look at your mindset, your calendar, and your priorities. To get serious about increasing sales requires getting serious about where you spend your time and serious about prioritizing high-payoff sales behavior over customer service, account management, or good corporate citizen tasks.
To sales managers frustrated at their teams’ poor performance relative to acquiring new relationships within accounts, acquiring new customers, new market share, or new business in general, I would strongly suggest taking time out from your own normal crazed routine to simply observe how your people spend (waste) their time. Your sales results shortfall might be as easily explained as your sellers having lost sight of their primary job – growing revenue!”
Sales Friends, I challenge you to take 60 seconds while this is fresh in your mind and make a list of the things you are doing (whether by your choice or mandated by your company or boss) that steal your time and energy and distract/divert you from your primary job – driving NEW revenue. Then pick one from that list and commit to doing something about it – whether that be breaking a habit, being quicker to delegate a low-value task to someone else, or maybe you need to have a hard conversation with an executive at your company to share the frustration that is hurting your sales effort.
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