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In one sense, the easiest way to grow sales is through changed sales behavior. We can increase sales 10-20 percent (or more) without substantial investment in new products/offices/facilities/employees.
The catch – salespeople must change their behavior.
This is very challenging and generally entails a three-paradigm shift:
The hardest change is the underlying value code. Too many salespeople sell on social values – they want to make friends versus profitable customers. Successful business development requires we sell on business values – taking a “do-or-die” approach to business.
In parallel with the change in value code is adopting a best practices sales process, embedded in a standard sales call – a step-by-step procedure to remedy the three fatal flaws in the selling process:
Achieving changed behavior usually entails the skills of sales training, change management and sales system design. Top management generally expects sales leadership to have and implement these necessary skill sets for achieving changed sales behavior.
Unfortunately, it is unlikely a strong sales manager has the skills to lead the sales team through a difficult three-way paradigm shift. Sales management’s job is to manage an existing system. Achieving changed behavior requires a specialist skilled in model building – conceiving and implementing paradigm shifts.
Usually, the change process requires a “controlled burn.”
The controlled burn is discussed in Kathleen Eisenhardt’s book, Competing on the Edge, in the context of creating a wildlife preserve in an urban area. Trying to replicate all the factors found in a rural area was ineffective – until leadership realized there are fires periodically in the wild. Instituting controlled burns catalyzed growth and allowed the urban nature preserve to flourish.
Analogously, corporations invite “out of the box” change leadership to perform a controlled burn, to revitalize the sales organism. Essential to a successful controlled burn for the sales team is:
How do you know there was an effective controlled burn? When the process is complete, we observe: