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Most business systems are geared to generate incremental change – continuous improvement – necessitated by the replicability built into corporate DNA. At times, incremental change isn’t enough. How do we know when it’s time for a sales paradigm shift? Look for anomalies. In particular, not enough 1st sales meetings.
We have become too civilized, as Mickey tells Rocky in the movie: Rocky III. For more, please click here.
Link to the Forbes.com article:
Please click here.
Not Enough Sales Meetings – Time for a Paradigm Shift
Most business systems are geared to generate incremental change – continuous improvement – necessitated by the replicability built into corporate DNA. At times, incremental change isn’t enough. How do we know when it’s time for a sales paradigm shift? Consistent with the shift from the Newtonian to the Einsteinian world view?
From a scientific perspective, we start by noticing anomalies. Outcomes not predictable or explained by the existing selling model. The Einsteinian paradigm shift was needed to explain the dual nature of energy, first observed in the late 1800’s.
We face a similar challenge in selling. The older selling models worked in a less competitive environment. The basic universal observable sales anomaly is: the failure to secure enough appointments with new customers. Here’s how one owner expressed the idea:
“We have a great selling system. We kill it, if we get in front of the customer. Our challenge is: we don’t get enough “at bats”, not enough new appointments.”
Not a selling problem?
Most companies don’t “close” on enough new appointments – they don’t earn the right to open an opportunity. They die at the “I’m good” objection, or never even try hard enough to harvest “I’m good”.
The “selling methods” which worked when markets were growing – when all you really needed was a strong customer service rep – are ineffective in the face of tough entrenched competition and vendor reduction programs.
Many CEO’s and owners are baffled. Not realizing they committed the 4th Fatal Flaw of selling – using robust strategy as a substitute for building a powerful business development capability. (To learn about the first 3 Fatal Flaws in Selling, please click here.) When strategy – built into the strategic business unit – is no longer strong enough to open new customers, these companies lack the business development capability needed to maximize cash flow, to finance future innovation and growth. Sometimes they fail.
Companies would develop strong business development capabilities if it were easier – the benefits are obvious. We need the paradigm shift because as a culture we are “too civilized”. We are too social, entering the workforce too focused on wanting people to like us – dooming us for business development.
Here’s how Mickey expressed the idea in Rocky III, explaining why he didn’t want to train Rocky to fight Clubber Lang:
“Well Rock, let’s put it this way–3 years ago you were supernatural, you was hard and you was nasty and you had this cast-iron jaw… but then, the worst thing happened to you that could happen to any fighter… you got civilized!”
We have become civilized.
Imagine! In the 1920’s, salespeople went door to door to sell cars. (See: Birth of a Salesman.)
We need the tough “do or die” business developer to overcome the resistant prospect, who is happy with the incumbent supplier and risk averse. Over and over, the business developer repeats this drama:
In fact, the business developer must open a conversation and take the prospect on a journey through the change curve. (For more detail, see the book: “On Death and Dying.”)
What fortifies the business developer through this repeated cycle of rejection to success? A very special kind of sales culture – hence the need for a paradigm shift:
These qualities enable salespeople to withstand the rejection, apathy, and procrastination they face. It allows the salesperson and the business to flourish.
This requires a paradigm shift. Businesses should not wait till they are facing survival to implement the paradigm shift – supporting the sales hero culture.