Message to Management: Get the Rocks Off the Road
Sales may not be easy, but it is simple. There are just two parts to sales: 1) Getting in front of the right people, and 2) everything that happens after that.
I’m not trying to be flippant, but let’s tell it like it is and stop complicating the sales process.
The focus of most sales efforts is on part two—conducting a sales call, asking probing questions, proposing, presenting, and closing. How much time and energy do you typically spend thinking about part one—getting in front of the right people? Think about it. If you don’t get in front of the right people, nothing else really matters, does it?
Your Sales Challenge
Most sales organizations struggle with two major business-development challenges:
1. Getting meetings at the level that counts
2. Converting prospects into customers
Referral selling addresses both of these challenges. As an executive or sales leader, when are you willing to take a meeting with a salesperson? When that person is referred by someone you know and trust. I spoke with many executives during our last two recessions. Across the board, they told me they always took calls from salespeople who had been referred. Why? They knew they’d learn something to help their businesses, that they wouldn’t be exposed to product pitches, and that they would build new, productive relationships.
You don’t have to take my word for it. According to a study of 125 senior executives by Responsibility Centered Leadership, the top two reasons they take meetings with salespeople are when they receive a recommendation from a credible source within their organizations, or when they receive an external referral from a respected source.
Your Sales Advantage
When your organization transitions to referral selling, your salespeople will score meetings with the right people and convert prospects into new clients more than 50 percent of the time. Most people say the conversion rate is more than 70 percent. No other sales strategy comes close to these results.
It’s time to make referral selling your primary business-development strategy. Give your sales team the tools and the process to build their referral pipelines. Measure referral activities as well as results. Model the referral process for your team. Tap into your connections, and watch how quickly you generate qualified prospects.
We’re salespeople. We like simple. Don’t overcomplicate things with a long, involved sales process. As a sales leader, your main job is to get the rocks off the road so your team can quickly and easily do what they were hired to do—sell!
What challenges are keeping your salespeople from performing at their best? And how do you help them overcome those hurdles?