Performance above quota: Tips and techniques to become a sales expert
Armin Lear Press (October 2022)
“People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill. They want a quarter inch hole! Theodore Levitt
A long time ago in Chicago, I sold new and used small trucks for International Harvester during the day and Chevrolet passenger cars at night and on weekends. The income earned during those four summers helped finance my college and graduate education. I learned a lot from my mentors who helped me as I began a career in education (teaching English and coaching soccer and basketball at two boarding schools in New England) and then business (corporate communications, business development, and customer relations).
Since then, what is generally known as “sales art” (the HOW) has undergone major changes because customers have changed. That said, the WHAT remains essentially the same: gaining and keeping a sufficient number of profitable customers, many of whom become an extended sales force, what Jackie Huba and Ben McConnell characterize as “customer evangelists.”
In this recently published book, Steve Weinberg suggests that these are some of the main reasons why a sales quota is not reached, if not exceeded:
o Insufficient or unproductive prospecting
o Not thoroughly qualifying leads
o Poor preparation of calls and meetings
o Inadequate communication with prospects
o Lack of a compelling selling proposition
o Poor follow-up skills
o Did not communicate with the key decision maker
“The latest solution is to focus on investing in sales enablement, a new function within the sales force. [According to a Gartner article] ‘The foundation of the sales enablement strategy is to provide sellers with what they need to successfully engage the buyer throughout the buying process.’ Hope this helps improve sales success. But it’s not enough.” Weinberg wrote this book to fill in the gap, to help as many sales professionals as possible sell more, faster. “My goal is to have fewer greyhounds chasing rabbits they can never catch.”
There is no shortage of rabbits. Explains HOW to catch more sooner.
I agree that the art of selling (seen as both an art and a science) has changed significantly, especially in recent years, due to the nature and extent of changes in how and where people complete their work (producing both products such as services), as well as changes in the purchasing process.
Several disruptive technologies have created unique opportunities to beat sales quotas, but they have also created unique challenges. They include, in particular, artificial intelligence (AI); sensors and Internet of Things (IOT); autonomous machines: robots, cobots, drones and autonomous vehicles; distributed leaders and blockchains; virtual, augmented and mixed reality; connecting everything and everyone (for example, 5G networks and satellite constellations). Its biggest impact may be in the areas of finance, production, and distribution, but sales professionals who aspire to move up or at least beat quotas should view new technologies as enablers and partners rather than irritating threats or distractions.
To these same sales professionals, Alvin Toffler offers valuable advice on future impact (1970): “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn”. This book can increase your SQI significantly. Taking advantage of it is up to you.