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ONE THING That Must Change to Maximize Growth in 2014

December 6th, 2013

As a business owner, have you ever wondered why your employees don’t perform better?

Have you ever thought to yourself: “If our salespeople would just knock on twice as many doors or make the effort to visit with twice as many prospects, they’d probably double our sales.” A very basic assertion. You are obviously correct.
Furthermore, your salespeople also know you are correct.

For some reason, the increased activity just doesn’t happen.
It didn’t happen this year and didn’t happen last year. And for the majority of companies, it won’t happen next year, either. How can this be????

There is a perfectly good reason.

The reason is that salespeople (in fact, all people) behave the way they behave is because they choose to behave that way.

The distance between knowing and doing is nowhere greater than in the domain of sales.

This principle does not only apply to salespeople. It also applies to Sales Managers and to Owners. And change always starts at the top. So if you are serious about creating consistent growth in your sales growth and profits, I would suggest that you first take inventory of your Personal Comfort Zone.

Your salespeople enjoy living in their comfort zone; that happy place that is safe, warm, and cozy. For most salespeople, they feel great and comfortable when they are:

Talking about themselves and their company
Giving presentations
Searching the Internet
Sending emails
Preparing proposals (often multiple times)
Asking leading questions and softball questions
Engaged in small talk
Calling hot, pre-qualified leads
Developing relationships with peers
Listening selectively
Name dropping
Managing crises
Avoiding accountability

All of the above activities lie squarely inside most salespeople’s comfort zone. Unfortunately, none of these activities allow a salesperson to differentiate themselves from their competitors. Few, if any, provide you and your company with any advantage, even when competing with a non-human, web-based purchase. Furthermore, just about all of these activities will actually cost precious margin dollars (e.g.: wasted time, personnel costs, resources, design, engineering…)

Conversely, the activities that lie outside of most salespeople’s comfort zone are the ones that will produce results. The activities most salespeople avoid lead to differentiation, consistent sales growth, increased market share, and higher profit. They include:

More prospecting
Asking tough questions
Using an effective selling system and success recipe
Calling key targets, including cold and warm leads
Active, empathetic listening
Developing relationships with Decision Makers and Key Partners
Time & event management
An unconditional commitment to continuous improvement
Uncovering true buying motives
Seeking accountability

How does your sales team measure up in these areas?

You should not expect a salesperson to leave their comfort zone unless you go first. Maximizing performance requires efficient execution and discipline, so all great performers (including great salespeople) seek an accountability partner to keep them focused and on-task. Effective sales management, including accountability, is an absolute game-changer when it comes to growing market share and profitability.

Unfortunately, most companies are completely ineffective in the area of sales management. Like salespeople, sales managers (and owners) also choose to play inside their own comfort zones.

A company culture that attracts and nurtures employees who live inside their comfort zones is one that is about to get stomped.

Great sales teams are not great because of intelligence or strategy. They are not great because of the knowledge they’ve accumulated or because of any special secrets.

They are great because their people, from top to bottom, do the things that mediocre sales teams do not. They are great because they choose to live outside their comfort zones.

So if you want your team to blow away its sales goals in 2014, make a simple declaration. Effective immediately, declare that only over-achievers will be tolerated on your sales team and that over-achievement requires each team member to make a unconditional commitment to live outside of their comfort zone. Challenge everyone to encourage their teammates to love this new reality. Then hold everyone accountable to your declaration.

GO FIRST. Walk Your Talk. Change starts at the top and begins with YOU.

Best wishes for an amazing 2014 and beyond!

Copyright ©   Joe Zente  2013.   All Rights Reserved.

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