One of the ideas that I offer up pretty often as a way to drive results and improve your business is to know when to let go of something.
In too many instances, it is much easier to just keep doing what you have always done.
That leads to stagnation and inertia.
That’s especially true in sales.
A few years back, Max Altschuler wrote a great book about sales and sales technology in modern business called Hacking Sales.
In Max’s book, he goes through processes and ideas that can help you invent and reinvent your sales process for the modern world.
If you compare what Max is doing with what a lot of organizations are doing, you will see a pretty dramatic difference.
Because in a lot of places, the sales processes that were successful in 1997 are the ones that are still most prominent.
With that in mind, here are a few things that you could think about to improve your sales process in 2018 by letting go of them.
Taking a one-size fits all approach to prospecting: In working around a lot of different industries, I see the one size fits all prospecting approach still has a strong hold on too many sales teams.
You see sales managers jumping up and down, saying, “Activity is what matters. The more you do, the more you sell.”
Which isn’t entirely wrong.
You need to take action, no doubt.
But you shouldn’t take just any action, you need to take the right actions.
That starts with not taking a one-size fits all approach to prospecting.
You need to know who your best prospects are, what they value, and how to reach them.
Get rid of the concept of “Always Be Closing”: Last year, Anthony Iannarino wrote a great book called The Lost Art of Closing.
The great thing about Anthony’s book was that he talked about closing not as an all or nothing, thunderbolt event. But instead he talked about closing as an event that has a road that you can follow, as a series of smaller closes that make the big close inevitable.
Yet, in all too many places, we see sellers trying to jump from cold to sold.
It can work in some places, but depending on what you are selling…trying to jump from cold to sold or even asking for too large of a commitment too soon can undermine the opportunity that you are trying to create.
I read a recent blog post that quoted Alan Weiss and talked about the sales process being one of interest to meeting to relationship to commitment.
In my view, Alan is one of the best thought leaders on accelerating the sales process going and his process still includes four distinct phases.
If you are under the spell of the “ABC rules of selling,” the odds are that you are dramatically increasing the number of negative responses you receive tremendously and you are likely hurting your ability to built relationships that will lead to business in a lot of cases.
To overcome this, you have to understand your buyer and their buying process a little better.
Because if you are always closing, it becomes easy to hear a firm no.
Stop Focusing On You: Sports sales can be one of the places where you can look to see some of the worst examples of “best practices.”
On my LinkedIn feed, it is not uncommon for me to see someone post an update that says something to the effect of:
“Call me! These seats are amazing!”
“Call me! I have a deal for you!”
“Call me! We have eyeballs that your brand can get in front of!”
I don’t fault the salespeople doing it either.
In most instances, they are following the direction of a sales manager that might be encouraging them to work on trying to generate activity through “social selling” and not giving a clear directive on what that really means.
Or, they may see their peers at other organizations doing something similar and shrug their shoulders as if to say, “Why not?”
Then they post away.
The challenge here is that most of everything that is happening is done because it is something that is important to the sales person.
The sales person thinks they have a deal.
The sales person thinks that sitting in a specific seat matters most.
The sales person has defined what is important through their lens.
The thing about it is that your POV isn’t important at all. The only lens that matters is the one of the buyer.
Remember this and it will help you tremendously, no matter what you are selling…no one cares what is important to you.
Look at your selling scripts, your marketing collateral, or any other material you use to communicate with prospects and if it is focused on you, throw it out, discard it, and try something new.
Put the light on them and how working with you will change their business, improve their growth, create opportunities.
These are only 3 things you should try to let go of in 2018, but I think if you start here, you can set yourself up for success.
Let me know some of the other things you want to try and let go of in the comments below.