Stop the sales madness.
I have been in sales for over 25 years. If I could go back in time, I would do some things differently. I would hire the alpha sales wolves, challenge my Prospects and Customers more, and I would never, ever, ever, ever sell to those who do not have the capacity to get what I do.
The definition of "sales madness" is selling to prospects who will never appreciate nor compensate you for the value you offer and continuing to do it over and over again expecting a different result.
It is time to stop trying to:
- Sell a solution to prospects who lack the acumen to understand the value your company offers.
- Get full value for your solution when a prospect will never pay for it.
The "never-gonna-get-its" will suck you dry of time and energy that would be better used to engage those with the capacity to get you.
To win consistently, you must:
- Hire salespeople who have the capacity to engage the best prospects.
- Challenge your prospects and Customers to be their best.
- Identify your ideal Customers - the "get its" - and only sell to them.
Crappy salespeople love to engage never-gonna-get-its.
Why? Because crappy salespeople sell to everyone.
Crappy salespeople are a serious problem for three reasons.
- They get beat down - They usually sell to those who have a high potential of beating them down on price - becoming a commodity play.
- Smart prospects hate stupid people - They usually lack the capacity to effectively engage prospects who really do get it - who have the capacity to appreciate and pay for the value created by your solution.
- They throw the company under the bus - They often become so in love with the Customer that they collect a pay check from you while passionately advocating for the Customer.
Non get it salespeople sell to non get it prospects.
If you are not hiring alpha sales wolves using a valid multi-science sales personality test to objectively identify top sales talent, you will continue to hire crappy salespeople who will sell to "never-gonna-get-its".
Solution and relationship selling is a strategy for selling to "never-gonna-get-its".
I recommend you read the 2012 HBR article "The End of Soluton Sales". This article succinctly explains why solution selling is dead. Then read The Challenger Sale. What do challengers do differently that goes beyond solution or relationship sales?
"Challengers approach customers with unique insights about how they can save or make money. They tailor their sales message to the customer's specific needs and objectives. Rather than acquiescing to the customer's every demand or objection, they are assertive, pushing back when necessary and taking control of the sale."
You must challenge your ideal Customers to be their best using your solutions and counsel.
Most existing salespeople cannot pull off the Challenger Sale approach.
You must decide who your ideal Customers are.
Until you decide who your ideal Customers are, your salespeople will continue to try to sell to everyone that seems to have a budget.
In 2013, we engaged Tiffany Sauder's team at Element Three to help us identify who our target personas were. Put simply, they helped us identify the intersection of our passion, purpose, and profit. When they finished their work with us, it was like a fog had lifted. We had clarity regarding who we should focus our energies on.
More importantly, we knew who not to engage.
We no longer waste time on prospects that will never get us.
When you identify who your ideal Customers are and only sell to them, you gain sanity and time. Why would you waste valuable time that you will not obtain a reasonable return on investment for?
Sell only to get its.
Sell only to your identified ideal Customers. Your sanity, the morale of your sales team, and your reputation will benefit from this decision.
Until you decide to only hire the best salespeople possible and to have them only engage the best prospects possible, you will waste valuable time.
If you continue to play the solution or relationship sales game, you will continue to lose to those who challenge their future Customers to be better than they were last year.
Life is too short to bang your head on the wall of mediocrity for any period of time.