The Business Development Blues


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I was speaking to a friend of mine who is the vice president of sales and we were reflecting on our mutual taste in music. Both of us love jazz and blues. For those of you unfamiliar the blues is a chord progression that is often defined by its melancholy and sad mood tone.

As Peter spoke I was reminded of the present business mood. It too is quite melancholy. The weight of both competition and the economy has diminished profits and productivity amongst sales staffs. However those in charge of sales can reverse trends and write new music:

1. Cut the crap. Those in charge of sales should stop allowing selling professionals to make excuses. Fate is in the hands of those that create their own luck. Stop allowing excuses to prevail by ensuring that selling professionals are doing one thing during the selling – selling! Professionals should be on the phone or visiting customers – not complaining to you!

2. Stop the rote tactics. Sales managers must stop the bromide tactics that don’t function. Cold calling no longer works! Customers want to do business with those they know and respect not some jockey that is dialing for dollars. Cold calling is intrusive, time consuming and lacks the personalization, consumers require. As a sales manager when was the last vendor you did business with due to a cold call? If you find it annoying, what of your consumers?

3. Emulate best practices. Successful selling professionals are known for the communities they create and their networks. Ensure that selling professionals networking aggressively. Each representative should be out every day speaking to new people and new groups. At least 10 to 15% of any sales day must be investing in lead generation.

4. Conduct research. Our competitive society is built on knowledge. Have selling professionals conduct research and determine usable trends and competitive analysis customers need. Selling professionals create value by illustrating competitive information useful for customers.

5. Richards rule. I have been selling for 28 years and I still remember sage advice from my mentor. “The best method to end the depression, apathy and inactivity is by conversing with customers”. Ensure that selling professional spend time out of the office and not in it.

6. Education. While there is some truth to inactivity due to economic gyrations, the slow time enables selling professionals to acquire new knowledge. Make sure your selling team is spending time reading books, watching videos or even investing in classes to improve their sales efforts. This is not your responsibility it’s theirs!

The good news about the business development blues is that sales managers and their representatives continually feel challenged so they have not given up. However, it is easy to concede victory because of apathy and selfishness. Economic volatility requires two things so that your sales team hits high notes, 1) stop the excuses and keep activity high so that teams are constantly in front of customers and 2) review tactics and emulate the best practices of the best organizations. Recessions are times of innovation. There is no time like the present to create different music that instills energy and commitment to your sales force.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Drew Stevens
Drew J. Stevens Ph.D. (Dr. Drew) is the author of Split Second Selling and the soon to be released Ultimate Business Bible and six other business books on sales, customer loyalty, self mastery and business development solutions. Drew helps organizations to dramatically accelerate revenue and outstrip the competition. He conducts over 4 international keynotes, seminars and workshops per year.


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