When I was a kid, we’d often play Red Rover during recess. Classmates would split up into two teams, link hands and then call for a member of the opposing team to send someone over. The goal was to try to break through one of the human links. If the mission was accomplished, the opposing team would get to select a member to bring back to their side. The team with the most people won.
I remember, more than once, being linked up with a classmate named Barb. She was a really nice person, but she sucked at Red Rover. The minute she saw another human being running at her full tilt, she would loosen her grip, and our link became the weak link of the team. And what do you think the opposing team did? They kept charging the weak link!
In the sales world, Red Rover is similar to the game of unseating the incumbent.
Your best client is your competitor’s best prospect. And like the Red Rover game, your competition is studying your sales organization, trying to figure out the weak link to bust through and bring a new customer back to their side.
So what’s the weak link in your sales organization?
Weak Link #1: Perhaps your sales team is great at opening up business, but not so good at making new clients feel welcome and appreciated. New clients are haphazardly on-boarded, wondering who to call when there is a problem. There isn’t a defined account management strategy in place, so new clients are not sure who is servicing their account. The only time a salesperson connects with them is when they are looking to sell a new line of business. Soon, that new client you worked so hard to earn doesn’t feel the love and decides to move their business back to their former relationship.
Red Rover, red rover, you sent your best salesperson over — but they didn’t take care of me.
Sales organizations have processes for winning business. But how many have equally strong processes for retaining business? Establish sales metrics around showing appreciation for clients, even when they aren’t making a purchase. Create an on-boarding process for new clients that instill confidence that they made the right decision. Fix your weak link.
Weak Link #2: Maybe your sales team is great at opening business and running solid discovery meetings. But when it comes time to ask for the order, they turn into professional tap dancers. They dance around asking for the business, hoping the prospect will send the contract or letter of agreement.
- They conduct beautiful demos, but don’t get an agreement on a next step or even a thumbs-up or down on information shared.
- They invest hours writing a proposal, then send it to their prospect without setting up a time to review. The overworked prospect has to figure out how the solutions recommended fix their business challenges. The added work leads to no decision or defaulting to status quo.
Red rover, red rover, your sales team is good at discovery but not good at closing.
Get to the root cause of why your sales team is not asking for the business. Often this is not just lack of selling skills. It’s because sellers have a self-limiting belief that asking for a next step looks pushy or salesy. (But they are willing to follow up 10 times and look like a sales stalker.)
They lack the EQ skill of assertiveness. When a prospect says, “Send me some recommendations and I will take a look,” they go along to get along. They aren’t comfortable stating what they need, which is a committed prospect that is willing to invest time discussing your solutions and how they can help solve a business problem.
As you analyze the wins and losses with your sales team, focus on finding the weak links in your sales process. Where is your sales team making it easy for your competitors to break through and take your best clients?
Red rover, red rover, improve or be prepared to let your competitor take over.