When you hear this, does it trigger any thoughts?

Have you ever hired a sales person only to have that person leave after six months, or even worse, have to fire them? This is all too common.
Why? We’ve found that most entrepreneurs start their business. Do good work for their first customer, and through a series of referrals they start to acquire more customers. One leads to the next and then the next and before long they have a business with revenue and employees.

Then they hit the ceiling. They run out of the referrals and now what? It’s time to get new customers from new businesses – from scratch. They hire a sales person. The internal conversation may go something like:

“It looks like I have enough cash flow to justify hiring a sales person, but I need results within six months because then I run out of money. If I hire a sales person, they will get me new customers and the revenue will be pouring in. When that happens I can buy the cottage on the lake.”

What happens? Six months later there is no revenue. The owners are unhappy. The sales person is stressed. They leave or you fire them.

Here's what happened! 

Sales is a Process not a Person.

How do we know? Let me ask you. When you hired that great sales person who hit 300% of their quota consistently for the last 3 years, how is it that somehow they come to your company and fail? I hate to say it, it’s not them. You and your business are not ready for sales people. That’s the issue - You’re not ready!

So if hiring the sales superstar is not the answer, what is?

First you need to create clarity in your message. Do you understand WHY your customers want to buy from you? Do you understand what you’re good at and the VALUE you bring to your customers? Clarity is crucial. Some people call this the elevator pitch – I hate that – It is a simple, concise statement of your value to customers, not a product pitch.
Next, find the people that need your products and services. Now that you know who you are and what value you bring to customers, you can define the companies that need your capabilities. This gives you focus and allows you to chase business not money. Only work with prospects that have problems you can solve. This is where most companies lose money in the sales process. Learn to say NO. Only when you understand this can you stop wasting time and go after the right market.

Finally, align the product and the pricing to the market and your message. They should all serve each other. As sales people, there is nothing worse than doing all the work to identify and propose a solution to a prospect only to find that the final price is twice as much as the competition with solutions of equal value. Even worse, how about being too cheap?

For example: I remember when we were pricing out our new roof. We had three companies come to quote us. One was $8,000, the next was $12,000 and the last was $20,000. Guess which one we picked? $12,000. Why? The lowest price solution was so cheap, we wondered what shortcuts they were taking. Their pricing caused us to question the value of their work.

Are you ready for sales?

Now you have better insight. Remember Sales is a Process not a Person. Crawl before you walk, and walk before you run. If you clarify your value and build your message, then align your market, products, and pricing with the message, you will have started down the path to success.  
Do this right and maybe, just maybe, the next sales person you hire will make you money.  Then you can enjoy your favorite cocktail on the dock at your new cottage on the lake.

Until next time….