With the 2008 Presidential election beginning to come up in the news every night, the idea of being "electable" is something to think about. Would your customers vote for you? Or would they vote you out? Most salespeople operate like politicians - they make all the promises in the world, then after the election (the sale), they break those promises and drop out of sight.
In the real world, that gets you voted out of office. For example, in Scottsdale, Arizona where I used to live (a suburb of Phoenix), a recent poll revealed that 70% of citizens plan to vote out the current mayor and entire city council in the next election, due to their endless lies and corruption.
I'm willing to bet that many salespeople, if they polled their customers, would find that 70% or more would vote for a different salesperson next time around.
Don't underestimate the power of your customers to make or break you. Even if you're in a company where customers go to a "retention" rep and you can't work with them any longer, they can give you referrals or they can bad-mouth you. Which will it be? Keep this political analogy in mind, and be electable in the eyes of your customers.
My friend Nigel Edelshain posted some excellent comments on his blog today about the myth of sales being a so-called "numbers game." Here's my favorite part:
The dangerous part about this expression is how it gets used: "we don't need to be smart [about our prospecting]...it's just a numbers game"
In other words, by saying that sales is a numbers game, one is avoiding the responsibility of being smart about prospecting. Managers and salespeople who believe in doing "more activity" are actually being lazy by doing extra activity - they're lazy because doing more activity is taking the easy way out. It doesn't require any brain power, unlike improving and changing your activities to something more effective, which does require you to use your brain.
If I've said it once, I've said it a million times: If you're not getting satisfactory results, the answer isn't to increase your activity. The answer is to change your activity to something that gets results.
Frank Rumbauskas is a New York Times Best-Selling Author, one of Fast Company's Most Influential People Online, Winner of Business Book of the Year from 800-CEO-READ, The World's Best Sales Trainer, The #1 Sales and Marketing Strategist on the Planet, and a very humble and loving husband, dad to two beautiful daughters, and all around great guy!
To get Frank to explode your organization's sales numbers until your head is spinning, your wallet is bursting at the seams, and everyone thinks you're a genius, contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org