Are you Earning an "A" in Sales?
Whether you're 9, 29 or 49—September usually signifies the season of Back to School and Back to Business. This time of year is similar to the beginning of a new year—forcing us into a new mindset at work and re-focusing us on business goals, business growth and perhaps even the opportunity to go "back to school" by advancing your sales skills! This year—there is a desire for so many businesses and salespeople who just don't want to get back to business—but stronger and better business.
My brother Mark is a Vice Principal in an elementary school and we were discussing the similarities in the expectations teachers have for their students and the expectations companies place on their suppliers. Mark said that to earn an "A" in today's school system, you have to use a higher level of thinking skills, demonstrate problem solving skills and then apply the theory and learning to real world examples. He said students can no longer study and regurgitate the theory to earn an "A." Students have to prove they have earned the grade with exemplary work. In today's business world client expectations are similar. Clients expect so much more than your canned selling presentation. To earn a new client's business you have to apply a higher level of business acumen and thinking skills related to their business, demonstrate problem solving skills related to their specific industry and challenges and present realistic solutions to their real world problems. Salespeople can no longer show up, wing it and expect to earn the business. Salespeople have to prove their worth and earn the business, or an "A," with exemplary services and skills.
In the spring, we interviewed a number of clients and were shocked at how they rated salespeople—actually giving them a failing grade. They said: