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Posts tagged “Sales Strategy”

This week I coached a highly paid consultant, who has a unique, valuable set of skills. He wanted to be trained on how to make more appointments with senior people at blue-chip companies. I listened intently as he shared stories of not getting through and not getting enough time once he did get through and how his appointment conversion rates were much lower than he expected. given his skill set and ability to add value. 
 
He felt he wasn’t able to hold the attention of the prospect and sensed them losing interest. He admitted, “At times, I can tell they just want to get off the phone as soon as possible’. 
 
He averages 2 appointment per week and spends on average 8 hours per week on the phone making calls after warming his prospects up with a direct message on LinkedIn 
On a recent trip to Europe I found myself training an audience of 36 software sales professionals. “Raise your hand if you didn’t hit your target last year?” I asked. Over twenty hands were raised. “Now, raise your hand if over the last three years you have failed at least once to hit your annual target.” Over 30 hands were raised. I then proceeded to select a few delegates at random; “Tell me in one sentence, why didn’t you hit your target?” One person replied, “Too many operational problems.” Another lamented, “Our customers lost confidence in the service.” A third piped up, “Not enough support internally!” And so it went on, excuse after excuse: 
Do you recognise this pattern as a small to medium sized enterprise? You start a business with a great idea and a lot of passion and excitement. You package your idea into a product or service, create a proposition and join a networking group like BNI, 4N or a Chamber of Commerce. You get a trickle of leads, and over time, the referrals grow. You have established a business that, whilst not earth shattering, keeps the wolf from the door and has bags of potential. You have many ideas about how to grow it moving forward. 
Recently, during my sales courses, I find myself answer more and more of the delegates questions with the same answer. Regardless of what area of sales is being discussed the response that keeps occurring to me is; “It’s to do with how you turn up” 
It is rare in these times to meet consistently exceptional sales people. According to statistics recently presented in Sales and Marketing Management magazine, 80% of successful sales are credited to only 20% of the entire sales team. This indicates a serious issue in the area of appointing the right people in the sales profession. 
Ignoring the extra 's', for many people, sales is a four-letter word. But it needn’t be. Sales has developed a reputation over the years that it simply doesn’t deserve. 
 
Due to dysfunctional sales techniques and misguided sales management, companies often underestimate what is required to establish a foundational base for consistent sales performance. As a result, mediocre sales performance has become accepted as the norm. 
During a recent field accompaniment program for a software development company, I met Brian, who invited me to join him on appointment with a medium sized company. This lead came through Brian’s company website and stated an urgent need to purchase his type of product offering. 
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