Monday, July 24, 2006

Impact on Sales Performance


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Non Supportive Buy Cycle is one of the many hidden weaknesses we identify when evaluating sales forces. The premise of this weakness is that there is a 100% correlation between how salespeople make major purchases and the stalls and putt-offs they accept from their prospects. The cure is to change the way the salespeople buy so that they buy in such a way that it supports the selling process. At that point, they will expect their prospects to buy that way too. I recently had an opportunity to experience a parallel behavioral event. My wife recently pointed out that I fail to stop for people who wish to cross the street. Not only was she right, I realized that I never expected anyone to stop for me either! Great example of mistakenly believing that personal behavior, however positive or negative, appears normal to the owner of the behavior. As one can with Buy Cycle, I made a decision to change my behavior and immediately began stopping for every pedestrian who needed to cross. The change was easy because I was finally aware of the issue and I had a great incentive to make the change. Saturday, as my wife and I were crossing a major intersection, a bus driver leaned on his horn and scared the ever living fecal matter out of me, gave me the finger and dropped the f bomb on me. In addition to the anger I felt at him for his behavior, I was in awe of what had just happened. I expected him to stop! The result of my change in behavior was that I expected others to behave that way too. When your salespeople buy in such a way that it supports the selling process, they'll expect their prospects to do the same. Which of your salespeople have hidden weaknesses that cause them to be ineffective? Evaluate your sales force and find out!
(c) Copyright 2006 Objective Management Group, Inc.

2 Comments:

At 7/25/2006 10:39:00 PM, Anonymous Brad Ferguson said...

Dave:
I completely agree with the “buy cycle” concept. As a sales development expert I am often asked to help my clients shorten the length of their selling process. In doing so, I often come across salespeople who face “comparison shoppers.” With a little investigation and discovery on my part, I learn that these same salespeople are themselves comparison shoppers.
Not only do they expect their prospects to “shop around,” (expecting others to behave the way that they do), they actually make that request of their prospects with comments such as, “when you compare this product to our competitors,” and “as you people shop around, be sure to…”

You’re also right about the cure. These salespeople had to change the way they bought things for themselves, in order to eliminate the comparison shopper dilemma.

 
At 7/25/2006 11:37:00 PM, Anonymous Chip Doyle said...

Dave,

Well I'm glad you're still alive! Your story hits home though. When I suggest that my clients change the way they buy, they often resist in fear of being taken advantage of by some manipulative salesperson (gosh, I wonder what that statement says about how they feel about their profession?)

I tell them my experience of changing my own buying habits. I made a concerted (and somewhat challenging) effort to change my own buying patterns in 2001. A few years later, I decided to purchase a new car. Well suffice it to say I didn't get a very good deal, but I did buy from the first (and only) dealership I visited.

The lesson I learned from this expensive experience was even more powerful. From now on, I only buy from people I trust. Since then, I've met an auto broker (that I trust) and I will never ever go to another car dealership again. I'll buy a new car at the end of this year (2006) and I'll happily pay the broker his flat fee to look out for my best interests, because I know I won't trust the car salesperson.

The impact on my own personal production was significant (approx 50% increase) the year I changed my buy-cycle. Call it coincidence, but my selling style has been forever impacted. And my business purchases work out a lot better now that I only buy from people I trust.

So when clients push back about changing their personal buying patterns, I just tell them to find someone they truly trust to decide for them rather than taking a risk. Ironically, when you have this type of relationship with a consultant or salesperson and they recognize you are counting on them based on your trust in them, they do amazing things to look out for you. Instead of researching products I need to buy I'm paying more attention to people I can trust.

Great blog Dave and thanks for reminding me of my own experience.

 

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