I’m getting tired of seeing organizations lamenting their lack of sales … when I discover that the reason for this sad situation is that nobody’s selling!
You have to have somebody selling. The number of organizations that can survive – let alone thrive – without active outreach is negligible. Sure, work the leads that come in, and don’t forget to answer the phone, but it’s unlikely that you’ll consistently meet aggressive growth goals without more effort than just that.
If you don’t know what a selling effort looks like, ask. There are lots of variations on that theme. But the essential element is this: it’s an effort that a member of your team initiates to connect with, and work toward a business relationship with, someone who is not currently spending money with you.
I see too much “networking” and not enough conversation about how we might help a person – or a person’s organization – to function better.
But please don’t start there! Never begin a conversation with, “Here’s how I can help your organization function better.” Instead, get to know the person a little. Make an effort to understand the world as they see it, at least a bit. And ask what they’re doing now about … whatever it is you have to sell. That’s it – sales guru Stephan Schiffman is right, you begin with what they’re doing now.
Then inquire about their current way of handling this aspect of their business, and look for dissatisfaction they may feel with what they’re doing (or not doing) now. That’s the beginning of a sales-related conversation.
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