When you factor in capacity, timing, and cash flow – no two companies will ever have an identical cost basis. So why do we focus so much energy on price?
“I hate marketing.” My client said these words to me in a meeting about rejuvenating their sales pipeline.
How would you prefer to do this? I asked.
“I don’t know, I just want to have an honest conversation. The rest of this doesn’t seem genuine.”
Weeks later I asked him, “How many honest conversations have you managed to have since we last spoke?”
You can guess what his answer was. My client’s ideal prospect might be looking for him. The problem is, they are going to find someone else first.
Thus begins an unhealthy pattern.
Do you remember those game shows where the contestant stands in a booth while money blows all around them? They have say, sixty seconds to collect all the cash they can. The big fan blows, cash flies, and the contestant flails about trying to snatch dollars from the air and hold on to them.
The bills are in all denominations but move too fast to spot the big ones easily. The contestants must hold on to the cash they’ve caught while trying to get more. Even though there seem to be thousands of bills flying around, actually catching one is pretty difficult.
This is exactly what sales looks like if you have no marketing.
Knowing how little time we have to train new employees, how infrequently we get to do it, and the fact that we aren’t sure what to teach them – what’s the right interview question?
Which would you rather have? A one million dollar new customer or ten one hundred thousand dollar new customers? Careful what you wish for.
When I sit in on the conversations (or have them recounted to me), I observe one recurring issue: The salesperson isn’t prepared for the kinds of questions clients ask.
I suspect that customers may even be trying to trip you up. Could they be that clever? I wonder…
There are two things that really irk me: Being tricked and making mistakes. My penchant for purchase orders started when I was tricked because I made a mistake.
Early in my career, our company PO system was six digits (the date) and buyer initials (TS). An industrial supply company had the ac extension cables we wanted to use and the sales rep pried an order out of me on the phone.
There is a direct correlation between companies that are suspicious of freelancers and stagnant growth. You may be happy with how large your company has become, but have you noticed that your profits are shrinking every year?
Whenever a business owner begins our pre-consulting conversation with, “Well, we’re pretty unique,” I know that I am going to be dealing with one of the following:
A business that evolved from an owner-operator to employees taking on responsibilities without any coordinated plan or,
Multiple partners or family members in key jobs with unclear management structure or,
A business feels that it is “too busy” to work on things that it knows are important.