This blog post is going to offer little to no measurable value. It’s not going to give you any information you can use. In the area of useful, actionable information this post is going to be empty. What it is going to contain is an observation. My observation of sales leaders, managers and sales people.
Every sales person, sales manager and sales leader knows what sales is all about. We are all adept at reciting the appropriate and correct sales vernacular. We all espouse the importance of asking questions, getting to why, selling to need, identifying the problem, understanding the buying process, connecting with the buyer, ensuring budget exists, etc. We all have command of the cool sales buzz words; champion, influencer, BANT, solution selling, complex selling, CRM, Governance Planning, Sales Strategy, etc. As sales people we are excellent communicators, capable of convincing anyone of our competence and understanding — including ourselves. We all know “what” we need to do.
The rub is few of us know “how” to do it. Only a few of us know how to truly execute on our theoretical knowledge, on the verbal expressions we so eloquently espouse. I have learned through my years of experience few sales people are practitioners of the “how.” Most of us focus on the “what.” What should we know? What should we do? What we struggle with is “how.” We tend to shy away from how we are going to identify the need. We don’t understand how to sell to need. We’re poor at how to identify the problem. We struggle at how to get to the decision maker. As sales people we are great at aquiring the “what” stuff. We just suck at the how.
The years have provided me with ample data. When it comes to executing at the selling level, most of us aren’t that good. I often wonder if this lack of execution is at the core of the sales 80/20 rule. It is not uncommon for most sales organizations to get 80% of their sales from 20% of their sales people. Is the 20% those who are adept at the “how” and not just the “what?”
This is a truly useless blog post because I can’t give you the answer. I can’t tell you if you are good at the “how” or how to get good. I can’t tell if you are like 80% of all sales people only good at the “what’ or if you are part of the 20%. You have to answer that question for yourself. What I can offer, to avoid making this a post completely void of value, is to suggest you start focusing on the “how,” regardless of your answer. It can only help. That’s what I’m going to do.