Home > Sales Techniques > Don’t jump the Gun!

Don’t jump the Gun!

Mathew was in conversation with the Training Manager of a Software organisation – just yesterday they had visited the Business Development Department to understand the specific training needs of the employees there. Mathew’s Consultancy had been called in to help the Business Development team revamp their Sales Management process.

During the visit a few employees were interviewed to understand:

–          How the team members worked at present

–          The gaps in the Business Development process

–          Their Sales Output and productivity

The Business Development Manager was interviewed to understand the gaps in performance of the team and what changes he expected in them post the training. He was in desperate of new ideas to get the team back on track – they were way behind on the targets set for the year.

Mathew was speaking with the Training Manager after compiling the findings – he had even created the program flow for the training he was going to conduct. As soon as they got into the call he enthusiastically started spelling out what he proposed to do – the content of each module and the different activities that he thought would help to reinforce the messages.

The Training Manager was taken aback – as far as he was concerned it was too soon to have such a discussion. He said – “Wow! Mathew, slow down my friend. Aren’t you way ahead of where we should be now?”

It was Mathew’s turn to be surprised – “I don’t understand! We have spoken with the target group and their Manager and taken stock of the situation – isn’t it time to deliver the training?”

The Training Manager said – “Sure! We have interviewed the role-holders and their leader and got a fair bit of information on their current mode of operations and performance data. But that isn’t conclusive. We need to get to the root cause of the problem and understand in greater detail how the best results can be achieved from this training intervention.”

“I propose the following:

–          You come over tomorrow with the findings of the interviews, the list of concerns and gaps as you see it and how you propose to deal with it.

–          I will make a list of deliverables and expectations from our side.

–          We will have a joint meeting with the CSMO, Business Head, H.R. Manager.”

The Training Manager continued – “During that meeting we will be able to confirm with the leadership that the concerns and gaps as understood by us are the right ones – and they will get a chance to express their views. We will also run the team through the proposed solution and get their inputs on the changes needed, if any. When that’s done we are closer to execution of the Training Program, but not before that.”

Mathew backed-off – he realized that it would be foolhardy to press for a close now. The Training Manager wanted to take the key decision-makers into confidence and implement a solution that is best suited for the organisation. It made sense.

You are wasting bullets if any attempt is made to fire at the target when it’s beyond range; get closer before any attempt is made. Sales is a process and the experts would tell you that if each step in the process is executed the right way the prospect will ask for the solution even before the Salesperson ask for the order. It pays to wait for the quarry to walk into range!

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  1. Jamy
    July 24, 2012 at 6:24 am

    Nice Jay! Very relevant indeed!

    • JayadevM
      July 24, 2012 at 7:23 am

      Thank you, Jamy

  2. Kailash
    July 24, 2012 at 9:28 am

    Do you know J, i mentioned few days back that i was in Egypt and I was there for Requirement gathering/validation and for proposing solution for Vodafone. And your blog reminded me what mistakes we did. We started the workshop with teams which we (our on-site sales personal who was working on this since last 6 months and we were supporting him with technical inputs from Ind.) identified as a beneficiary. On second day of our workshop we came to know that there is one more team which is playing a very imp. role and would be impacted by our solution. We somehow manage to bring them in the workshop (we were not having any questions/ppts for them ;-)). and the other thing which we(our on site sales personal) missed is, we fail to influence/invite key decision maker (who will say YES to the project investment). So till the last day of our workshop we end up discussing with technical leads/managers who were happy to see/have the solution but till this date (its almost a month) they haven’t requested for proposal & i believe we end up investing at wrong time (i would say wrong place). As you said finding right audience/decision maker, getting in to the root cause of issues/requirements is must or else we will fall on our face as we did.

    • JayadevM
      July 24, 2012 at 10:50 am

      That’s right, Kailash!

      Haste only causes more problems. It important that we build it up well and prime the buyer to make the critical decision.

      Thank you for sharing this example.

  3. July 24, 2012 at 9:40 am

    Very Nice Article Jayadev…Leave alone sales pitches for training etc..This applies to even smaller shops selling their merchandise….When we go shopping we like it when the salesperson gives us a lot of options and tries to see things from our end and tells us what would suit us best rather than trying to enforce what he is selling upon us..The latter is a little annoying and we tend to move to another shop with more variety and probably a better sales guy .I have seen both these kinds!

    • JayadevM
      July 24, 2012 at 10:48 am

      Hi Jayashree

      I am glad you extended the theme further and validated my argument.

      I wanted to add another example from the Consumer Goods business and then decided against thinking it will be an overkill – but that gave you the opportunity to share this thought.

      You are right … the smart sales guy provides the a few options (not too many .. that will only confuse the buyer) and then slowly nudges the buyer in the right direction to make a decision.

  4. July 24, 2012 at 2:37 pm

    We went to our neighbourhood restaurant last Sunday. A gentleman, who was busily prescribing dishes to everyone, almost forced their good-for-nothing specials on us. We were so vexed by his unsolicited attention that we ended up rejecting each and everything he tried to push.

    • JayadevM
      July 24, 2012 at 2:49 pm

      That’s what happens when we try to be too smart, isn’t it? Or when it gets the Sales Person’s head that this is the smart way.

      You are right, Umashankar. Such Sales People irritate rather than getting you interested in their offering.

      The faster a Sales Person learns to tone down his act and keep it going at the customer’s pace the more he would sell.

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