Right now ask yourself, “Are you chasing the sames sales your competitors are chasing?” The reason for this question returns to a great and wise observation by Peter Drucker who stated “Business has only two functions: marketing and innovation.”
When businesses from the solo entrepreneurs to the multi-billion dollar corporations chase after the same sales, there is no innovation and the marketing all sounds the same. Steve Jobs recognized this with Apple. I have personally experienced this from all the postcards from local realtors I have been receiving. Yee Gads!
Last week in talking with a qualified sales lead, he indicated a large percentage of this organization’s customers only bought one product. He then went out to talk about the competition and two products both organizations share. The barrier was customers were reluctant to switch providers for these other two products.
My verbal thought process was “Why not offer a different product within your services to make the decision to buy more palatable? It seems to me you are chasing the same sales of your competition. This does not differentiate your organization from everyone else, but makes your organization the same as everyone else, your competitors who are also chasing the same sales.”
We then discussed by changing the sales conversation the sales people could redirect the conversation to two different products and potentially experience an up sell. He had already shared a personal story of his own which could be easily incorporated into the sales conversation.
Chasing the same sales in many instances also suggests a lack of an ideal customer profile. This is especially true for SMBs who are more like the Captain Wing Its of the world instead of the Captain Focus Its.
The Captain Wing Its are notorious for spraying their actions all over the place and then praying something sticks. You can see these folks at many business to business networking events. They are running from person to person, shaking hands and depositing business cards. When asked who is their ideal customer, they respond “anyone with a pulse.”
Now the Captain Focus Its know exactly who they want to target based on investing time to understand the demographics and psychographics of their ideal customer along with their current customers. Then their marketing from advertising to websites to social media to actual sales conversations can be in alignment with who are their best customers.
Years ago when the Great Recession of the 21st Century hit, I had to rethink my executive coaching solutions and my ideal customer. By taking this action, I did innovate because I repackaged what I do (the products and services offered); restructured the pricing (actually increased executive coaching fees) and re-framed the marketing message. The end result was higher profitability in the first year and sales grew annually each year. Now I am truly working with clients who are the best fit for me.
When salespeople and organizations chase the same sales without engaging in any innovative thinking, then they are not working as smart as they could and only adding to the frustration of less than stellar results. By investing the time to innovate, to rethink how to offer your solutions (products and services), then your organization can indeed be the Red Jacket in the sea of gray suits.
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Leanne Hoagland-Smith is THE People and Process Problem Solver. She supports forward thinking leaders in bridging the gaps between the two problems restricting strategic business growth – people and processes. Leanne can be reached at 219.508.2859 central time USA. Follow her on Twitter or check out her profile on LinkedIn.