Have you ever had a sales conversation that began with “How much is….(fill in the blank)? Many seasoned sales professionals recognize this sales obstacle. Usually this questions suggests a tire kicker or someone who buys on price only while expecting the best quality, the best delivery, the best value for his or her money.
Beyond the obvious sales obstacle, there is a hidden one within this question. This hidden barrier surfaced yesterday during a master mind question posed within the South Shore Business Networking Group. One of the members suggested lowering the price was situational especially if the business was having a cash flow problem or worse yet lagging sales.
My response was “Shame of the small business owner for not knowing his or her sales data.” Desperation is in many instances because the SMB owner or sales professional failed to invest the time to plan, to review the market and to make those necessary course adjustments. Unfortunately reducing the price becomes the quick fix solution.
Having worked with many SMB owners, I can say at least 90% have no written strategic plan; have no or limited knowledge of their sales cycle; invest no time for reflection including data analysis. When time is invested to work the plan, to review the sales cycle and to analyze the data then this is forward leadership in action.
I will always remember speaking to a group of 150 SMB and professionals two months after 9/11. My question was two-fold:
- How many of your businesses have been negatively affected by 9/11? Almost everyone raised his or her hands.
- How many of you have revisited your strategic plans and made the necessary course corrections? Only five people raised their hands, and three were my clients.
When SMB owners and sales professionals start down the “How much does it cost?” sales conversation path they are failing to recognize, they are part of the reason this question continues to be asked. Maybe by investing a some time in working ON their businesses instead of always IN them will begin to reduce this sales obstacle.
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Leanne Hoagland-Smith is THE People and Process Problem Solver. She supports forward thinking leadership 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.