Posts Tagged ‘sales failure’

The Intersection of Sales Failure & the Entrepreneurial Success Ego

Have you ever witnessed those entrepreneurial businesses that seem golden.  They start one small business and then jump to an entirely different industry with equal success.  Eventually as you watch them, something happens and usually around their third to fifth venture sales failure begins to take over.

sales-failureDuring the last 30 plus years within the Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana regions I have personally seen this intersection of sales failure and success ego. My sense is these entrepreneurs are suffering from “success ego syndrome” and believe sales failure is not possible.

Just in the last six months, two very successful local entrepreneurs have allowed their success egos to overrule common sense.  One small business has already experienced sales failure and the other is well on its way.

In the first instance, the entrepreneur had two successful businesses in entirely different industries.  The executive leadership team ventured forth into a third different industry.  They rushed in and made dramatic changes to the building as well as the services being offered.

In that process, loyal customers began to go elsewhere and sales failure happened.  Additionally, the well known established brand had been extremely weakened.  Before experiencing total financial ruin, they sold this formerly successful business to another entrepreneur with an equally if not stronger success ego.

The new entrepreneurs came in and decided to totally eliminate the established brand by forcing a new solution onto existing loyal customers by removing both the name and established brand.  A real world example would be McDonald’s removing hamburgers from all of their stores and changing their name to something like “The Busy Bee Bistro.”

The reasoning of the new owners appears to be their approach had already worked in three successful businesses (all in the same industry) and it would work here.  Maybe they possibly subconsciously thought they were too successful to fail? This success ego syndrome may also explain the sales failure in second to fourth family owned businesses.

As I observed these changes, I remembered the quote about “fools rush in where angels fear to tread.” What appears to be rushing in is the success ego turning these entrepreneurs into fools.  The end result is sales failure not too mention some backlash to current established brands.

Lesson Learned

The lesson to be learned is even the most forward thinking leaders can be doomed to sales failure when they allow their success egos to override common sense as well as basic understanding of human nature when it comes to customer loyalty and established business branding.  True and sustainable forward thinking leaders make change in small steps to ensure the change will stick and be well received by their customers especially when there is already an established brand with loyal customers.

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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 central time USA.  Follow her on Twitter or check out her profile on LinkedIn.

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How to Increase Sales with These Four Buckets

Steve Ludlow of down under in a recent Linked In posting shared his thoughts about what is the #1 reason for the inability to increase sales or sales failure. He then provided a link to his leadership and sales blog.

Credit -

In rereading the over 200 comments, I realized that in the effort to avoid sales failure or how to increase sales, all suggestions could be categorized into one of these four buckets:

  1. Knowledge
  2. Skills
  3. Attitudes
  4. Habits

The challenge is human beings have a tendency to take the torpedo approach and aim for only one bucket while ignoring the others. Additionally sales training usually focuses on Knowledge and Skills while ignoring Attitudes and Habits. Just imagine what would happen if crazy busy sales people to small business owners would ask these four questions as they explore how to increase sales especially if their motivation is to avoid sales failure:

  1. What knowledge do I need respective to my potential customers, the industry, the local to global economy, to leading trends in the marketplace, etc.?
  2. What skills do I need to be both efficient (doing things rights) and effective (doing the right things) so that I can increase sales?
  3. What attitudes do I need to change to work in the 21st century global marketplace?
  4. What habits do I need to develop to be consistent in all my behaviors thus allowing me sustainable results (think avoid sales failure)?

By taking to heart these questions, may help you in your goal of how to increase sales not too mention potentially reduce your stress levels and improve your overall enjoyment of the job.

P.S. Join me today for a Roundtable offered by on SLA – Service Letters of Agreement at 1PM CDT.

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