“When you have enough opportunities to work on, it’s a lot easier to do the right thing, but it requires consistent work to make sure your pipeline is strong.” – Scott Ingram in today’s Tip 1015
Are you selfishly focusing on yourself and your numbers?
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Scott Ingram: You’re listening to the Daily Sales Tips podcast and I’m your host, Scott Ingram. Today’s tip might sound a bit more like a rant, but we’ve got to talk about this more as an industry. Just in the last week, I can’t tell you how many times I saw sellers try to force deals based on their timeline where the timing for the customer wasn’t right at all, and worse, tried to force-fit their solution just to make a sale in a way where the customer is almost guaranteed to fail to achieve their objectives. In almost all cases this behavior is driven by people who are struggling. They’re behind their numbers and they’re desperate. This selfish selling approach that focuses on the needs of the sellers and their numbers is a dangerous downward spiral. It gives all of us a bad name, it erodes trust, and it’s just bad business all the way around. Sure, sometimes it works, but it creates short-term gains that lead to significant long-term losses.
Having interviewed well over 100 #1 and top 1% level sales professionals over the last 5 years, I know a thing or two about Sales Success, and one of the most common themes I see among top sellers is that they’re wired as servant leaders. They see their role as serving their customers and helping them achieve the outcomes they’re after. When they do that well, the outsized rewards show up in their bank accounts and in their position on the leaderboard, and they tend to be at the top of those leaderboards consistently. Now to be clear, this isn’t just a rep problem, this is often a leadership problem. I often see weak sales managers who are behind on their numbers pushing their teams to do unnatural things.
In most cases, this comes down to culture and true leadership. Does the company and its executive leadership believe more in doing what’s right by their customers, or are they too focused on the numbers? If you heard my interview with AJ Bruno we touched briefly on misaligned quota expectations and how I believe that winners and win and losers lose. So a piece of the culture is providing an environment where sellers have a real opportunity to do well and aren’t saddled with unachievable numbers that are going to drive bad behaviors.
This is also about prospecting. One of the best sales leaders I ever worked for was fond of saying: Pipeline saves lives. When you have enough opportunities to work on, it’s a lot easier to do the right thing, but it requires consistent work to make sure your pipeline is strong. That’s probably the more virtuous cycle here. Again, if we look to the top performers I’ve interviewed they are always working on making sure they have an abundance of opportunities. So here’s the tip. Look at your behavior and your team’s behavior. Are you working to create enough opportunities such that you can always do the right thing, you can focus on serving your customers and helping them get what they want rather than selfishly focusing on yourself and your numbers. Do this well and the numbers take care of themselves. This is what the true sales professionals are doing to build trust and outperform. It’s not a secret, it’s not magic, it’s just working hard to do the right thing. That’s what works and that’s what sales is really about.