You Had Better Sweat The Small Stuff

With the recent (and more to come) banking, real estate, Wall Street, main street retail, manufacturing sector collapses, persistent high unemployment and reductions of income in huge numbers of households, people have witnessed many things they assumed solid crumble right before their very eyes, and the ones with much intelligence are now anxious, worried and even fearful of things to come.

No doubt about it – prying money loose from tightfisted, scared and anxious buyers is difficult and will continue to be so for years if not an entire decade.

Buyers Are Skeptical

Buyers are skeptical, jaded and distrustful of everyone because everywhere they look they see political and business leaders lying, taking bribes, giving bribes, stealing, and wasting our money. Corporate malfeasance, incompetence and lack of integrity on display everywhere.

Vendors, sales reps, service technicians, customer service reps, retail; sales associates, professional service providers, health care providers and everyone else in business, all making unfilled promises, thinly veiled guarantees, displaying gross incompetence, lousy follow up, unreturned phone calls, late deliveries and service. And on and on and on. I for one am pissed off about it and intend to severely punish those with whom I do business and reward handsomely those few who do what they say they are going to do.

Mediocrity bordering on incompetence has replaced excellence as the new accepted norm in every product category and industry.

The Importance of Good Selling Skills

Professional selling skills and attention to detail by those who wish to extract money from us are rarely on display. Sales managers and owners too busy running dysfunctional businesses to concentrate on improving their sales training or sales management skills.

Every coin has two sides. This one no different. Where there is negligence and sloth there is opportunity.

The way I see it the greatest area of opportunity for the entrepreneur, business owner or sales professional this year is being trusted. Performing as promised in all things, large and small, will be the new currency more highly valued than all others. This will become the new area of business differentiation that will allow you to sell at premium prices and will eliminate the constant pressure to sell on price. Start telling clients, buyers and prospects how fed up you are with empty promises, lousy service, weasel clauses, crooks in high and low places. Tell them they can count on you and why and (with strong, unequivocal risk-reversals and guarantees) give them the means to fire you and punish you if you fail to deliver.

In your sales training, teach your people to sell this message strong and with great conviction and then walk the talk. Do not assume that your sales reps know how to sell this idea because they don’t. Most of them are incompetent, misguided and sloppy. This is the reason most leads don’t convert. This is the reason be-backs don’t come back. This is the reason for disappointing results in advertising. This is the reason they don’t have you manage their investments, buy your advertising, buy your insurance products or visit your restaurants. Simply put, you or your sales reps have not secured their trust.

Do not fear this new reality or hide from it or underestimate it. Speak to it with courage. Teach it in your sales training. And then go out and honor all of the promises you make and then some.