Quotas, Compromises, and Other Acts of Desperation
— April 11, 2018
We’ve experienced in one way or another of a plea of desperation in the business world, than left us twisting in our chair in awkwardness. Desperation comes in many shapes and forms, but nothing is quite as shameful as the acts done in the sales process that you can avoid.
No One Cares About Your Quota
“I’d really like to close this deal, this week” No kidding. Because it’s March 28th.
I think there are very few things that we can do that hurt us as sales professionals, than letting our own internal needs trump those of the buyer. The quota is the one of the realities we face as sales professional that tends to leak ahead of the interest of our buyer into the conversation. And I think it only hurts us.
The reason being, is that no one really cares about you in the sales process. The way that “you” or your interests enter the frame of a sales conversation is typically around terms and features. Your need to sell, or deadline to sell, is as awkward and feel in a way…dirty.
So you might be saying, “OK sales genius, then how do I close my quota if I can’t talk about it.” Valid question, but that is really the wrong end of the question. If the quota is only thing helping you close deals, you need more introspection into your sales process, or how you close.
Yet, I would try to avoid the next biggest mistake in our ladder of desperation – a compromise.
Never Compromise Your Position
I’m going to be stepping into a bit of a field full of land mines with this conversation.
Everyone in the sales profession has an opinion on when and how to break form to make the deal work. I’m not saying that this is a bad tactic overall, but the tendency is to compromise one-way, on your side of the table.
One-sided compromise shows weakness and devalues your offering.
Here is my rationale for this stance. In my experience working with hundreds of businesses and personalities, compromise is closely linked in the confidence someone has in the product, company, or solution.
This can take all forms. Compromise can be a compromise of personal integrity, compromise can come because we just don’t really care about company margins, or we don’t even believe the product is that good. And many sales methods, like Sandler Sales Method, talk about not letting compromise be part of your process.
So the question now, is how do you avoid it?
First we need to turn inside and establish two truths. The first being your belief in your product, your self and your company. Without a really strong belief, you’ll compromise every time. This is 80% of the battle.
Second, we’d turn to the reality that your product or service will not solve everyone’s problem. You have to be willing to walk away from the deal if your price and terms can not be met.
If you’ve got these set, you have a really strong disposition in the sales process and you’ll avoid most of the pitfalls that business development professionals lay victim to despite their best efforts.
Sales is about Serving
Like many things in life, sometimes our understanding of things comes from poor sources. Sales is portrayed in movies and TV as one of the most horrid, evil professions on the market. Tricking people into buying things they don’t need, taking advantage of them.
If this is your prospective, please leave the profession.
Sales is serving. Its about finding fit between what you offer and the client’s problems or needs. Your job is to help discover the fit between the service and the client’s need. You play the same role of the client, on the same side of the table. If the product doesn’t fit, you should be able to say that, help them on their journey and carry on with your next opportunity.
Selling then means making sure the value position is clear, helping uncover value and presenting value. Yes, you will contrast the competition, but only in light of find a match, not to disparage.
Although what we just uncovered, might have felt like a bandaid off a wound, you are in the right space. Reading this article means you know there is a better way, but might not know where to turn. Keep digging. Find better training, find better mentors, find the right resources to become better.
But please never again mention your deadline to close a deal, the discounts you are willing to make, or anything else that makes the customer feel like a notch in your belt, vs a real partner.