The Hidden Costs of Relying on Someone Else’s Sales Knowledge as a Blueprint for Your Success
I know from speaking with sales reps and VP’s of Sales across the country that following someone else’s blueprint for success can be a dangerous time-waster.
Sales formulas, processes, and strategies can seem like the flavor of the season.
Changing things up and moving on when something doesn’t work makes sense. But churning up chaos with fits of stops and starts can be a real career killer.
One day it’s all about the Challenger Sales Model and next year it’s MEDDIC. Every day it’s eat, sleep, and breath the MEDDIC checklist.
Until of course, we need more answers and then you discover Scientific Selling. I mean, who can argue with SCIENCE?!
The formulas become the next solution to all our sales problems.
Now I’m certainly not suggesting you shut your mind to new ideas. Or that you don’t take what you can use from valuable sales programs.
Everyone has taken someone else’s ideas and applied them to their unique situation. Ideas help salespeople make money. Ideas hep make things better.
But some advice should be thrown away.
Someone else just can’t do your thinking for you. What works for SAP isn’t going to work for you.
Because there is only one SAP and no one will clone them.
Magic Sales Formulas and Methodologies
If there were a magic sales formula out there, we’d all follow it and have predictable results. But the frustrating or exhilarating thing (depending on how you see it) about sales is that it’s part art and part science.
And there is one solid-as-steel reason for this.
It’s because we deal with PEOPLE.
And the people we read about online, the buyer profiles we make, and the customer personas we imagine are never quite right.
There’s always a few nuances, a few surprises, and unpredictable factors we don’t see coming.
There’s inevitably some question we ask that just don’t land right with the people we’re trying to persuade.
But sometimes when we’re feeling high pressure, frustration, or overwhelm, we go looking for answers. And everyone on the internet apparently has them.
(Occasionally I look up the LinkedIn profile of some of these advice-givers and find that many have limited applicable experience or expertise.)
Some of the recommended solutions will even create more problems than they solve.
The bottom line is this……
You can read a report, download a guide, but at the end of the day, the only way to find out information is to ask the people in YOUR company.
Find out what’s true for you.
Want to know why people leave your company?
Don’t assume it’s because Millennial’s are just impatient job-hoppers because that’s what everyone else is proclaiming.
Set up a quick survey, do an exit interview, ask the quitter’s best work buddy what really tipped them over the edge. Then make note and ask several others.
Find commonalities in your own team and use that information to implement change.
It reminds me of a time when I had a high-profile client Jordan recruiting for a star software salesperson. The PE company asked my sales candidate Dan a few questions.
And since Dan came from a top school, had an impressive GPA, and a track record of TOP performance at a very large software organization, he was well prepared.
Except there was one problem.
In order to prepare for the final interview with Jordan, Dan purchased and read several books on PE firms.
He was a software salesperson and not an investment type, so he wanted to study up for this meeting.
And although he was unquestionable bright, he came across as an amateur during the interview.
My client Jordan said Dan kept referencing the books he read for just about everything. Yet he had an industry titan sitting right across the desk from him.
It didn’t matter, Dan kept talking about the books.
He kept bringing up what the authors had to say about everything. Dan kept referencing their formulas for success. Needless to say, Dan didn’t get the job. (Names have been changed to protect the innocent.)
So what’s the hidden costs of someone else’s blueprints?
You are at risk for stopping and starting. Looking indecisive and losing the ability to trust your own good common sense.
You ignore what’s in front of you for general information coming from some other channel once removed from your own unique situation.
So collect new ideas, and certainly think them over.
Brainstorm with your colleagues, executives, peers, and direct reports. Ask the people you’re working with. Because they understand the situation first-hand.
Consider how timing, current market conditions, the people involved, power dynamics, finances, corporate culture, and the competitive landscape impacts your situation.
Leverage and apply the ideas that might fit, test promising solutions, and throw everything else out.
Over the lifespan of my recruiting career (19 years worth), I’ve had many repeat clients. Clients who’ve used me for years.
But I’ve never had the same client twice. And I have yet to experience the same job market twice.
Of course, don’t take my word for it…...