Monday, December 06, 2010

The 12 Pillars of "Integrated Visiblility" - Number One: "Sales"

I will be writing about all "12 Pillars of Integrated Visibility" over the next several weeks. The skills involved to create success in each area are rarely present within a single individual, and this is why so many companies fail to achieve the success they desire. There must be company-wide involvement to make it all come together. I am starting with "Sales" because it is the centerpiece and purpose of all businesses, and the way we measure success in a company. Sales is tangible, but it does not stand alone. Without the other "pillars" the roof will collapse.

I spend a lot of my time training professionals about the importance of "Integrated Visibility". My keynote presentations, sales training classes, coaching and consulting programs all are based on the idea that there is no one magic bullet that will automatically bounce the revenues of the company. Gone are the days where a series of tricks and scripts would lead to more business. Buyers are cautious and better educated than ever before. It takes intention to win in today's business world.

Selling is about helping the customer make the right decision and meet their needs. It is win / win. When done with correctly and with integrity, selling is a noble act. Some look down on "sales" as a manipulative act, or a necessary evil..... WRONG - Sales is the engine of commerce!

In every industry there is increased competition, lower barriers to entry and far too much noise. This confuses the buyers and turns too many products and services into commodities. To get to success in selling a business must engage in more than "Random Acts of Selling".

Many executives are hungry for a "system" that will lead them to overnight success. This desire makes them vulnerable to spending time and money on programs that will not create the necessary change inside their company. You cannot hire a "Nanny" who will magically change your corporate diapers. It can be messy, but you have to put all the pieces together (Some Assembly IS Required!).

Everyone in an organization should care about "sales", and all should feel they are part of the "Business Development Team". When your employees do not believe they are connected to the sales process, the company comes up short. Companies need revenues to operate, and without the acquisition of paying clients the doors will not stay open very long. There are 12 pillars to "Integrated Visibility", but the purpose all these disciplines is to increase sales.

Businesses of all sizes struggle with this issue and spend too much time defining the steps involved and not enough times doing.

One company I know is fanatical about the idea of "sales", but continues to fail in the different paths the company takes because the executives believe "sales" stands alone. They have had ups and downs over the years, many of which are due to external economic factors in their industry, and little to do with their understanding of how their customers and prospects view the business. They spend all their efforts gazing at their navels, and not enough time getting their people engaged in selling.

According to the American Society of Training and Development (ASTD) selling is:

"The holistic business system required to effectively develop, manage, enable, and execute a mutually beneficial, interpersonal exchange of goods and/or services for equitable value."

Thus it cannot stand alone, as it is part of the whole "system". A prospect will rarely to get to the "sale" by accident. There is no "sales fairy" to sprinkle magic dust over your products.

Buyers and sellers are two equally important sides of a transaction. Both must be engaged in the process for everyone to achieve the desired results. Once you have the attention of the prospect, you can begin to sell.... but it takes longer than ever to get them to look at you amongst all the noise from competitors and other vendors who are calling them constantly.

Many businesses care good at getting attention, but fail to close the business. The most successful sales professionals know that in the end you must ask the prospect to buy. The act of selling is not hoping they will buy from you, but actually getting the contract signed. To accomplish this action, everyone must be confident in the process. Sometimes people in sales jobs do not really believe in their company (the products, services, customer service, or integrity of management), and this will limit results. Thus sales success is about more than the person you hire to carry a bag. Every aspect of your company culture will impact the process.

You should care a lot about "sales" if you run a business (or work for a business), but you also need to honor to the other factors that make up the "12 Pillars of Integrated Visibility".

Have A Great Day

thom singer

No comments: