Long term not just short term focus

 
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As sales professionals, at some stage, we're all guilty of sniffing a deal and going in for the close. Almost like a reflex. We can be just as brutal with professional relationships: unless there is an imminent deal, it's not worth our time. Or so we tell ourselves

Because we're all so busy, we guard our schedules.  And rightly so.  But just seeing sales opportunity through the filter of right now (worthy) or not (unworthy) is a little simplistic, short sighted and in the long run, detrimental to our ongoing success.

Experience tells us that not all deals are created equally. Closing a deal just because you can may lead to seller's remorse (yes, you know those times when a deal costs more than it's worth in time, stress, etc), leaving money on the table, and lead to a solution that may not deliver lasting value. We know it's because we haven't done enough work to uncover the fuller picture and impact.

We're told that having a longer-term focus to our approach is essential.  So, why do many sales people still go looking for the quick wins  - the low hanging fruit, the deals that will feed them TODAY (instead of a year from now)?

It goes beyond a potential deal with a prospect. It about the way we build and value relationships.

Do you only seek referrers who can put you in front of their client base right now, or do you demonstrate and prove value to them first to establish an ongoing referral relationship based on trust  and belief?  Food for thought.

There are many reasons why sales professionals revert to transactional, short term "sales hits", but here are 2 of the main culprits:

1. Sales Metrics
We've heard the adage: what gets measured gets managed, and what gets managed gets done.  So, what are we driving with our metrics?  If our measurements are encouraging sales people to be numbers driven only, we can end up with a pipeline that promises much and delivers little: lots of meetings, lots of RFP's and a few deals of significant or long term value.

Adding behavioural to KPI's helps break down the how and why for sales people. It helps to deepen their ability to build real customer insight, deliver value and clearly articulate that value to their customers in the customer's terms.

2. Sales Rewards and Recognition programs
And, what gets recognised and rewarded will be the dominant behaviour.  It's not the number or metric alone that can damage your brand and reputation.  It's the behaviour it reinforces. Consider what you reward or even praise.

So how can we combat this behaviour?  Arm your thinking with the following questions encourage longer term thinking:

  • How well do I understand my customer's challenges, drivers and priorities? How many people am I actively engaged with across the business to ensure my view is validated, balanced and objective?

  • Will this solution solve my customer's problem longer term? Will it enhance or damage my relationship with this client/industry? Will I be able to create a referral opportunity because of the value delivered and relationship I'll be able to form?

  • Will my pipeline continue to deliver value to the business going forward? When we look at our sales pipelines, it can be hard to see opportunities sitting there for longer than we'd like. Timing and relevance is everything.

Work hard, and work smart.  Build a solid sales future through disciplined thinking, focus and action. In a world of transactional selling, be the gift that keeps on giving.

Tips from John Buchanan, Beyond 19, Coaching Practicing Lead:

  • In previous tips, we have outlined that in seeking peak performance, results are very important; but understanding the process of achieving results is even more important

  • So when looking at planning, success measures, evaluating performance and game plans, everything you do today should link to tomorrow

  • The actions and behaviours that are important to the individual or team in delivering a winning day, must be a step towards winning into the future

  • We need to be able to win today to play in the future so ensure each step of the present is helping build the future

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