My wife and I have been watching 24 for the last few months and we've made it to season 7. Once in a while, one or both of us falls asleep during late-night episodes but we are always saved by:
PREVIOUSLY ON 24...
With that in mind, I will save you if you didn't happen to read last week's article which is a pre-requisite for this one.
PREVIOUSLY ON UNDERSTANDING THE SALES FORCE...
My article revealed that salespeople who are burdened with the need to be liked are far less effective at selling than those who don't have that weakness. The biggest insight of all was that these salespeople were 47% less effective reaching decision makers!
This article will take the same approach and use the same data from Objective Management Group's (OMG) evaluations of 1.8 million salespeople to look at salespeople who are uncomfortable having a financial conversation with their prospects and customers. The latest data reveals that 60% of all salespeople have this weakness! What do you think it will reveal?
As you might guess, the money weakness effects fewer competencies than the need to be liked. Where the need to be liked has an impact on sales effectiveness in 7 of 21 sales competencies, discomfort discussing finances impacts only 4 of those sales competencies. See the table below.
It should not be a surprise that this weakness has an impact on the Value Seller (47% less effective), Qualifier (50% less effective) and Negotiator (46% less effective) competencies. What might be surprising is the overall impact it has on Sales Percentile (they score 69% worse overall) and Opportunity Probability. Salespeople who are uncomfortable having the financial conversation are 50% less likely to close their opportunities than those who are comfortable! That's huge! Coincidentally (we are measuring different things here), that is the same difference as in the Qualifier competency. Cool!
But the big story here is not the difference in effectiveness. In my opinion, there are two big stories with discomfort talking about money.
- Wasted time and energy - just think about the calls, meetings, visits, quotes, proposals and people that were involved in the HALF of opportunities that didn't close. That is a huge waste.
- Lost opportunity - think about two numbers - either the value of a customer, account or deal and the number of customers, accounts or deals in a year. Let's pretend that a deal is worth an average of $25,000 and each salesperson closes an average of 4 per month or 48 per year. That comes out to $1.2 million. If a salesperson with this weakness is wasting 50% of his opportunities, that is $1.2 million in lost opportunities - PER SALESPERSON - with this weakness!
While the need to be liked can take many months to overcome, overcoming one's discomfort discussing finances is more of a decision to simply have these conversations. So if you have this weakness, the $1.2 million dollar question is, are you ready to double your sales?
Read the discussion and add your comment to the LinkedIn thread for this article.