My guest on yesterday's edition of Meet the Sales Experts was Matt Brezina, the co-founder of Xobni. Do you have Xobni on your computer? If you do, you know just how helpful it is. If you don't, all you need to know is that it will make you more you MUCH more productive with your Outlook or Blackberry email applications. Listen to the show to learn more about it or visit their web site.
Matt talked a little about what he called Xobni's Pivots - the early changes or decisions they made which altered their course and led to their success (5 million downloads). This was very interesting and I thought it was very transferable to sales. For instance, even though they could have built the next great email application, they decided that building something that worked with Outlook had much more potential than building something that competed against Outlook.
In sales, pivots can occur with your market, accounts, strategies and sales calls. The key is to recognize an event that calls for a pivot. For example, yesterday I was coaching two salespeople from different companies who both had the same problem. They failed to close deals that they thought were closable. In both scenarios, it seemed to me that they were trying to sell solutions that the prospects weren't ready or willing to buy. Time to Pivot. If prospects aren't willing to buy what the salespeople want to sell, is there something the salespeople can sell that the prospects are willing to buy? The trouble usually starts when salespeople aren't paying enough attention to their prospects and are more concerned with their outcomes. Outcomes will always take care of themselves if salespeople are listening, asking questions, qualifying, paying attention, measuring responses, checking for comfort and buy-in and taking as many baby steps as the prospect requires. The salesperson might be ready to close but for whatever reason, the prospects may not have arrived there yet. Sometimes the reverse is true. Prospects get there first and the salesperson is so slow to realize that they end up frustrating their prospect, talking right past the close, and finally take a put-off. So much of sales success is like hitting a baseball - it's all in the timing. See the ball - hit the ball. Pivots are in baseball too - most double plays require the fielder covering second base to make a pivot - a change in direction. Who would have thought that Baseball could be so much like selling? Great idea for a book, huh?