I've written about our son around 30 times over the past 10 years and in those articles where I mentioned sports, the sport was always baseball. For the last three years, his fall sport has been cross-country and in the past two months he has won 6 meets. This year, he transitioned from participating in to winning his events.
While there are several sales analogies I could point to for this turn of events, there is one in particular that is crucial if your company sells more than one product or service.
Over the years, one of the common frustrations that executives have shared with me is that so many of their salespeople - even their good ones - were one dimensional. They sell only one product or product line out of many. They sell to only one type of account. They thrive in only one vertical. They excel with only one particular level of decision maker. And the rhetoric is always similar too. "If these salespeople could just go from being good at one thing, to being good at two things, then we would double revenue!" So maybe they wouldn't double revenue, but certainly they could achieve a sizable increase.
Why is it so difficult for salespeople to go from master of one discipline to master of multiple disciplines?
They get comfortable.
Here's another analogy. Restaurants. You wouldn't go to an Italian Restaurant to order a burger, any more than you would go to a Chinese Restaurant and order shepherd's pie. And if you have some favorite restaurants, you probably don't vary much from the dish you always order there because it's what you like that they make so well.
We get comfortable.
So what caused our son to suddenly perform so well in cross-country? He loves to win even more than he likes competition. And when he sensed that he could actually succeed, he committed.
How do you accomplish the same thing with salespeople?
There are five things you can do:
- Stop complaining about it and make it a requirement for continued employment.
- Support the change by helping them get some early wins.
- Learn why the alternative sales target is so difficult or scary and coach to overcome the barriers.
- Offer them better direction and guidance on their approach, positioning, questioning and tactics.
- Raise your own expectations and those of your salespeople.
Over at Top Sales Magazine, there is a brand new look and they have gone to a larger, monthly magazine. I have a feature article about Mastery of Sales on page 16 of the November issue and you can download it here.
Finally, join me today (October 28, 2015) at 11 AM ET for a discussion on the role of Benchmarking and the Perfect Fit Analysis when it comes to effective Sales Selection. Register here.