We Have Met The Enemy and He Is Us!

Posted: May 3, 2010 in Making Customers
Tags: , , , , ,

Most of us are familiar with that classic line from Walt Kelly’s famous Pogo cartoon strip. It is a simple, memorable and clear reminder that often we are the largest part of the problems that affect us. It isn’t the outside circumstances, not the other guy, not the economy, not the competitors’ great new product, or whatever else it is that we may be blaming. And so it is with sales, sales management and sales strategies we employ…we are often our own worst enemy.

This point has been illustrated to me time and time again in my conversations with building leaders; Presidents, CEO’s, Owners and Partners, Division Executives and Project Managers. I draw a horizontal line on a piece of paper and say that the line represents the profit for a project. Then I ask the executive to place an X below the line for how much damage they believe the wrong salesperson can do. Usually X is minus 5, or maybe even as far as X minus 10 below the line. (A wise reader would consider that this fact alone should scare the executive into a course of extensive sales coaching and training. But that’s another conversation.)

Then I ask for a second X to be placed above the line for how much of an increase they believe they can get if they have the right salesperson. They will mark X plus 1, maybe as high as X plus 3. (But X plus 3 only if they are extremely optimistic.) The second X has never been placed as high above the line as the first X was below the line.

The executives are saying that the best salesperson’s opportunity for improvement is not nearly as good as the wrong salesperson’s opportunity for disaster. Why is that? The answer is simple and based on their experience. They have seen plenty of salespeople ruin projects but they have seen so few excellent salespeople take a community to new heights that exceed expectations.

It’s kind of like seeing a little boy playing in the mud, doing his best to make castles with the dirt by the side of the road. He’s never been to the beach, so when you try to explain to him that if he went just a mile or so down the road there would be more water and sand than he could ever need to make the biggest castle he could ever imagine, the little boy just kind of looks at you with that ‘you’ve-got-to-be-kidding’ look little boys can give you, and says no thanks, I’ll stay here. I’m happy with my little puddle of mud by the side of the road.

I have seen the little boy who gets wide-eyed and excited after seeing the ocean and beach after saying, okay, let’s go. I have worked with the executive, who realizes that their negative experience has clouded and distorted their vision and kept them from accepting the possibility of something better. The executive, who realizes that by taking a few steps, even if by faith, can discover a new experience that changes their view of sales, the sales process and how their sales people can be managed and led. I have seen and experienced this change because I have helped to make it happen. I’ve been part of the process of long term, sustained change in sales that not only increases revenue, but benefits the entire team, including the customer’s experience and loyalty. This is why I am committed to see this experience become more normal, more common. This is “The Sales Revolution”!

Join me in, “The Sales Revolution” and be a part of the growing number of people who realize that there is a vast opportunity to demonstrate just how solid and effective the right sales leadership, sales intentions and sales process will affect your sales team. Not only will this affect the bottom line, but almost every operational area and person in a homebuilding company.

By Kirk Chittick

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