Years ago, while I was working for a company in the sales trenches, a fellow salesperson was always struggling to make his number. He would fight and claw to get approval on small opportunities that were not really in our sweet spot.
He would go to the mat to get a discount for a prospect that wasn’t quite right for our business – happy to negotiate internally with our boss to get the client a better deal rather than stand his ground and get them to pay what our services were worth.
I didn’t realize it at the time, but upon reflection there were two major factors, made worse by a significant need, that caused my co-worker’s struggles.
The two forces at work:
A lack of Sales DNA and the missing Hedgehog were the forces that propelled my co-worker to fight to discount every deal and argue to do business outside our core focus.
Help salespeople by articulating the differentiators that make your company great.
But the real, underlying reason why these two forces were in play was because his behavior was not managed. He had an empty pipeline with inadequate prospects for the future. Thus, he had stress, fear and anxiety. So, he was desperate for every deal. He resorted to what my friend Casey Brown, president of Boost Pricing calls “fear-based discounting.”
To fix this all, focus on behaviors, ones that fill the pipeline and ones that improve the conversation during the call. Reduce the emphasis purely on results and help change the actions of salespeople who have a tendency to fight for every deal, and for discounts on behalf of the client. Since their pipeline will now be full, there is no desperation associated with any one sales opportunity.
Finally, coach salespeople to improve their Sales DNA while being very clear and precise about your company’s Hedgehog. That means making sure the entire team knows what your company does better than others. Then have everyone drive a truck through it.
Gretchen Gordon is the founder of Braveheart Sales Performance, a consulting firm specializing in sales team transformation. A self-proclaimed “Sales Nerd” with over 27 years of sales, sales leadership and sales team transformation experience, she spends most of her time working directly with client companies and helping them improve their sales effectiveness and exceed their sales goals. Gretchen is also a frequent guest speaker for industry events and webcasts, and has been featured on the radio talk shows “Meet the Sales Experts” and "Sales Coaching over Coffee." She is also an accomplished writer, having been featured on industry-leading sites like SellingPower.com and SecurityInfoWatch.com. She authors a “Top 50 Sales Management Blog,” according to Docurated.com, and has published sales-focused eBooks, including “The 5 Essentials of Effective Sales Management” and “Cold Calling in the 21st Century.”
Find out more about Gretchen Gordon on LinkedIn