It’s end of month and if you are anything like the sales people and managers I just started working with, today you are either sighing in relief that you made quota- even if it was at the last day- or wincing in anticipation of the explanation you are going to have to give on why you missed quota.
It’s like in school when you would have to cram for a test the night before, everyone is blurry eyed, probably sick from stress, and can’t wait to just get it over with. The same reasons students end up cramming for tests are the same ones that happen to sales people at end of month.
Here are the symptoms I am seeing with my clients and what I shared with them this week.
End of month symptoms, causes and recommended treatments
Discounting is a lie that sales leaders and sales people fall into when they fail to sell on value upfront. If you haven’t done the work in the beginning right, you are likely to fall into the discounting lie to try to get buyers to do something now.
To start selling on value, asking more better and tougher questions of decision makers is necessary. Check out these articles to help with that:
- Mark Roberge on the HubSpot Sales blog: “Selling Through Influencers” (read the comments as well!)
- To start conversations off right from the very beginning, read “When does the close start?” and “The Art and Science of Layered Sales Questions”.
To understand what to ask, who to ask it of, and how to ask it, make sure you understand what value is to them. Read here how the communication “pie chart” can change and how to relate to every level of an organization.
The Sales Dance-
If the majority of your emails and calls are, “just following up to see where the decision is,” or “checking in to see if you got the go-ahead,” and prospects are either not responding or putting you off, you are doing the sales dance. You know, the one where you check your email every 5 minutes hoping they’ve responded, or when they ask a question and you jump to answer with lots of very correct technical information.
This happens when you haven’t uncovered each individual’s compelling reason to change the status quo, haven’t establish the cost of consequences if it is not changed, nor come to an agreed timeline of when they need to see results by to avoid the cost of consequences. (Make sure you read “The Art and Science of Layered Questions”.)
If and/or when you uncover the problem, don’t jump into your solution and how you can make it all better. Dig further into what that means if they don’t fix it.
There is a phrase that goes, “When you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.” When you don’t value and respect your time and insights, neither will your buyer. Read the article “5 Signs You Need to Fire a Prospect” for a few ways you can stop the sales dance and get buyers stop putting you off.
Sales people and leaders who resign themselves to the fact that there is little they can do to change their end of month and aren’t proactive with their network and accounts will always have an excuse.
This is one reason why stats like, “Buyers are 57% of the way through the process before they talk to a salesperson” are dangerous. Not because they are or are not true, but because of the belief now being clung to by sales people and leaders. It lulls salespeople into a false sense that they have to react to the buyer and that an individual sales plan and strategy isn’t necessary.
Don’t just read, take action.
Share your plan for the month with a peer or mentor, kick off the conversation you need to have, or just had. Check our recordings from previous live sales coaching sessions to make next month a different story.