by Eric Stavola
In my daily conversations with business owners and decision makers, I am amazed at how in touch most of them are with their key initiatives for their business. Just ask them what their key initiatives are, and they will go on and on listing their goals and objectives for the fiscal year. What is very interesting, though, is that when I ask a follow-up question about what interferences will hold them back from hitting those initiatives, most of these key leaders struggle with the answer.
Years ago I listened to a sports psychologist by the name of Dr. David Cook who had a formula that has always stuck with me: Performance = Potential – Interference. The power of the formula is that the more we can identify and eliminate interference, the better we will perform. This is a great way to look at increasing performance (productivity) while utilizing potential elements that are available and eliminating the issues that interfere with a successful and efficient outcome
This got me thinking of our industry and some types of interference that holding back dealers or organizations from truly making a transition to services. Below are three types of interference that I have seen the most successful dealerships address to have success in their services transformation:
Solve the Identity Issue:
Everywhere I go, every office or dealership I go into, I ask each sales rep a very basic question: so what do you do? The answers I get back are never the same and are quite varies. Here are some examples:
- I sell copiers
- I help companies solves their problems
- Document solutions rep
- I find pain
- IT consultant
- Document management rep
One office I was at had a bullpen divided on whether they were sales or consultants. Seriously? We are all in sales and yes, to sell services effectively we have to take a consultative approach, but that doesn’t mean we stop selling. Our methods may be adjusted, we will need to establish trust and bring value by teaching our customers, but at the end of the day we are still selling.
It’s easy to get so caught up in all the offerings that we sell and support today that it creates an identity issue with our sales staff. The dealerships I see that have clearly defined to both its staff and clients what it sells have made a successful transition.
Making Things Too Complicated
I recently read that according to one study the average salesperson talks over 81 percent of the time in a selling situation. As I stated in my last blog, I think we all do way too much talking in our calls. I have seen 80-slide value propositions and two-page mission statements. We are making it too complicated.
- Simplify the approach: At our very core, our goal should be the most basic: have a conversation, align that conversation with our services and products, and deliver a better outcome.
- Be Relevant: The more you get your reps to focus a conversation with potential or existing clients around what is impacting their business, the more relevant we become.
- Focus on outcomes: The quicker we can get our customer talking about what is impacting their business today and some key initiatives or outcomes they want to achieve tomorrow, the better for all
Telling the Wrong Story:
We are all storytellers and I am not talking about tall stories or jokes. We are professional storytellers who tell such an effective story that we affect our customers emotionally and logically, and present paths to help them drive a business outcome.
Tell your company story effectively. I am shocked every day how most reps cannot tell an effective company story. Don’t believe me? I challenge you to walk in on Monday and ask any of your reps to tell you the company story. Be prepared to be surprised. The better you can tell your company’s story, the better your pipeline will become. While it’s easy to get overwhelmed with everything a rep can sell at a dealership today, make sure to not lose sight of telling the most important story: of that of your company.
Get reps to tell the story of why, not what. I see a lot of dealers constantly focusing on what they sell versus focusing on why they sell what they do. Teaching reps to focus on why you sell what you do rather than what you sell will allow for you to set the stage for a much broader vision of your company’s capabilities and portfolio scope.
Once you address these three types of interference you’ll begin to see a more focused sales team: one that understands not only their goals but what might prevent them from meeting their goals.
Eric Stavola is Director of Pre-Sales Engineering at mindSHIFT Technologies. He earned an M.A. in Education from Ball State University and an M.S., Computer Information Systems, from the University of Phoenix. With industry certifications including MCSE, MCSA, NET+ and CDIA+, Eric is a hands-on strategist who brings real-life experience to the table. Prior to joining mindSHIFT, Eric managed IT for major educational institutions and was COO/CIO at a multimillion dollar regional dealership.
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