Where were we…?
Oh yes, I had this blog going about enjoying sales and sales processes. Then I became sidetracked due to a job change which in many ways was a buying process. Combine that with COVID lockdown, the coldest spring in Norway since anyone can remember and there’s been a lot to deal with.
The job change was one of the biggest decisions I’ve had to make about my future for a long time and as such it wasn’t anything to be undertaken lightly, especially as my previous employer was nothing but good to me for the nine years I was there and my colleagues were an amazing collection of talented people.
In these situations it’s easy to become paralysed by the sheer scale of the decision to be made and to shy away from actually taking a stand. This can be applied to sales too – it’s very easy to avoid the difficult decisions and to hope they resolve themselves without you having to provide input or effort. This laissez-faire (that’s French for “let it be” or “let it happen”) attitude can be useful at times as it allows the client room to reach their own conclusions.
To proceed or to walk away?
For instance – the big decision of whether to walk away from a potential sale or to keep exploring different avenues to the business.
We’ve all been there. The meetings with the client go well, but not super-well. The client is enthusiastic but noncommittal. The solution looks great but there are few buying signals. What do you do?
It’s so, so easy to avoid the decision (and the wrath of your sales manager) by booking another meeting with the same clients and hoping that somehow, miraculously they’ll turn round and say they want to buy it.
How about this? Take a step back and examine your entire sales process. Do you, in your heart of hearts, believe that you’ve covered all the angles? Have you examined all the aspects of the clients business and spoken to all the right stakeholders? Do you fully believe that whatever solution you are offering will genuinely help the client rather than just provide a way for you to get your bonus cheque?
Another example is if you are a business threatened by an external event that can potentially upend your industry. The European Union is planning to implement rules for sustainability reporting in 18 months time for all companies listed in Europe with more than 250 employees. What do you do? Do you sit still and hope that something, anything, will come along that will enable you to deal with it, or do you start planning and preparing already, OR do you close your business?
Time to make a decision:
So how do you actually enjoy making the decision? Well, it’s not that difficult.
Firstly: Realise that not making a decision is also a decision. This has the effect of clarifying the mind and showing that actually there are three alternatives: Do nothing, Take action, and Take (another) action. Assuming you are a rational being, you will not willingly choose Do nothing.
Secondly: Having eliminated the “do nothing” approach you can confidently evaluate option one and two. In the case of walking away from the client or not it becomes a matter of “how much effort and time do I have to put into this client to get a sale” versus “how much time and effort do I have to put in to get a sale at another client”. Simply put: is it worth it.
Thirdly: Most importantly, realise that walking away from, or re-engaging with whatever situation you are in is NOT an admission of failure. It’s a conscious choice to improve your circumstances.
So: Make your decision, enjoy it and commit to it.