We humans sometimes try to rationalize away the fundamentals of good sales practices with specious arguments like “You don’t understand, my business is different.” We pretend to ourselves that we are somehow special, somehow immune to the same laws of business and sales that apply to everyone else.
But the fundamentals in business and sales are fundamental because they have stood the test of time. They have proven that they work. If you look at the highest performers in any human endeavor, what you will see is someone that has embraced and mastered the fundamentals.
Cold Calling Doesn’t Work in My Business
Some salespeople rationalize away the need to make prospecting calls by suggesting that it doesn’t work for their business or in their specific industry.
Some suggest that buying has changed, and that there is no longer a reason to make prospecting calls, cold or otherwise. They believe that their inbound efforts should be enough.
Others suggest that their prospective clients don’t accept cold calls, and that their prospects wouldn’t buy from a salesperson that approached them by picking up the phone. Or they say that their dream clients prefer some other communication method.
I had an aikido master who said: “Aikido works. Your aikido may not work.”
The truth is that cold calling does work, and there are people in your industry who are very successful using the phone to prospect. Your clients (like everyone else’s) don’t have any great love for being interrupted, unless the salesperson doing the interrupting can help the further their business. And as much as I believe our client’s communication preferences are changing, I have yet to find a salesperson that uses only email with better numbers than a salesperson that primarily uses the phone.
Selling Value Instead of Price Doesn’t Work in my Market
Everyone believes their market is special and that their dream clients are more sensitive to price than ever. The reason so many of us feel this is way is because it’s generally true. It’s generally true because so many salespeople believe the primary decision criteria for their dream client is price—not cost—and they sell as if that’s true. They are out chasing the bottom.
It doesn’t matter what you sell, there are prospective clients that will pay a higher price to obtain greater value. But there are plenty of salespeople and sales organizations that can and do sell value. There are some who have cracked the code and learned how to create the value that allows them to command higher prices.
The truth is that there are more buyers that understand value than there are salespeople who are willing to do the hard work of shifting the conversation from price to cost. The reason it’s easier to believe your business is different than it is to command the price you deserve is because it is difficult.
My Market Is Saturated. There Are No Opportunities.
Some salespeople believe that they can’t create enough new opportunities because their market is too crowded. They rationalize their inability to create opportunities by suggesting that all of their prospects already have a provider. One thing that you can be certain is true: your dream clients already have a partner. The fact that they use what you sell is part of what makes them your dream client.
It is difficult to create new opportunities in every industry. It’s true that most of our markets are more crowded than ever. This means that most of us are in the business of competitive displacement; to gain market share, we have to take somebody else’s dream client from them (and know that while we are doing so, they are trying to take ours).
The fundamentals are fundamentals because they are true, because they stood the test of time. None of this is easy, but rationalizing it away won’t help you improve your results. Instead, you have to bring you’re a-game every day.
What do you tell yourself about what makes your business different?
How do you use that to excuse yourself from doing the heavy lifting?
Are the differences real, or is it just that what is necessary to produce results is often difficult?
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