Would You Trade Efficiency for Effectiveness

If your win rate would increase substantially by your making an additional face-to-face sales call, would the “lack of efficiency” be worth the increase in effectiveness?

If slowing down and spending more time in the discovery phase would allow you to come up with the right solution through collaboration while also building consensus, would slowing down be valuable if it meant a greater likelihood of winning the deal?

Would the time spent nurturing your dream clients over the course of 36 months be worth it that initiative was responsible for your winning two or three multi-million dollar opportunities with the kind of loyal clients that remain with you for a decade?

Efficiently Inefficient

There is a particular focus on increasing efficiency in sales that stems from the digital age in which we find ourselves. The desire to use technology to gain efficiencies has caused companies and salespeople to trade automated emails for phone calls, and web meetings for face-to-face to meetings, reducing the time and the expense of selling.

Because efficiency is the stated goal, the reliance on technology is accompanied by a form of Taylorism, slicing the sales roles thinner and thinner in attempt to “reserve the most expensive” sales resources for “closing well-qualified leads.” Both of these strategies are supposed to win more deals faster, and at a lower price. The less expensive, less effective salesperson is the first to speak to a prospective client, instead of the greater value creator.

Like many good ideas, when one takes an idea too far, the result is often the opposite of what was intended. The complex, dynamic, and non-linear activity that is selling doesn’t resemble the assembly line. Your efficiency doesn’t do anything to help people and companies change, and make no mistake when you are selling that you are engaged in change management (whether you like it or not, and whether you believe you are responsible for doing so).

No Wasted Effort

The additional face-to-face call isn’t inefficient if it increases your wins. If not making the call means you are likely to lose, you wasted all the effort up to that point, making skipping the face-to-face call inefficient.

If slowing down to create greater value and certainty for your prospective client and all their stakeholders means you have the right answer and the support that results in a win, it is inefficient not to have the additional meetings.

When you repeatedly do something that causes you to expend energy without achieving the desired outcome, that process is inefficient. For that process to be efficient, you’d need to achieve the result, in the case of selling, that means winning.

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