Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Patience and the Art of the Sale - Growth Is Needed for Our Deals, Our Teams, and Our Clients

'Patience is necessary... One cannot reap immediately what one had sown' Soren KierkegaardIn today's high tech - instant gratification age we forget the basic truth that Kierkegaard shares. Patience is necessary in all things. Whether we are talking to the teenager that expects to leave school with no firm foundation to walk into a six figure income without putting forth the required work and innovative approaches required or a sales person that expects to close every deal without putting in the effort required to nurture the customer and the deal - in both cases we are really dealing with a certain level of immaturity and entitlement.We need to remind our team members that it does take time and patience for the seeds we plant to grow to a size that makes reaping a profitable venture. Just like the seed that grows to a plant that is ready to harvest - after nurturing and caring - so too our sales opportunities must be be tended and developed to the point where we can complete the sale. If we pull the plant too early we may end up with an underdeveloped yield. We pull the same plant too late and the plant may be past it's prime and only good for seeding the next crop. So too with our sales deals Pus the client before they are ready and your deal will not yield as much or provide as much benefit to the client. Wait too long and the circumstances around the deal may have changed so much that it may not resemble our initial vision of success.Given this truth, one must naturally ask why it is that the feeling of instant gratification and quick deals is perpetuated in our sales culture. Yes there are definitely those commodities and services that allow for the 'one call' deal yet the number of these do not align with the approach the majority of companies take. It is my belief that this is actually a failure in our organizations - a schism in the corporate culture that demands month after month performance from even the newest sales representative and does not provide sales management with the luxury of time to plant the seeds that will grow into deals. In such a case it is no wonder that uncertainty and self analysis/fear of the next months cause an unnaturally high stance of burnout amongst our middle management - one could argue our most critical level of management.

The inevitable question that arises for the leadership team relative to the balance of urgency and nurturing deals. How do we, as senior leaders, balance the need to 'feed the beast' (whether this is our shareholders or our next level of management)?We all acknowledge the truth that we cannot speed a plant to grow faster organically. Yes we can apply pesticides and genetic modification to increase the yield of the crops - but when we look at the ecosystem of a sale rarely do we have the opportunity to 'engineer' a deal for the greatest yield. Yet the demands of the organization and of the street drive harder and harder for the leadership team (and by trickle effect the entire organization) to attempt to deliver increasing amounts of profit without investing in the most critical element - patience.-------

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