This is Sales Coach Chuck with the “State of Sales Address” and tonight I’m glad we’re all here by virtue of internet communication in an effort to bring the sales nation together for some extremely important information as it relates to the state of sales.
The sales world is changing. I am hearing from everyone—from sales owners, executives, managers—how new business is by far the most critical part of today’s business world. Maintaining accounts is important. If you’re coasting, you’re gone. But if you’re going to have any effect, bring up the level of new business and reduce the time maintaining existing accounts.
If you spend too much time maintaining existing accounts, you probably have a codependent relationship with those clients. You cannot justify your sales position by simply maintaining existing clients—you must be developing and getting new clients. As they say on tv, size matters. What’s the size of your sales funnel? Is it large; do you have a lot of business coming in? If you do, you’ll be the sales person who is going to thrive in today’s economy. The people with medium-sized funnels will probably be okay. But the sales people with small funnels will be gone.
New business is important.
Here’s a rule of thumb: 80/20. Let’s say you’re sitting there with your business model that’s 80% maintaining existing accounts and 20% generating new business. That won’t cut it. You’ve got to flip flop those percentages to 80% new business development and 20% existing business maintenance. You can’t do it over night, but you’ve got to make an effort.
Start today increasing the time you work with new business and decreasing the time you work with existing account with which you have a codependent relationship. And don’t sit there and say “Chuck, don’t tell me that existing accounts need to go bye-bye.”
Three-pronged Approach To Help You Set Priorities
- (E) – Emergent
- (U) – Urgent
- (N) – Non-urgent
If it’s an emergency, your clients will come to you for help, but if it’s urgent or non-urgent, they will have to go to customer service. If you allow them to violate these boundaries, you haven’t clearly communicated that to your clients and you have a codependent sales relationship. And guess what? If you don’t fix it, if you weren’t spending additional time on new business, you are in trouble—I can’t say it more clearly than that. We track our students’ activities. When I saw a rise in daily administrative activities for two students who work for the same company but in different states, I knew something was going on and made an emergency conference call. And I found out that their company’s infrastructure issues accounted for the uneven time-task distribution that hindered their revenue-producing activities.
To make the move from 20% time on revenue-producing activities to 80%, just say “You know what? I’m going to start today. I’ve listened to Chuck’s video. Now I’m going to write down his valuable instructions and start putting more time and emphasis on cultivating new business.” This way you will keep up with the changes and increase your business and revenue.
Don’t Forget To Ask For Referrals!
One other violation, other than the codependent client-base holding pattern, is something most salespeople do: fail to ask for a referral. In every point of every communication, you should be asking for one or even more referrals. I recently launched a referral response program using a 3.5×5 card called a Referral Response Card. A Referral Response Card goes into every mailing piece, on the website, etc. You want new business? Ask for a referral.
Salespeople, I’ve kinda been busting your chops and now it’s time to do the same to the sales executives and higher ups. Sales executives and owners, know this: if you’re going to ask salespeople to jump on the bandwagon of generating new business, you’ve got to provide the infrastructure so that their clients won’t need to be babysat. The codependent relationship between salesperson and client is a big no-no, and you’ve got to stop doing things that only helps the relationship continue. I know this sort of thing goes on because I visit those companies. It’s extremely important to get infrastructure taken care of so the sales people have the time to work on generating new business and revenue-generating potential for your company. So please, do me and your salespeople a favor: take care of those customer service issues so your salespeople can concentrate on getting new business.