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The Sales Shrink – For Crying Out Loud…

by Tina Cherpes, Featured Contributor

Behavior Therapy – #16

SIX MONTHS LATER, Leah’s annoyance lingered, “You’re darn right they lost the bid, I mean for crying out loud, we’re an organization that assists women. Did they really think we wouldn’t notice the absolute lack of diversity in their sales team?”.

When it comes to team selling situations, prospective clients routinely cite three key-areas of influence that effect vendor selection: mix of personnel at the presentation; skill level of individual presenters; and team cohesiveness.

sales shrinkMore often than not, prospects will notice when a sales team does not have the right blend of personnel. Whether it’s technical competencies, service acumen, organizational status, or as in Leah’s situation, diversity; it is critical to bring the right (right for that client) mix of talent to every new opportunity.

So how do we know in advance we have the right mix?

The likelihood is we won’t, particularly if we have no history with the client or the company. And, while we can rarely be certain even our best efforts will mirror our client’s expectations, we can reduce our risk of error by following a few key principles:

* Know and be able to articulate what problems we solve and what differentiates our products/services. This is neither easy nor quick and requires company, culture, competitor, and service provider research.

* Consider the composition of the audience. Knowing who and how many will be in attendance helps us structure our selling team’s composition, appropriateness of our marketing material, and deliver a focused, client-centric message.

* Practice. Presentation skills and tenure/title aren’t necessarily correlated. And discovering during our sales presentation that our Operations Manager is incapable of making eye contact with new acquaintances typically won’t inspire a great deal of client confidence.


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