As I travel across the country, I hear a number of sales managers complaining about how hard it is to make quota, how difficult it has become to motivate their salespeople, and how challenging it is to keep a sense of balance in their lives. People work crazy hours. Some get up at 5:00 a.m. to check emails, and others take their BlackBerrys to bed, firing off messages past midnight. The sad part is that these overworked executives are no longer enjoying work, the quality of their lives has declined, and their mediocre results do not reflect their true capabilities.
The recession has changed people’s definition of success, and in many cases it has pushed people into a mind-set of mediocrity. In my view, mediocrity is not the result of atrophied capabilities, but the result of a mind-set that clings to the success models of the past that have stopped working years ago.
Winners reject mediocrity in all parts of their lives
You have probably heard of Seth Godin, a best-selling author, a spellbinding keynote speaker and a thought leader in the field of social media, marketing, and leadership. Seth wrote remarkable books such as The Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable, The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick), and All Marketers are Liars: The Power of Telling Authentic Stories in a Low-Trust World. In this five-minute video, Seth explains how salespeople are conditioned to embrace mediocrity by trying to fit in with everybody else. One of Seth’s keen observations is that salespeople are working too hard trying to persuade prospects who are not really listening to them. Seth believes that prospects are increasingly indifferent, especially when they have not been pre-sold on the salesperson through a personal social-media connection or interaction.
Don’t ignore social media, embrace it. It makes selling a lot easier.
Since the video with Seth Godin aired, Nielsen Online reported that social networking has overtaken email in terms of global reach. If your selling model is still limited to email blasts, you probably noticed that your response rates have gone down steadily. What you may not have realized is that your prospects are spending less time reading your emails and more time reading other people’s comments on your competitor’s product or service on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter. Godin was right: Salespeople who want to win need to spend more time pre-selling customers. Is the pre-sales process a missing link in your company? If so, close the gap and mediocrity will vanish.
The person with a winner’s mind-set continually adapts to what works, while one with a mind-set of mediocrity continually complains about what doesn’t work.
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