The big problem with sales and business development: Scarcity

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Inbound or outbound -- and lead quality -- are often determined by decisions and activities long before you see your first inquiry or make your initial sales call.

Over the past week, I’ve been reviewing John Asher’s book: “Close Deals Faster” and I certainly appreciate it has some useful ideas and insights for anyone either working in sales/business development or overseeing the activities in architectural, engineering and construction businesses.

Yet, after reading his book, like many others I’ve studied in the past three decades, I believe most of us will still suffer from the gnawing and painful perception that (a) really good sales talent is extremely hard to find and (b) all the systems, training and processes you build into your sales/business development initiatives will really only have a marginal impact if there isn’t already a natural and easy-to-grasp pre-disposition for clients to do business with you.

The challenge in creating that predisposition, the “branding” of your enterprise, requires much more than skillful sales closing guidance. This is especially the case since most of the elements that go into marketing success really stretch beyond the marketing, to your overall service delivery, client experience quality, and business ethics and practices.  In other words, it is hard to sell effectively without a really good brand behind your sales story, and it is really hard to have a good brand without delivering the goods in terms of quality, and client experience/satisfaction.

Can sales and business development training be helpful? Of course, just as everything you do has some incremental value in improving your overall business and its culture. But it cannot provide the magic bullet to solve your underlying problems and turn your business from failure to success. That requires a much deeper and longer journey.

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