Innovate or Perish?

Are you getting better or worse? Have you discovered some things which worked in the past are not as effective, if at all? Are your customers more demanding, your prospects more questioning and your suspects increasingly clever at “hiding”?

These are just a few of the questions sales managers are asking me to address in sales seminars with their staff. As the pace of change speeds up, the need to innovate on a continuous basis becomes paramount in meeting the challenges of the marketplace. Clients have more options than ever before, loyalties are shifting and if you cannot provide what they want, when they want it and how they want it, they will find someone who will! Salespeople are changing too and want to feel good about what they are doing.

Successful salespeople are discovering the innovation required to handle change can be supplemented by a concerted effort to build on the following:

  • knowing how to reduce threat and build trust
  • understanding the pressures their customers are experiencing
  • being able to think on their feet and adapt rules and policies to meet the customer’s needs when appropriate
  • having their own act together and viewing change as an opportunity rather than a roadblock
  • gaining complete, accurate, up-to-the-minute knowledge of their product/service, their competition and their market
  • building long-term relationships with clients
  • looking for opportunities to provide service outside of the specific sales situation which enhance the relationship building

Technology offers tremendous tools to assist the sales process and sales professionals need to learn how to use these tools effectively as opposed to being “caught up” in every new and improved device available. Digital cellular phones, PDAs, voice-messaging systems, pagers, portable faxes, laptops, satellite communications. etc. are exciting and yet can become a new “gimmick” for the inexperienced user that serves to detract from sales performance rather than adding to it. Take the time to master the tool to maximize its usefulness, network with other users to gain from their experience and expertise, while not forgetting the importance of the personal touch. New technology can get you the initial sale … it is the after-sales service and relationship building that will turn you into a sales superstar in the eyes of your client.

Innovation requires effective application, not just knowledge. Knowledge without application is of very little value and can even produce guilt. … “If I know how to do this, why am I not already doing it?” It is the doers rather than the knowers who make things happen and produce results. Innovation really starts with you!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *