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A Rising Tide Lifts All Boats

What’s going best in your business? We make it a point to ask this as our first question in sales calls, in account review meetings, and every interview of our discovery engagements.

Why do we lead with that question? Well for one, people like to talk about the good things, and we love to hear them. And starting a conversation on a positive note goes a long way toward building relationships. But mostly, it makes us smarter. It begins to give us insight into what motivates a person and their perception of success in their role.

We’ve been asking this question for years and we look for patterns in the companies we are engaged with, the industry, and/or the market to uncover opportunities to help companies and their people grow. You see, capitalizing on, hardwiring, and replicating what’s going best is as important as fixing the things that aren’t going so well.

Recently we’ve heard trends of “things going best in the business” that scare us. They are:

  1. Everyone is making more money than ever before (sales, account managers, recruiters, leaders)

  2. Our clients willing to pay more for our products/services

  3. We have so many requests for orders, we are turning away business

Why are these trends causing us concern?

They could be very hard to sustain because it may simply be a factor of “A rising tide lifts all boats”. Or they could be masking more serious problems. Let’s talk about why:

1. Earning so much more money

If you’re earning 30% more, have your skills increased by 30%? Or are you earning that much more simply because prices are inflated? We all know prices are being driven up due to Covid-related problems and rising interest rates. Here’s a test – are you performing more transactions to create this increase? Are you adding more value to gain that extra revenue or, is it simply a function of increased prices? If you haven’t increased the value you are delivering or you’re not selling more volume, then it’s likely not sustainable. Business conditions are less predictable than ever before and in order to remain optimistic about the future, smart organizations (and individual professionals) are investing in skill development now to be prepared for the ever-changing environment.

2. Clients are willing to pay a higher price

Are they really? At Butler Street, we live by the adage

Value = Benefits – Cost.

The only reason clients would be willing to pay more is if there is more value to be had. Sometimes, it comes down to a need versus want. For example, I’ll pay more for gasoline right now because I need to. Trust me, though, my loyalty to the gas station that’s most convenient is out the window. And, I choose to drive less.

I have a client who has a strategy of making sure their clients want to do business with them, not need to. This strategy pre-dates Covid and as a result, when the market “resets”, they are not likely to see the number of RFPs or counterdemands that many of their competitors will see.

Are you focused on your Client Experience with a true Account Management strategy? If not, those customers willing to accept a higher price today may simply be considering you a “necessary evil”. When they have choices, will you be the one they choose?

3. We are turning away business

When the supply/demand balance changes, many companies believe they no longer need a sales engine. They have all the business (and more) that they can handle. This is the kiss of death for many organizations. They stop hiring and developing salespeople. Their delivery teams are up against the competitor’s best salespeople, which in most cases is a disadvantage. They see a drop off in their web of influence with their clients. They are not staying in tune with customer needs and wants with the lack of boots on the street. Frankly, they become a transaction-focused company of order takers.

Now, more than ever is time to invest in your Sales Team.

Making sure a.) You have one and b.) They understand your client segmentation strategy, can differentiate you in the marketplace, and secure the best position for gaining business while setting delivery expectations is paramount. They build the want vs need for your services.

For an organization to survive regardless of market conditions, a problem-solving sales team with expertise in the market and strong relationships is not negotiable. It has to be in place.

You may be growing faster than ever and experiencing wonderful results in the top line, bottom line, and profits. That's fantastic and deserved. We want to see that continue.

So, my question is this: Are you willing to ride the wave back down or do the work to stay at high tide? We can help. Position your salespeople to be strategic partners and trusted advisors to their clients with skills-based training that provides the concepts, tools, and structured, repeatable process for success.


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