>The one thing a sales coach cannot do for you, no matter how good they are, is actually make your sales calls for you. Sure they can go with you if you like, support you on the call, but the actual growth of your sales portfolio is up to you and you alone. The most important part of sales, the “actual doing it” part, is something you need to execute.
While it is important to go through all the other steps, all the other rules, none of those matter if you never walk out the door and actually make the call. Making the call is important because you begin to build a relationship with your client, you learn how to sell from actually doing it, and oh yes making calls builds the bottom line and produces revenue.
So why do so many people fail to execute? I will have to admit this question frustrates me. Why do people put so much time, effort and money into learning how to sell and then not do it? What is going on here? I recently ended a contract with a client in the field of medical sales. He hired me because in the last two years his business has slowed down considerably. He had physicians retiring, new competitors joining the market, and his company had changed his territory. His challenge was moving from a strict referral based business, to actually needing to hit the streets and develop new relationships, expand existing relationships and establish new referral sources.
We worked to develop a solid plan, and spent a lot of time working on his fears. (Which, I love to help people with, as I remember being very afraid to go and sell. I am always happy to share my story and my steps for turning my fear into positive passion) It had been years, since he had to go and make real sales calls. I was empathetic to that, and we built a lot of support into his coaching program. We also worked on skill to boost his confidence. We developed his prospect list, developed strategies so all of his calls were warm vs. cold, developed his conversations, his follow-up plans and pretty much covered all the basis. He was ready to go! Unfortunately, he just never did. Each time we met, each time we got together to discuss his progress, there was always some excuse as to why he couldn’t get out there and actually make the call. Things like – He had to train a new employee, then he got buried in community activities, his wife had surgery, his boss needed information and reports for a critical meeting. Always some reason he could not get out the door and actually sell.
After the first month, I asked him if he wanted to sell, if growing and developing his sales base was something he truly wanted to do?He assured me it was, but his words never matched his actions. desire. He failed to execute, and as a coach you learn early on that desire is a personal choice, and while you can provide environments that are inspiring, supportive, safe and motivating, you cannot make anyone do anything – that is up to the individual.
So why do we fail to execute? I think part of it is what I like to call the “Gym membership concept” Thinking that if you pay enough money for something it will, just by osmosis, produce the desired result. Simply by cutting the check or swiping the credit card, with no real effort on our part, we will reap the benefits of what we paid for. Well, unfortunately, there is no free lunch. If you want to gain the rewards of selling (or going to the gym) , then you have to execute.
Failing to execute usually falls into one of the following categories:
Fear – you are simply just scared to execute. This one, when you break it down actually makes a lot of sense. Most of us are afraid to do something we have never done before and are not quite sure how to do. So, first accept your fear and understand it is normal. However, the only way to get past fear is to do the task, gain experience and get comfortable with the process. Also, stop thinking and start doing. That is why children jump in with such enthusiasm. They waste no time convincing themselves they can’t or thinking about what might happen, they just do it!
Data Distraction – you research, gather information and study to the point of exhaustion. Selling does not have to be perfect it just needs to get done. Don’t get lost in over studying or over planning. Sure you need to be prepared before you go on calls, but you do not need to be able to pass the an exam. Gather your information and go make the call!
Inept Accountability – if no one – including yourself – is holding you accountable then there is a good chance you are not going to execute. Studies show that people with coaches are eighty percent more likely to produce results than those without. While your boss or your coach is a great person to hold you accountable, if you truly want to be effective, if you truly want to develop your confidence then personal accountability needs to be at the top of your list.
Personal Investment – execution both produces and is the result of confidence. You need to learn your skill, invest in your education and continue to learn from your results. Increase your investment in yourself and you will increase your ability to execute.
The need to execute, actually go on the sales call, is not going to go away no matter how much you avoid it or how many excuses you come up with. At the end of the day, if you want to turn your prospects into customers you have to Just Do It!