If you sell a building product that is regularly used in construction and business is “good enough,” you may be losing sales because your sales people have an informal agreement with their competitors. If that’s the case, then your sales people have stopped selling and started babysitting.
When Your Sales People Stop Selling
I have talked to a surprising number of building materials sales people who have stopped selling. When I identify a prospect in their territory that is not using their product, I am amazed at the reaction I receive at times.
Some reps will shrug and tell me they’re not interested. When I ask why, the answer I usually hear goes something like, “It will just upset the market. If I convert that customer, the competition will just take one of my customers. We have an unspoken understanding about who has which customers and we leave each other alone.”
I was shocked the first time I heard this. But then I started to notice it more frequently. It’s more common than one would think.
Why Do Sales People Stop Selling?
Whenever I encounter sales people who have stopped selling, I see the following:
• They are selling well-established products, such as shingles, insulation, windows or doors. (I am only using these as examples of well-established product types.)
• Management is satisfied with their current size or level of growth.
• Management doesn’t believe that the company can grow more than the market or the competition will allow.
• Management believes the only way to grow is to offer lower prices.
• People play it safe with their goals because there is a big penalty for failure in their company. Their objective is not losing, instead of winning.
• Sales people have figured out what’s the minimum effort required to satisfy their boss. They have learned which reasons will be readily accepted as to why they couldn’t make the sale or why they lost the customer. For some reason, it is never their fault. With this attitude, they never learn how to improve.
• Sales leadership is disconnected from the prospects in the rep’s territory. A sales leader should know who the top prospects are in each territory and not just be satisfied that the sales volume is on plan.
Does This Look Like Your Salesforce?
If this is your salesforce, remember how much less babysitters are paid than successful sales people.
Are you overpaying your babysitters and underpaying your sales people?