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The Trouble With Sales

We at Tinderbox interface with many businesses and many owner managers in the line of our work. No situation is exactly the same but occasionally there is a 'common thread' to the feedback we get which illustrates a broad based problem.

No, we are not talking about the recession here. Enough has been said about that particular issue in many different ways and from many different sources. What we are picking up though is immense frustration from business managers with their sales performance. What's happened here? Has there been a mass change of sales personnel on the front line? Have sales strategies changed dramatically? Has there been an influx of lost of new competitors? The answer is 'none of these' in most instances.

We believe the answer lies in the fact that the market for securing orders in most business sectors has become much, much tougher. Buyers are having to be careful what they order and from whom they order which makes the climate for sales personnel a very different one from that experienced over the last few years and probably tougher than most have ever experienced.

Sales people can 'sell themselves' and sell the reasons for lack of orders quite effectively 'there just isn't the business out there' 'we're too expensive' 'no budgets available' etc. etc. It becomes very easy for the business manager/ owner to accept this as the state of play and also accept the fact that there is 'nothing I can do' – but there is….

From our experience, in tough or easy markets many of the failures to get orders comes down to the fact that you are being outsold – by that we don't mean on price or quality but rather that there is someone out there, in a competitive situation, who is selling their product or offer more effectively than you are. In good times you may not notice this as orders are sufficient to keep you happy although a pertinent question could be – 'how much more could we have sold'. But when times are tough and orders are needed these sales failings become very transparent.

We at Tinderbox define that there are '4 Generations' of salespeople:-

    1st Generation: Commercial Traveller

    2nd Generation: Sales Representative

    3rd Generation: Sales Consultant

    4th Generation: Key Resource

There is no doubt that in good times levels 1 & 2 will 'get by'. They will secure a level of business that keeps things moving and owner managers generally happy but will not be building anything substantial. However in tough times these two generations will simply not achieve as they do not possess the necessary skills and competencies from a sales/ account management perspective to rise above their competition and win business against the odds. If any of your competitors are selling from levels 3 and 4 you will be losing orders and market share. 

What owners/ managers can do is take a long look at sales strategy, sales techniques, sales tools and, yes, sales personnel to ensure that all areas are 'up to scratch' and delivering at the optimum level – if they are not some action needs to be taken to correct matters as carrying on with what you are doing and the way you are doing it will generate exactly the same results. This simply may not be enough to get the business through and out of any difficulties particularly if your competition possesses the right 'generation' of sales people or have taken action and upped their sales performance.

We at Tinderbox offer a number of sales interventions to help our clients improve their sales performance these range from advice on strategy, developing effective sales tools, sales training on effective account management and selling and sales personnel reviews/ reports. When necessary we can also provide Interim Sales Managers to deliver short to medium term sales improvements.

Don't accept the status quo and the excuses………….

To arrange for a no obligation discussion with one of our expert team please contact us.

David Turner

Managing Directorer

© Tinderbox Limited 2011

Sales Management

Business Development

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Who we have worked with

Who we have worked with: Hallmark Cards, Coca-Cola, Hasbro, Rolls Royce, Sunseeker, Mattel, MicroSoft, Argos, Auto Glym, P&G, Ferranti, FloGas, Lloyds TSB

Tinderbox Limited Registered office: Ventura House, Ventura Park Rd, Tamworth, B78 3HL, Registered in England
Company registration number 7663634

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