May 07, 2009

Be a business development stone cutter

I have been looking for an analogy for ages that would help our clients who have committed to increasing sales activity levels, but are struggling to keep the momentum going. In particular, to provide a little encouragement on those days when there are lots of calls and call-backs made, but there are few results to be seen.

In the mind game that is selling, managing our expectations and staying the course can be a challenge, particularly on those frustrating days when nobody seems to be available, or even interested.

We are continually saying that activity gets results and that everything counts - every email, every telephone call, every conversation, etc. The objective is to make the calls, to send the emails and to dial the number. In most cases selling is inevitable, if these other things are happening. But that does not seem to be enough to get the message across.

Then it struck me that the perfect analogy is that of a business development stone cutter – you have to keep chipping away if you are going to crack a market, or an account. But it is difficult to persist, because maybe the next blow will do it, or perhaps another 20, or 30 are required. One thing for sure, it will require more perspiration than inspiration. In fact, no matter what finesse you bring to it, a while lot of effort will be required.

Each time you diall a number, talk to a prospect, send an email, or have a sales meeting is the equivalent of a hammer blow bring you one step closer to carving out the opportunity you want.

However, if you stop chiseling away the stone will never crack. If you stop now all you have done is made the job a little easier for the next salesperson that comes along. Maybe you need to replace, or improve your tools, but you absolutely need to keep hammering. If you do the result will inevitable come.

When you have cracked that account, or that opportunity, it may appear to the outside world to have been easy, but only you will know how much effort it took. Only you will have the satisfaction of knowing that, in spite of temptation, you did not give up.

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