Just A Little Patience
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The sales professionals at Assurance generally have a short attention span. I’m not sure if the group as a whole has adult onset ADD, but they definitely have a hard time remaining focused on anything new for a particularly long period of time. For many of them, the need to try something different is often their Achilles heel. In sales, and in business for that matter, it pays to have some patience. There’s no arena where this is as relevant as when entering your products or services into a new industry.
I’ve worked with many sales professionals on trying to enter a new industry. Time is spent up front by our sales and marketing people examining the industry, understanding its needs, finding the right services to offer, as well as the important trade associations and industry groups to be involved with. Right from the beginning, there’s good, sound rationale as to whether we should move forward . After this point, comes the very long road of creating our industry connections, becoming intimately knowledgeable about the industry and developing prospects to eventually present proposals. Unfortunately, many salespeople don’t naturally have the patience or fortitude to do this over an extended period of time as it can take a few years to develop a foothold in a new industry. Too often, salespeople quit and move on to something else after only a few months.
This behavior isn’t for a lack of effort or good intentions. It’s simply that early results are too small to be intriguing. For many, I try to use the analogy of losing weight the correct way. If you need to lose weight and want to do it the right way, you change habits. This is a longer process. However, history has shown that if the person can stick with it and be comfortable with small monthly gains, they’ll get a larger return in the end and create new healthy habits that are easier to maintain. The development of a new industry is just like this. It takes time, and although the gains can be small and incremental, it’s often worth it.
As a business or sales leader, we all need to coach our employees through the initial startup time of entering a new industry. I encourage you to address the concept of small gains, as well as create and expect reasonable yearly goals – not simply quarter to quarter goals. If you and your salesforce can have patience and stick with it, the gains will be big in the long-run, and you’ll have a new industry to serve. Happy selling!
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