A few years ago I was an independent rep for a company that had a thriving sales prevention department. No, it wasn't the legal team. It was actually the core leadership. At that time, marketing generally was going through a tipping point from offline sales to online sales. I could see it as clear as the sun in the sky, but they couldn't. All of my online marketing efforts were thwarted by their very active, very talented sales prevention department.
The end of the story wasn't good for them. I left, as did many others who had vision. We went to places where we were welcomed, and to companies that had vision.
So while the sales prevention department is a purely fictional thing, I believe every company, and every individual marketer has one to some extent. It's easy to identify companies that have one, in which case the solution is simple: find another company!
But what if you have your very own sales prevention department? That's a tougher nut to crack. Here are some potential areas that trip up entrepreneurs and help prevent sales:
-Time management. Specifically, the lack thereof. It's easy to spend time doing everything except money making activities. You have to identify your "big rocks" and get them done first. Cleaning your desk and organizing the pencil drawer have to wait until later!
-Lack of focus. You can only focus on a handful of things at a time. Good marketers focus on those that deliver the best ROI (return on investment.) As Steven Covey says, the enemy of the best if often the good.
-Weak sales funnel. In my consulting work I am often amazed at what lousy sales funnels my clients have. Somewhere in their funnel there is some sort of massive black hole that they know they should fill, but for whatever reason they don't. For example, they may be great at generating leads, but lousy at presenting their offer. Or they have no database management tool at all. Or their follow up is terrible, where they could easily increase sales just by keeping in touch with past customers. It's well worth it to identify your sales funnel all the way from lead generation to fulfillment and follow up, and invest in each area until the whole process is solid.
-Lack of knowledge. There are so many ways of generating new customers it's crazy. Yet many entrepreneurs are still using the same old tired methods they have always used, and it's hurting them badly. In this day and age, ongoing marketing training is a must.
There are many more, these are just a few examples. The idea is to realize that while sales prevention departments are easy to spot in other people's companies, it's harder, and more painful to look in the mirror and identify your own. But it's time well spent. Every one of us can increase our sales, even in a bad economy, with increased skills and discipline.
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