Improving Sales Effectiveness – The Question is Why?

Posted May 24th, 2007

Achieving sales success is crucial to every business, after all sales is the only revenue generating function within a company, everything else costs money. So what do we do to ensure that our key players in the sales arena are doing all they can to develop this most important of areas?

Much is said about the process and techniques of sales and there are many books and courses written on the topic of sales strategy. However, I believe the key to improving sales is not what we tell our sales people to do or even how they should do it (although I agree they cannot be overlooked). No, for me the answer is not aligned to things you can teach or processes you can explain. I believe the answer is much simpler and at the same time much harder. The simple fact is that most businesses do not achieve the sales they expect through their people because they never answer the why, or to put it in clear terms ‘Why should I sell this product if I am not motivated to do so by my leaders?’

I have seen many a sales meeting where the sales manager carefully explains what the product does and how it works without once explaining why it is important that the team sell the product at all. What’s in it for them? What’s in it for the business? Why should I sell this product!?

We’ve all heard of features, advantages, benefits and you can be sure that the customer is only interested in the benefit to them of buying a product, so why should this be any different for a salesperson selling a product? They need to know the benefit to them of selling the product, otherwise why should they?

Now I know there are some cynics reading this who will answer the question, ‘Why should I sell this product?’ with the much fancied response of ‘…because you are a salesperson and that’s your job.’ To that I say ‘great’, if you are getting results in this way then carry on doing things just the way you are, but if you’re not getting results using this method I have another response…

…If you always do what you always did, you’ll always get what you always got.

Now I mentioned earlier that what a product does and how a product should be sold should not be overlooked and I think that is very true, but when you only focus on these you will be left scratching your head as to why your sales team aren’t getting the results. So, a simple way to deal with the issue is to use the following formula…

What + How + Why = Sales

In this formula, ‘What’ is the clarity around the product or service, i.e. do they know the features and benefits of the product? ‘How’ is the capability to sell the product, i.e. do they have the correct skills and techniques? ‘Why’ we can call motivation, i.e. do they understand the benefits to them and the business of selling the product?

You may find that results still come in with one of these elements missing. However, when you combine the elements you will be truly blown away by what you can achieve.

So next time you hold that sales meeting, remember the reasons why.


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