The Sales Highway to Greener Business Pastures

By Chuck Sink | November 12, 2020

Can one phone call equal a marketing campaign?

There are two ways to obtain new business. It finds you (branding, marketing, reputation & referrals) or you find it (your salesforce). When both ways work in tandem, new business fires on all cylinders but sometimes the outside selling effort needs more throttle.

Maintaining a stellar reputation through hard work and strategic marketing is a universal business ideal. Sometimes, however, it takes more than strong brand awareness to grow. It takes active messengers in the field striking up meaningful conversations outside of normal business discourse.

Why, in so many companies, is the CEO the highest sales producer even when they have a professional sales team? I believe there are 3 reasons:

  • CEOs make authoritative decisions on the spot and make things happen faster.
  • Buyers perceive the CEO to have the highest stakes and will have a customer advocate at the very top.
  • The CEO is CEO for a reason. He or She knows what it takes to grow a business! CEOs see things from a high level and can often spot opportunities where most salespeople wouldn’t bother looking.

An Empowered Salesperson Shares Authority and Vision

When I was a salesperson, in a few firms I was blessed to have enough authority to engage company resources and had a little bit of creative vision. In hindsight, I was terrible at conventional sales practices and had little discipline in performing them. Despite that problem, I thought outside the box enough to find and score big clients like Keurig Green Mountain, Bigelow Tea, Nuance Dragon and Ansys Fluent back in my sales days working for “the man.” In each case I either made a random phone call from a hunch or pulled up to the front entrance of a shiny building and walked in inquiring.

By contrast, the last firm I worked for kept me in a tight box chained to a CRM, not to help me sell but to grow their database. I could offer the client no added value. Meanwhile, I was headed straight for the poor house and as a result, was driven to part company and start my own business even though broke at the time.

Cleared for Takeoff

When I became a CEO, developing new business became as natural as getting dressed and my sales once again skyrocketed. Now I know why. Not only do I make the decisions but I engage clients in a way that brings them real value rather than just facilitating transactions that other people must implement. Therein lies the key to leveling up your sales team’s success.

Today’s salesperson needs to be integral to the delivery of product solutions and customer service. Clients want someone who can do something for them, not simply echo their questions or concerns to a VP or manager. They want more than an advocate. They want a working associate, a partner. You want that too which proves the point.

How to Next Level Your Sales

Be sure to support your salespeople by maintaining company awareness and lead generation marketing. Now, figure out a way for your salespeople to create and bring real value to their customers – your customers. Enable them to go farther and wider for the customer than convention would suggest. Finally, get creative and get your salespeople to engage with value, instead of “good synergy” messages. Just a few of many examples:

  • Make direct calls to CEOs instead of end users and their managers. Ask intelligent, open-ended questions and listen like your life and their life depends on it.
  • Look around the office, shop or home for brands your company could supply and call those companies.
  • Join a trade association or regional economic development organization and leverage your new member honeymoon status on the executive committees.
  • Write authoritative business and industry articles and get them published. Leverage them as third party-validated collateral.
  • If you’re a salesperson, publish your own business newsletter, blog or vlog independent of your company’s marketing support (or lack of it).
  • Set up a weekly Zoom networking or mastermind group with an offline follow up component. Build meaningful relationships.
  • Go door-to-door canvassing in a hazmat suit.
  • Your idea here…

These are just a few ideas, most of which I’ve implemented with ongoing success. Now please trust me on this. If I can do it, anyone can!

4 thoughts on “The Sales Highway to Greener Business Pastures

  1. Jim

    Another very insightful post with great advice. Enjoyed hearing about Chuck’s earlier sales experience, too.

  2. JT

    I didn’t know similar our sales approach was until I read your Nov.12 piece. I have been in sales, in one form or another, for 22 years after 19 years in production management. I do not always start my “hunt” with the CEO but I for sure keep him in my sights once I identify a problem/issue I can “fix”. The key person for me is a mid-level engineer or manager who you can get close to early in the relationship and who has the respect of upper management. Find the issue that is most “painful” for this guy, propose a solution (i.e. product), offer a attractive trial proposal and let him sell it to upper management.

    1. Chuck Sink Post author

      Good stuff, JT! Relationships at every level can help such as inside advocates as you point out.


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