The Road Less Traveled: One Way to Think About Sales
In our sales approach we must think as leaders. Why should one take the road less traveled in sales? First, there is less competition on this road. Yes, the road could have some unexpected bumps along the way. The road could even lead to a dead end. But, the payoff for your perseverance and creativity can be quite high. Why? Many salespeople prefer to play it safe and stay on a road that is worn and well-traveled. In our terms, this might be known as calling on the same people that everyone else calls on. This leads to selling on price.
You cannot take just any road; but instead one that you have strategically chosen that fits both your own interest areas, as well as the services your organization excels in providing. You will find that many such buyers/companies you encounter along this road do not get contacted as often as others. Why? Drum roll ... it is a road less traveled. They are a little more off the beaten path and this type of sales is scary to some who prefer clients that everyone calls on. Hence, we stay off this road and overlook good prospective buyers in many cases.
Does this mean your road less traveled should be a shortcut? No. Does this mean your road will make you successful overnight? No. There is no shortcut to sales. Sorry. However, creativity, leadership, passion, authenticity and determination will help you prevail. Sales and marketing are two different things, yet they intersect in today's business environment. I challenge all salespeople to approach their sales activities like a strong marketer when choosing their "road."
Here are some questions you need to ask yourself:
- Do the customers I want to reach live on this road?
- Does my road have companies that need the products and services my organization does best?
- Does my road get overlooked by the competition?
- Does my road give me a chance to build solid relationships and meet others along the same road?
- Does my road allow me to be an expert problem solver who provides a "shot" of headache relief?
- Does my road allow me to more readily find buyers I like to work with?
- Does my road allow me to consult with a buyer to find a way to make their life easier?
The whole idea of such a road is to be quite specific. This is referred to as the "target market," "niche market" or "vertical market" of your sales efforts. So, now I am calling it the road less traveled. Many of us enjoy spending time at the beach or in the mountains. It is quiet, relaxing and peaceful, right? This should be the objective in your sales approach as well. Why not find a place less crowded where you can add more value with less competition? This is what good leadership is all about. And it works.
Ryan T. Sauers has spent 25 years leading and/or consulting with printing, graphics, promotional and visual communications related organizations. Ryan is President of the independent consulting firm, Sauers Consulting Strategies, founded in 2010.
Key areas of focus of the firm include: sales training, marketing strategy, personal branding, leadership development and organizational change.
Sauers is a frequent national speaker and columnist. He has been recognized as one of the top 80 CMOs in the world and achieved the top designation of Certified Marketing Executive through Sales and Marketing Executives International.
Sauers is an adjunct university professor teaching leadership and communication courses to current and aspiring leaders. He is a Certified Myers Briggs, DiSC and Emotional Intelligence Practitioner (one of few in US to achieve all 3 rigorous certifications related to human communications, personality & behavior).
Sauers is working on his Doctoral degree in Organizational Leadership and hosts a radio show in Atlanta (Marketing Matters). He is author of the best-selling books Everyone is in Sales and Would You Buy from You? More info at: RyanSauers.com