4 Ways To Fall Short Of Sales Potential in 2020

Some salespeople have a mental disorder called BSNT or Bright Shiny New Thing Syndrome. Over and over again, the lure of something “new” that will bring sales riches is tried until it disappoints and is replaced by another new thing.

You can lurch from one “things are different today” revelation to another, discover yet another new “ism” of selling and embrace the latest “next new thing.”

But you know what, if that is your pattern, and in the past 3 months, 6 months, one year, two years, if you are still relatively in the same place in terms of sales volume and income, you have to do the hardest thing in the world for a salesperson to do.

What’s that?

Face reality.

Your plan, your beliefs, your way of doing things is not moving you forward.

For some failure means disaster. But for those with the ability to achieve more, with the potential to do much better, failure is standing still.

1. Embracing the next new thing based upon the “new rules” of selling.

Remember that infomercial that said it wasn’t your fault if you ate ten bags of potato chips a day. “They” were making you do it, and it isn’t your fault.

We are bombarded with the same thing in sales. The economy has changed, people are so busy today, there are new rules, the game has changed. It’s not your fault.

What crap.

Quantum leaps in sales productivity happen frequently. And sometimes those turnarounds happen in part due to some new revelatory strategy. But almost always, even the advanced stuff, the “new” stuff that works, is based or built upon the fundamentals of selling. I see far more quantum leaps in sales team productivity by getting basics right than with the use of some new technology or strategy.

Without a firm grasp of selling basics and without a solid, consistently executed sales process, you got nothing.

You can’t build a castle on garbage.

Take a step back and work on your fundamentals. Don’t assume you are “OK.”

Over and over, I see hard-working salespeople with no process (they think they have a process, they don’t) lurching from hour to hour. Ask them how they handle a sales situation they see over and over again, and you hear, “Um, ah, it depends. Every situation is different.” Top producers don’t respond that way. The mediocre respond that way. The wanna be’s that never will be, respond that way.

Reality is most of the time you are not selling to your full potential because you don’t have a firm grasp on the basics. You are not prepared. You are not consistent. You are not learning and improving with every interaction.

Take a step back and retool your fundamentals.

2. Stop using “no time” as an excuse.

Time and again, I see sales teams and individual salespeople engineering quantum leaps in their sales productivity with about six weeks of effort.

Yet many hard-working salespeople, working very hard and investing tons of time in activities getting them nowhere, profess they have “no time” for anything that might take six weeks, maybe longer.

Plenty of time to do things over and over that get them nowhere, plenty of time to try yet again another new overnight miracle cure, plenty of time to spend with low probability accounts they should have dumped long ago. Yet “no time” to do it right.

Stop being the hamster in a wheel in 2020. Bite the bullet and do the right things just once, and you will build upon that solid foundation and reap the benefits over and over again. Continue to take shortcuts due to lack of time, and this time next year, you will be in the same place.

3. Stop spreading yourself too thin.


When the sales environment gets tough, the winners and top producers tighten things up. 

They tighten up their target profile to spend less time with non-buyers.

They tighten up their sales process.

They punch up their value communication.

They measure just a few key things.
They execute, execute, execute.

This is where quantum leaps happen.

Doing the basic stuff well.

4. The answer is never one thing

It will never be “one” thing that vaults the productivity and results of you or your sales team. Never. It is always multiple things that need to be improved or tweaked up.

An example. Ninety percent of those that approach me for B2B appointment setting help think of just improving scripts. Contrary to the beliefs of the great unwashed, what is the least likely thing to improve b2b appointment setting results? Better scripts.

Why? Because better scripts don’t help you if you are talking to the wrong people and working very inefficiently. Be dead on with your targeting, be set up to work efficiently, and consistently execute a decent call or outreach process, and even with an average script, you will be grabbing your competitors’ lunch money.

What should you be doing in 2020?

– Communicating only with high-probability targets. Forget the rest. Most think, “we know who to target.” Reality? Most are wasting far too much time on low or no-return targets.

– Work a coordinated campaign and process to get in the door.

– When you show up for that meeting, have a well thought out plan to move them forward. Choreograph those meetings like a ballet.

– Identify and follow-up with the higher value prospects that you can’t reach now or don’t agree to a meeting now. That is where you will make most of your money. Don’t limit thinking to the short term.

– Recognize you are already investing time. Use that time more wisely.

– Try to avoid Bright Shiny New Objects and the “one” thing that will make all the difference.

Best wishes for great selling in 2020,

Scott Channell