Why Focusing on Increasing Sales Doesn’t Increase Sales

It is the distress call of almost every company in the world, no matter how successful they are: We need more sales!

Given my occupation, I hear it several times a day from clients and prospects.

Usually, the idea that business owners, CEOs, sales VPs, etc. have is to focus on increasing sales. And even though this is a logical idea, it is wrong.

Focusing on Sales doesn’t increase Sales.

Now you’re sitting there thinking, “That makes no sense, Erik. Of course it will increase Sales!”

So let’s explore the idea of increasing sales.

What usually happens is that there is an immediate focus on increasing the “potential” sales, which means prospects already in the pipeline.

This is where the trouble starts.

At this point several things can start to happen.

  1. The salesperson starts trying to “move the sale forward” which is code for ‘apply more pressure’ in some way shape or form to the prospect. Since things haven’t changed on the prospect’s side, they will more often than not pop out of the pipeline rather than move forward. Bye Bye sale.
  2. The company will spend more on Sales Training to teach the salespeople how to be “better at closing.” Of course, if the prospects are tenuous to begin with, this will not be much help.
  3. Prices are cut and more bonuses are thrown in to entice the prospect to buy. But the company ends up reducing profit or, sometimes, losing money just to get the deal. You get the “win” but it is really a loss.

The real issue is that when we focus on Sales we are actually focusing on the wrong piece of the process.

Let’s compare Sales to shooting an arrow.

The Sales piece is the shaft of the arrow. It has to be made of strong wood to stand up to the pressure when the arrow impacts its target. It has to be perfectly shaped to avoid turbulence in flight. It has to be perfectly notched to sit right in the bow string.

Of course, something has to come BEFORE the shaft: The arrowhead

Like the shaft, the arrowhead has to be strong, well formed and, most importantly, SHARP.

In our world, the arrow head is Lead Generation.

It is what delivers the shaft to the target.

Sadly, most companies don’t consider Lead Generation as worthy of attention or “sharpening” as Sales.

  • They hire content creators to crank out endless amounts of C-rate “content” because they believe they need to keep “putting things out there.”
  • They throw up online ads that basically say “look at me, I’m here, I’m different” as if the audience cared or even noticed them.
  • They happily swallow the 7-touches of marketing BS (plus 5 or 6 more in case the first 7 didn’t work).

They throw out Lead Generation like they would throw chum in the water to bait fish.

This equates Lead Generation to a stinky, messy pulp of fish guts that is a necessary evil to get to the good stuff.

That is idiotic!

The job of Lead Generation is to set up the sale for an easy conclusion.  It ain’t chum!

Now you’re probably getting excited about Lead Generation. And you should. But hold your horses, because there is one more step.

You have your shaft: Sales

You have your arrowhead: Lead Generation

Now you need to aim the arrow.

Aim where everybody else does and your arrow will be stuck in the middle of thousands of others.

Just another “me too.”

Aim too far away and your arrow will miss completely.

You need to aim at the sweet spot.

To find the right “sweet spot” for Lead Generation you first need Positioning.

Now before you say it, let me clarify something.

Positioning is NOT branding!

“Branding” is a brain-fart that has become a catch-all phrase to make marketing activities sound more cool.

“Make sure the blog promotes our brand.”

“We need to build brand-awareness with this ad.”

“Is that email branded?”

Branding refers to putting your mark on something so people know it belongs to you, like branding a cow (Nice comparison, huh?).

Obviously, since you’re trying to sell stuff, you’d have to be a moron NOT to put your “brand” on your marketing materials.

So if Positioning is not branding, what is it?

Positioning is finding (or creating) an opening in the mind of a prospect, that is currently empty, where your company (or offering) can place itself in such a way as to be incomparable to other companies (i.e. the only choice).

Positioning is Aiming.

So the process for more sales is not: Focus on sales.

It is: Focus on Positioning, so that your Lead Generation is more effective, so that your sales are easier.

So if you want to increase sales look at what comes BEFORE sales.

Spend some time improving your Lead Generation and/or your Positioning and you will find that sales flow faster and easier.

If you don’t, then you will always get the shaft (pun intended!)

Enjoy!

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