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Ah, Grasshopper, Do Not Overlook the Sales “Fu”!

As I work with salespeople I notice that there are three related aspects to sales performance that are worth considering for those looking to improve sales performance. That’s because the salesperson that can mix these elements (much like a medieval alchemist) can create real magic and results.

The first element is what I call, “We exist!” In other words, we are a company actively in business providing the service that your prospect needs sometimes. Like the blind pig that finds a truffle once in a while, salespeople representing these companies can find business in much the same way—by luck. Usually, the prospect’s current vendor has dropped the ball and since the salesperson happens to be in the right place at the right time they get an opportunity.

Salespeople that go into the market with the “We exist!” strategy have a tough row to hoe and not much sales “game”. This is the domain of the “show up and throw up” “me monsters” that simply hit the market attempting to trade donuts for dollars. This is by far the weakest sales position.

The next aspect is the value proposition. Simply put, having a valid and relevant value proposition puts your company in a class many steps above the “We existers”. It gives the salesperson a reason for the prospect to listen further and explains why the company is different and better than the competition and provides reasons for the prospect to switch!

Simply put, modern sales organizations must have a powerful and well-thought out value proposition and train their salespeople how to effectively communicate it.

The third aspect of sales performance is the salesperson’s “fu”, as in Kung-fu. Kung-fu usually translates as skill developed over time with hard work. Another way to think about this (depending on your generation) is mojo, moxie, chutzpah or the unique personality, persuasiveness and communication skills that the salesperson uses to “own” the value proposition. It is style but style with commitment and intelligence.

What’s great about “fu” is that each salesperson’s fu (if they have it!) is unique to them. It reflects their personality, their style, their life experiences, their approach to life and work and really, their essence.

When the “fu” is strong, salespeople can make the “We exist!” strategy work because they themselves and their “fu” is what differentiates the company. Unfortunately, if they leave, so do their customers. And, “We exist!” organizations often have an over-inflated idea of their own value in the market and fail to appreciate the power of strong sales “fu” to support their weak value proposition. These companies often mistreat their salespeople who move on to greener pastures.

Where “fu” really makes an impact is in combination with a powerful value proposition. Now you have compelling reasons for the prospect to do business with you and a great salesperson to communicate the value proposition, develop the on-going relationships and drive the sales program forward.

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