Everywhere, we see insights and advice. Some well intended and sometimes effective, some pure wastes of time. The advice usually starts out with the following:
- “If you just to this thing…..”
- “I made millions doing this one thing, you can too…….”
- “Top performers do this better than everyone else….”
- “Our process is this…….. Just execute it……”
- “The script for this offering is this, it will make you successful….”
- “Here’s the playbook for success…..”
- “People using this tool achieve far superior results….”
- …… and more….
This advice comes from all sorts of sources. It may be something you’ve learned in your company’s sales training/enablement programs. It may be something you see the top performer in your company doing. Or your manager may be telling you what to do. And your LinkedIn and other feeds are filled with all sorts of tricks and techniques, that if you “do it this way,” perhaps paying a fee to see what it is, you will be successful.
And we do these things. We may go out executing what we have been trained to do, or what our playbooks tell us to do. We follow the insights of the “guru’s” because it worked for them, and they say it should always work.
Sometimes these things work–kinda, but not completely. Sometimes we get our teeth kicked in. When we report back, we are told how to correct our efforts and go back doing “the one thing.” And most of the time, regardless how hard we try, it just doesn’t work.
It’s easy to understand how this problem arises. Every situation, every customer, every company is different. And things change constantly, over time. So while certain approaches and techniques may have been very powerful in the past or in certain situations, they may not be effective for what you are doing.
Does this mean we should abandon them? That we should develop totally unique approaches to every single situation? That we should ignore our past experience?
Absolutely not. While each situation and customer is different, while each company strategy is different, there are a lot of commonalities. For example, a buyer aligned selling process is critical to our ability to engage and move a customer through their buying process. But since each customer and situation is different, we can only expect the standard process to get us 70-80% of the way there. We have to be able to adapt and change to address the gaps that are unique to the situation.
And it’s this ability to adapt to the context, situation, or individuals involved that too many sellers struggle with. They are used to being scripted in everything they do. They may not have the critical thinking/problem solving skills to bridge the unique issues they face in a certain situation.
Within our organizations, we should be identifying the methods, processes, tools, that drive the best performance. At the same time, we need to train and coach people on how to tweak and adapt these to fit the specific situation they face.
One size never fit’s all, but it can be a good starting point.