Despite the rampantly growing challenges that face you and your sales team, 2020 can be your best year yet. In that spirit, I would like to share quick summaries of my three favorite articles from the past year. Links to the entire articles are included if you want to read the whole thing:
1. How to Move Your Competitors Out of the Way
In many cases, your new clients come at someone else’s expense. In other words, when you win a new client, your competitors lose. And often, your new client means a competitor loses one of their existing clients.
It’s called “competitive displacement,” and it’s a necessary part of a successful sales career.
Long-standing relationships are difficult to break. It’s hard to crack the bond your competitors have with their existing clients no matter how awesome your company is, how desirable your product is and how talented you are as a professional.
But it’s not impossible. You can find a wealth of opportunity by mining your competitors’ clients. Why? It’s not uncommon that prospects are unhappy with their current provider. If you can show your competitor’s client a better and simpler future, with less chaos and drama, you’ll be able to pick up new opportunities.
2. Experience Versus Expertise
Do you ever listen to those financial planning talk shows on the radio?
Here’s a confession…I do.
Yeah, I know those shows are glorified commercials for the financial planner who purchased the air time. I know the purpose of the show is to get listeners to invest their money.
Nevertheless, I like listening to them. The subject matter is interesting, and I learn something new. I also enjoy some of the investing stories, both positive and negative, that the hosts tell about their clients.
As I listened to an investment show recently, the host was talking about people who handle their own investments instead of using professional advisors. Of course, the host contended that people should not do the investing themselves, because in the long run, their lack of knowledge ends up costing them money.
“I have clients with 40 years’ experience investing but no expertise,” the host said.
That comment stopped me in my tracks. What a profound thing to say! What a great argument for choosing a competent professional to work for you instead of winging it yourself.
3. Top Producers Live Out a French Idiom in Their Daily Sales Lives
Avoir le couteau entre les dents.
I don’t speak French, but I love this phrase.
It’s an idiom that translated to English means: “To have the knife between your teeth.”
The origin of this French-Canadian saying is not quite known, but it may trace its roots back to pirates, who would hold their knives in their mouths while using both hands to climb aboard a ship they were attacking. Nowadays, the phrase is used to describe someone who is bold, aggressive or intimidating. Another use is to describe a skilled/talented person who possesses dogged determination.
I first heard this saying earlier this year in a sales context as it was uttered by my friend, Paul-Eric Poitras, who owns a commercial real estate company in Montreal, Quebec. Poitras was talking about a top-producing sales agent and said, “He has the knife between his teeth.”
I’ve been fascinated with the phrase ever since.