Through the course of my professional endeavors, I am quite privileged to meet and interact with executives from an extensive array of companies, comprising all stages and strategies of development. They are all experiencing just as broad a spectrum of success, and at every measurable or quantifiable degree. Some great, some not so great, and some not even close. Obviously, it is during the interactions with those who would like to boost that level of success from the wrong end of the charts to one worth writing home about, that I really get to exercise my craft. It is about putting that sales pedal to the metal, and it has everything to do with traction.
More often than not, I meet with a business leader who has a great product, with an amazing amount of potential. But, like bald tires on ice, he or she is trying, and failing, to get the company moving forward with few people and less-than-adequate resources. In other words, no chains, no gains. After 10 or 12 months of trying to get traction in the market, they invariably reach out for some form of help.
At this stage, they have correctly and wisely concluded that their situation has reached the proverbial tipping point, and sliding in reverse is not an option. Fortunately for them, there is a tread pattern to alter their course, switch gears, and get it done. It just involves a bit of radial thinking. And there are 15 spokes on my wheel of improvement in performance.
As you can readily imagine, it is difficult in these situations to pinpoint exactly where to start. This is because there are a startling number of avenues to navigate toward improvement, and they represent both challenges as well as opportunities.
As a result, and being quite unfamiliar with the terrain, these business leaders ask “Nancy, what can you do to help us?”
I sincerely believe the question is asked in this fashion, not because they lack knowledge of my consulting services, but rather they ask it because they lack both a starting point, and a direction.
What they are really asking is “What do you recommend we do, and in what order?” Before I can even begin to answer their question, I first pose more than a few of my own. And this is how the rubber meets the road.
Here are 15 key questions I might ask you in order to gain sufficient insight into your current situation, which will identify the prime opportunities for achieving positive traction:
By answering these questions, whether for my benefit or your own, you will quickly detect where the trouble-spots are. In my experience, the truth will often reveal you already have the information you need to know where the trouble-spots are. Ironically, you may be standing too close to the issue to be an objective observer. A good analogy is when you frantically try to find your sunglasses, only to have someone point out that they are, in fact, resting quite comfortably on your head. In terms of coming to grips with better market traction, there are only two options – get out and push, or blaze across an entirely new trail.
There are certainly additional, industry-specific questions that can provide clues to where you should focus your attention, energies, and resources. But this is a great list to get you on your way. Whether you would like our help, or whether you choose to go it alone, answering these questions will help you recognize where the main challenges lie, and which are the real obstacles on your road to success.
Author, Nancy Nardin is the foremost expert in sales productivity tools. As President of Smart Selling Tools, she consults with many of the top sales productivity software vendors as well as end-user organizations looking to select the right tools. Click to get Nancy’s What & When weekly digest with invitations to complimentary webinars and informative publications. Follow Nancy on Twitter @sellingtools or subscribe to her Tool Talk blog. Nancy can be reached at 916-596-3035. To schedule a free 30 minute consultation click here.