Dismantling The Sales Machine

Posted on October 24, 2013 ยท Posted in Promotional Strategies

Brent Adamson, Matthew Dixon and Nicholas Toman present a challenging article on sales management in the November 2013 Harvard Business Review.

Although written for business to business, it provides challenging comments to the home building industry as well.

Today customers are better informed than ever before. They have spent hours on the web and visited numbers of communities before visiting your community. By the time they approach you they have a clear idea of what they want, the solutions that are available, and the price they are willing to pay.

In this world, process-driven sales machine approaches often fall short, because they give sales reps very little room to exercise judgement and creativity in dealing with highly knowledgeable customers. Ultimately they leave reps with little to do but compete on price.

Although processes may be the best road to production for the average, today’s finest reps are more likely to succeed when they feel supported rather than directed.

More flexibility, judgement and focus on results causes the exceptional rep to hypothesize about new ways to engage the customer, make informed assumptions about the customer’s needs, adapt the approach in order to guarantee buy-in and most importantly identify negotiation points beyond terms and conditions.

Builders that continue to overly embrace the sales machine model are watching margins fall as their solutions are commoditized and their best sales professionals seek different environments.