A few years ago I needed something from my parent’s house, and my Dad told me I could find it in the attic. But as I entered the dusty attic, there were piles of boxes and all sorts of little goodies I hadn’t seen since I was a child plus new stuff like old, dried paint cans and dead wasps that must have died there ten years ago. But the live camel crickets really got to me.
The attic had turned into more of a forgotten collection of “stuff” than anything else.
It struck me as funny that the stuff you throw in your attic is how most businesses accumulate bad habits in their sales cultures. One day you look around and wonder “How did all this stuff get here?” And, more importantly, “Is anything in here worth keeping?“
What is a Sales Attic?
Your sales attic is filled with processes and practices your sales team uses today. It’s the net result of years of experience, lessons learned, and the quirky or unique things your team has learned to do over the years on their own (which each salesperson probably does a bit differently). Right or wrong, those quirky practices can result in lost opportunities especially when your sales attic becomes stuffed with bad practices.
What’s actually in your attic are the things you did to prospects who ultimately didn’t buy from you and with whom you never followed up to find out why. Climbing through your sales attic means an exercise in uncovering what actually happened to all those deals.
Top 7 Reasons to Get Dirty
When is the last time you visited your dusty sales attic? Take a look at the top 7 reasons why a visit to your sales attic is a really good idea:
- You get to talk to your prospect community! Climbing through the attic means you get to talk to prospects. Just be sure to put your marketing hat on and ask questions. Resist the urge to go into sell mode or you’ll make prospects feel uncomfortable.
- It increases revenue. Although the purpose of the call is not to sell, talking to prospects who were in your sales process and left means you may get to rekindle some deals that were lost. Miscommunications happen and misunderstandings occur. Sometimes a prospect will give you strong signals that they would still like to do business with you.
- It increases your closing rates. Prospects are great market intelligence. By talking with them, you’ll get some key insights into how your competitors won business from you. Or you may find out that your biggest competitor is “do nothing” where the prospect didn’t buy somewhere else, he or she just didn’t buy anything at all.
- It gives you clarity on why you lose. Sure your thought you lost because of price. But maybe after that call you’ll find out the prospect was frustrated because the salesperson never asked them their budget and ultimately gave them a solution they couldn’t afford. Understanding why you lose (and where in the process prospects exited) is crucial to tightening up your selling process.
- It’s rewarding and fun. Learning is fun, especially when you learn things about your company, your products and services and your team. Customers put you in a very small box and it’s sometimes surprising how prospects see your company and what you can (or can not) do for them. When you uncover findings like these, it’s exciting because you can take what you learn and apply it to the rest of your customers and prospects. These findings directly affect your business, it’s growth and its overall health.
- It’s detoxifying. It’s ridiculously frustrating to fight all day, all night and all weekend only to realize you’re swimming upstream. When you uncover a new finding about things you may be doing wrong (or could be doing better), it’s like a brand new day where the possibilities are endless and you’re excited to explore them.
- It tightens up your branding and messaging. Talking to prospects allows you to see what message they really receive from your marketing efforts. You may be surprised on the differences between what you think you’re saying and what your prospects actually hear!