Farquharson | on Business Development: Fire Up ‘Lazy’ Salespeople
Your company needs to grow. And, given the fact that 10 to 15% of this year’s business won’t be around next year due to natural attrition, you need to find new business just to stay in the same place. But there’s a problem: This same sales force that worked so hard for so long and achieved so much to get the company to its current sales level is now one of its chief obstacles toward achieving additional growth.
They don’t automatically want to do business just because you do. Your goals are not their goals. Your needs are not their needs. Your priorities are not their priorities. If they are making all the money that they need and are happy with their current book of business, management has a sales challenge of a different kind — and a potentially difficult and frustrating situation.
A non-salesperson would look in from the outside and not understand why this is a problem: Wait, what? Don’t the reps work for the company? Why can’t they simply do their jobs, the ones they are being paid to do? Management, while on the one hand grateful for the work it took to get the company to where it is, gripes about the current lack of effort and desire to get to the next level. Legacy reps, the ones with that coveted book of sustainable business, are seen as stubborn and selfish and downright, well, lazy.
But anyone with a sales background knows better. Are they in fact lazy? Absolutely not! But they do take their own situation into account when they get the “Gang, we need more from you” speech. They have built an income and a lifestyle born from an annuity of business earned over the years. The thought of making new calls on new companies holds no appeal. That’s for the other reps, the younger ones, they think.