Collector - August 2017 - 39
sizeable buyer already has at least one agency,
so "selling" someone on features that their
current agencies already have is a complete
waste of everyone's time.
Don't sow the seeds of failure by
micromanaging. There are a variety of
alibis for this behavior, but none are valid.
Micromanagement is a problem driven by
one or more of the following factors:
* Not hiring well.
* Not training well.
* Not empowering or trusting others.
No subordinate can operate at a level
of competency when the boss supervises
every detail. The result is that good people
will eventually "fire the boss" by leaving
the organization. Turnover of quality
people is a huge red flag.
Often leaders resist new information
because it might cause them to change their
course of direction. The greater the impact of
the new information, the more strenuously
it is resisted because it implies that if changes
must be made, then we were wrong before.
In my June Collector magazine article, I
talked about strategy vs. tactics equating to
inside your walls vs. outside your walls.
Inside your walls you should think about:
* Management approach (people
management vs. task management).
* Sales methodology.
* Collection sales training.
* Numbers such as activity benchmarks,
time management and call analysis.
* Real-world market analysis.
* Value proposition.
Outside your walls you should think about:
* Buyer perceptions (by market, by
* Prospects' buying processes.
* Differentiators between you and the best
* Buyer-based consultative selling vs.
seller-based feature selling.
* Marketing materials.
* Real-world sales professionalism.
You must objectively analyze each of the
above elements to determine your strengths
and weaknesses. If you're not happy with sales,
you must start from the assumption that it's
broken, figure out why and then assess what
needs to be done to effect positive change.
If this is not your area of expertise, get
outside help. No one can fix problems they
can't see. If, for example, a CEO with an
accounting background started an agency and
was unable to turn around a weak collection
floor, wouldn't you recommend that person
hire a collection management expert? The
same is true for sales.
When you're ready, you can start by
applying these Sun Tzu principles to your
UNDERSTAND WHEN AND HOW TO
LAUNCH AN OFFENSIVE
What are the strengths and weaknesses of
your competitors? What is their reputation?
What is their sales approach?
Ask clients about agencies that preceded
you. What did they like? What did they not
like? What made them decide to change?
What made them pick you?
Building dossiers on your competitors and
gaining insights into buyers' thinking will
help you to develop a strategic advantage.
What's required to get the job done? If
you are unhappy with sales, and you
view money spent on operations as an
investment but money spent on marketing
and sales as a cost, unhappiness is
predictable. You can't achieve positive
change without allocating sufficient
resources. If you want real change, you
have to invest in it.
PLAN A UNITED EFFORT
An analogy I often use is that business
development is like the four legs of a stool-
they must all be equally strong and mutually
supportive. These legs are operations, sales,
marketing and client service.
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF
Be prepared to act in ways that others
are not. Seek out and listen to real-world
Here's a simple rule: To experience
change you have to embrace and want
change. You must reject established
approaches that are not succeeding and
welcome new ideas. You cannot cling to old
methods and get positive change.
If salespeople are programmed to talk
about agency features instead of listening
to buyer perspectives and working
collaboratively to develop implementable
solutions, buyers will shut down and
your salesperson will fail. This is a
transformational process that requires
expert sales training.
For example: Statistically, more agencies
get fired because of client service issues
and/or complaints than recovery rate.
If your salespeople do not understand
how to properly sell those aspects of "the
relationship" instead of features and empty
performance guarantees, you are not taking
advantage of opportunities.
This requires selling trust, not features.
Without proper training and coaching, that
simply won't happen.