Sales and Sales Management Blog

September 9, 2007

Survey Shows Salespeople Getting Lazy in Prospecting and Marketing

Filed under: prospecting,Uncategorized — Paul McCord @ 10:00 am

A new survey conducted by McCord and Associates of over 2,000 salespeople and sales managers indicates almost 95% of salespeople are ill positioned to maintain their production when the economy begins to wane. Leading sales referral generation training expert, Paul McCord, president of McCord and Associates and author of Creating a Million Dollar a Year Sales Income: Sales Success through Client Referrals (John Wiley & Sons, 2007), explains that “the number of salespeople who generate a significant percentage of their production through generating quality referrals from clients and prospects has decreased substantially over the past years. The economy has been strong and salespeople have gotten lazy. Business has been good and many salespeople have not had to fight to fill their pipeline. Past surveys have shown that only about 15% of salespeople generate enough quality referrals to impact their business.  Last year’s survey indicated that percentage had dropped below 10%, and this year’s survey has that percentage just below 7% of all salespeople.  Most of those who are continuing to grow their business by referral are the major top producers, the ones who always grow their business by referral.”

“Most salespeople are not effective at generating referral business because they simply have never been taught how to create the relationship with the client that produces a large number of qualified prospects. And as the sales environment has gotten easier, more and more salespeople blew off the admonitions to develop referrals and didn’t take the time and effort to learn how to successfully generate business through referrals; instead they took the easy way out, thinking there would always be more than enough business out there to fill their pipeline,” McCord said. “Many are now beginning to find out that seemingly unlimited business isn’t the norm. Salespeople in the mortgage, real estate, business banking, and insurance industries are seeing their markets shrink in many parts of the country. Many are washing out because the business doesn’t fall into their lap anymore. And they’re just the precursor—in the coming couple of years we’ll see this work its way through many more industries. Those salespeople and companies who don’t prepare themselves for a more competitive climate are going to be in serious trouble.”

“There are much tougher selling days coming and salespeople and their companies need to be preparing themselves now. Of course, the mega-producers in every industry will do well when things tighten up, because their business is built around knowing how to turn their clients into their personal sales team. Why is it the mega-producers never seem to suffer in competitive markets? Why don’t they ever seem to have to fight the price wars? Because they don’t do business the same way the typical salesperson does. They have been trained on the techniques of generating a very large number of qualified prospects from their clients and have honed those skills to perfection. It’s the bulk of the salespeople who will struggle—and many fail—if they don’t learn to do business the way the superstars, who are insulated from the ups and downs of the economy, generate their production.”

The survey, conducted over a 60 day period, included salespeople and sales managers from a broad spectrum of industries, both direct to consumer and business-to-business, and included salespeople from throughout the United States and Canada. Conducted by phone, the survey consisted of 15 questions covering the person’s business generation methods. Anyone who would like a summary of the survey, which will be available by mid-September, can request a copy by emailing info@ mccordandassociates.com with his or her name, company, title and email address and “survey” in the subject line.

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