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The Real Reason Sales Isn’t Getting Meetings

I just finished reading yet another article about how sales teams are finding it increasingly difficult to secure face-to-face meetings with prospects. And as usual, the article cited a number of minor contributing factors, while completely ignoring the big, underlying root-cause.

Which never fails to set me off on a rant…

Salespeople aren’t struggling to get in-person meetings with prospects because they’re lacking the right script or offer. Sure, a better script or more value-added “reason to meet” may help improve conversion from “horrific” up to “really bad”, but it can’t reverse the overall trend.

Nor is the core problem about the prospect list. Of course, the list could almost always be more targeted. But unless your reps are just ripping pages out of the phone book, their prospect lists are not likely to be 180 degrees off the mark.

And it’s certainly not because sales reps are spending their time on paperwork and admin stuff! After all, no minimally competent and ambitious salesperson is going to forego meeting with prospects to file their expense reports or update their CRM records—particularly when they’re struggling to get meetings in the first place!

So what the real reason? What’s the underlying root-cause?

Salespeople struggle to get face-to-face meetings with prospects because those prospects do not want to meet. It’s as simple as that. It takes two to tango and the other party doesn’t want to dance.

And it’s not as though prospects were eager to meet with salespeople ten years ago and now they aren’t. They’ve never wanted to meet with salespeople. Not really. It’s always been a time-suck. It’s always been a scheduling hassle. It’s just that in the past, prospects had no other way to get the information they needed.

Now they do. Or at least that’s what they expect…

Today, prospects expect to be able to get most of the information they need from websites, downloadable collateral, on-demand webcasts and demos, educational emails, and so on. They expect to be able to consume and study this on-demand information whenever and wherever they want.

And, they expect to be able to work through a lot of their decision-making processes before even talking to a salesperson on the phone, let alone scheduling an in-person meeting.

As we explain in Crucial Sales Ops Concepts, this is a fundamental and pervasive shift in buyer behavior that’s been underway since the advent of the Internet. And you’re not going to buck a trend of this magnitude by tweaking your call script, tightening-up your prospect lists, or relieving salespeople of administrative tasks.

Like the leading teams we discuss in the on-demand webinar, you need to acknowledge the new reality and adjust your efforts accordingly. And along the way, you’ll likely discover that “lack of meetings” isn’t really the problem.

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