The Alphabet Article Series- The ABCs of Solving Sales Problems – The 3 E’s

I have a confession to make. The 3 “E’s” are particularly special to me for two reasons. First, they are a derivative of something I learned from my father growing up – I mentioned it in the 3 “D’s” series – Move Out. Draw Fire. Adapt. Overcome. And the second is that we have taken this childhood lesson of mine and made it a part of our very fiber – it’s our company tagline.

The 3 “E’s’ are:                 Engage                 Evolve                   Elevate

What I really love are the values behind the approach, they’re something we can use in business and in life, especially those of us who are trying to be role models by being parents, aunts, uncles, any adult role mentoring children. Let’s break it all the way down…

Engage. This “E” absorbs the first two components of what I learned from “Pops”. Move Out. Draw Fire. You can think of it like any arena where there is competition – choose your sport or battlefield. You must plan in advance; with all the due diligence and effort you can muster. But then, you must move toward your objective – the enemy, the opponent, the mountaintop. Whatever. You must get your team and your message out in the marketplace. You need to tell your prospects that you exist, that you have a value proposition that is valuable to them, and you are available to help them solve whatever their problem.

And, by the way, it needs to be proactive engagement. Not just some glossy ad or some billboard somewhere. Those are mostly “feel-goods” anyway. It needs to be the kind of engagement that asks your prospects questions and LISTENS to their answers, good or bad. And while I don’t want to discount a good plan, I also want to caution you not to let parts of your team in “marketing” sit around, pat each other on the back reminding everyone internally of how great you are. Unless you’re solving real-world problems for your clients, and they KNOW you can do that for them, no matter how great you think you are, NO ONE will ever know. Or care.

Engaging and listening to your prospects can often come with a generous dose of humility- be ready for that and own it.

Evolve. If history has taught humanity nothing else, it is that evolution of any kind, usually comes associated with the pains of growth. Good and bad. And it’s often inevitable, we live in a world of change. As much as I would like to weight the 3 E’s for you in terms of importance, I must admit that this “E” carries as much weight as the first. In fact, one inherently builds upon the next. The first “E” teaches you what the market is saying. But that’s not enough. Now comes time to take advantage of the listening process in the first “E” and make changes that are IMPORTANT to your prospects and your clients.

It may mean making adjustments to your messaging. It may mean customizing your solution set. It may mean both. It most certainly means CHANGE. And that’s not always easy. One of the most critical components, though, is that it is meaningful change. And by meaningful, I mean worthwhile to your clients. It may mean changing what you say to court them in the first place and to what you do to keep them month-in and month-out, year-in and year out.

And, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it is likely going to mean change internally as well. Not to your core product or service, but how your teams – marketing, sales, and even OPS – think about what you do, talk about what you do, deliver what you do. What’s more, as a sales manager or business owner, you need to keep your finger on the pulse of how your solution set consistently solves the problems of your clients. I like to draw this analogy – it’s much like your daily PT (physical training), sometimes painful and inconvenient, but extremely necessary for long-term health.

Elevate. Now, I have some good news to share. This “E” is the fun “E” of the group. You’ve done the hard work in the first two “E’s”. You have gotten your message and team out into the marketplace. You have asked your prospects for their business and you have listened to their response. Then, you made adjustments – ones that are meaningful to those you serve. And then, something magical happens. You get one client, then another, then another. And now you are happy because team morale and your bottom line are both starting to see lift. Enter the third “E”. Now you get the great thrill of seeing just how high and how wide you can take what you’ve learned. You get to capture more market share because you have a message and a process that resonated with your prospects and truly serves your clients.  It’s the “fun part” of being in business, you are serving your clients well AND you are making money.

One caveat here to be aware of as you throttle up. This isn’t always a more is better approach. Be mindful of the places in your strategies where this “E” might start to see diminishing returns. In other words, sometimes more ends up being too much. Unfortunately, I don’t have a quantifiable fix-all to give you on this. This will be part instinct, part constant monitoring, part carefully scrutinizing strategies to ensure they are more at the “perfect throttle” than just “full throttle”. Go in with the idea that there may be places you find that dialing back a bit is what is best for your team and for your clients.

Put people first, use the 3 “E’s” as they can benefit you best, and know that I am here to help or just chat, should you ever want to discuss what’s best for your team.

To raising all ships!

P.S. Be sure to join us next week when we talk about the 3 F’s – Funnels, Frequency, Follow-up