The Alphabet Article Series – The ABCs of Solving Sales Problems – The 3 “J’s”

In this week’s article, I am going to suggest you focus on two very important aspects of your sales process, knowing your prospect population AND yourself very well. The “J’s” are going to require attention to detail, taking the time to learn well, and a bit of courage making clear cut, and sometimes difficult, decisions.

Here are the 3 “J’s” – Jargon, Judgement, Justify

Jargon. Every industry has it. And if you are looking to sell into a particular vertical, you and your sales team would be best served to learn it quickly and be able to weave it into your own vernacular – your pitch, your collateral, and in your interactions with your prospects. It’s like learning another language, or being sure to get someone’s name properly pronounced, it is ultimately a sign of respect for the prospects and their industry.

There is a flip side I need to caution you about. Make sure your team not only knows what the industry jargon is, make sure they know how to use it contextually. Prospects and clients will see an amateur from a distance, especially if they are using their jargon improperly. So, make sure you team owns it.

One other caution. Be careful when you use your own industry jargon. I am still guilty of assuming sometimes that people know exactly what I am describing to them because I have doing this for almost 30 years. Comfort sets in and out comes industry-specific terms that may be completely foreign to the prospect I am speaking with at the moment. I would simply advise that your team is very careful in both instances, as harmless as it may seem, because either could cost you an opportunity.

Judgement.  There are a couple of aspects when it comes to this “J”. First is with your team and allowing them to use their own professional judgement. As much as I am about data and discipline, I know that removing any autonomy from your executive sales team can be debilitating. You can set boundaries, and adjust them collectively, but you need to give your team the ability to make independent decision that suit the prospect best. These decisions could pertain to pricing or tailoring your services to fit the potential client best but allow your team to make those judgments real time.

The other aspect of judgement is yours. Both with your prospects and with you team. First, your prospects. As your team diligently chases opportunity, be sure to make clear distinctions about who you can help and who you can’t. I know revenue is KING, but sometimes it comes at a cost that is actually a detriment to your team. Know what you can and can’t do, make sure your team knows it, and make your judgements in these situations are swift. Put everything into the pursuit of the prospect because you can serve them well or cut it off and move on.

Now with your team. I still recommend making judgements swiftly and decisively here, too. However, be sure to factor the human element into your talent and be sure that your decision is what is ultimately best for the team, long-term. I recommend a firm but fair approach, so you are seen as an owner or sales leader with compassion but clear objectives. Your good team members will ultimately respect you for it.

Justify.  This “J” has all sorts of uses with your sales team and how you approach your overall sales and marketing strategy. I’ll touch on a few, but keep in mind that the bottom line with this one is that you must have quantifiable reasons for your decisions.

Just like with smart children whose first question is “Why?” when you ask them to do something, your smart salespeople will have a similar “WHY?” when is comes to internal decision-making, especially if it involves change. So, be sure to deploy new initiatives or changes in your sales team or process with a valid justification that you can share with them UPFRONT. It will assist you in your objective in terms of deploying it and having your team adopt it moving forward.

Also consider justifying the types of targets you are chasing with as much quantifiable data as you can gather. On the surface, a particular vertical, client size, decision-maker, etc. will seem appealing, especially if the potential for increased revenue is evident. But, as I mentioned in judgement, some prospects that initially seem appealing, ultimately may not be. So, create a process by which you judge your prospect populations so you can justify internally the benefit of pursuing them.

Lastly on justify, you must establish clear guidelines that are easily understood. The reason I mention this particular point is because it is critical that when you justify your sales process and any changes to it, the whole team sees the justification as consistent. There aren’t many things in an organization that will kill morale and sincere effort more quickly than inconsistency in justifying actions, with your team as colleagues, or with your process as a whole. Inconsistency will undermine your credibility and your team’s buy-in to who you are as a leader and the organization as a whole.

One last thought to share on all the “J’s”. These are not necessarily the easiest suggestions to follow as you work to enhance your sales team and your sales process. They will require you to take time, pay attention, and to be sure you remain diligent in your approach. As difficult as that might seem in such a busy world, I can only say putting in the effort on these will pay dividends long-term.

Put people first, use the 3 “J’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 K’s – Kindness, Keywords, Kudos